Friday, September 04, 2009

Kenneth Michael Walsh is bewildered

There's an interesting article in The Times about a growing group of people who are suddenly losing their taste for Facebook: One person shut down her account because she disliked how nosy it made her. Another thought the scene had turned desperate. A third feared stalkers. A fourth believed his privacy was compromised. A fifth disappeared without a word. "I primarily left Facebook because I was wasting so much time on it," my friend Caroline Harting told me by e-mail.

While I found it a great read, for the life of me I can't understand people who feel so controlled, threatened, manipulated or consumed by social-networking sites. To look at my Facebook or Twitter pages, one (grossly uninformed person) COULD think I spend 20 hours a day on them. The truth of the matter is I spend a couple minutes here and there -- strictly at MY convenience and strictly for MY amusement -- and then go about my business. (It's really not a big deal.) I don't begrudge people who questioned Facebook's membership contract, but other than that, Facebook is what YOU make of it. Are all these people who quit because they were "wasting so much time" and felt like they were "stalking their friends" the same people who blame McDonald's for making them fat, never considering the fact that THEY were in control of how much and how often they patronized the Golden Arches? Likewise, I love these people who say they don't join Facebook because they "don't have time" for it, like there's some minimum requirement to have a page. If you think it makes you sound more important because you're "too busy" to be on a social-networking site then I have a status update you might want to read:


Chad said...

Amen! I love your take on the world, Kenneth!

Marc Lallanilla said...

I wish I could agree (I usually do) but Facebook isn't what you make of it -- it's also what your friends make of it. And people who post several times a day ("I feel so blah...TGIF!...I'm trying a new whitening toothpaste!" have turned FB into one of the most excruciatingly banal experiences in human civilization. Plus, the privacy concerns are real, as FB constantly tries to sell your personal info to corporations for "marketing purposes" (read: spam email). I look at it for 10 minutes once or twice a month - long enough to get bored - then I go have a life offline.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

Thanks, Chad!

And Mark: You're right, only Facebook has a solution for those snoozy friends, too. You don't have to de-friend them (that'd be cold). But you can HIDE their feed, so you never have to hear about their teeth whitening experiences again!


Marc Lallanilla said...

Without your help, Kenneth, I'd be utterly lost in the techno-wilderness. I had to de-friend someone earlier this year for having a serious case of post-arrhea. Now I have about 6 friends who are about to get their feed hidden. (Sounds like something you'd do to livestock. Perhaps that's appropriate.)

libhom said...

A lot of younger people are leaving because parents and employers have discovered Facebook.