Over the years friends and family have said to me, “You don’t have a Facebook page. Don’t you want to stay connected to people? Why don’t you Facebook?” Or there are the those that say, “You need a Facebook page. As an artist, you are committing career suicide by not having a page. Everyone has a Facebook page. You don’t want to appear like you don’t know what you are doing tech wise by not having a Facebook page.”
Other people have said that you will not get hired by a company if they can’t review your Facebook page. If this is the case, with some of the things that people post on their Facebook pages, I am surprised anyone gets hired EVER!
I want to make this VERY CLEAR that I do not judge those that choose to Facebook. I have heard and understand the myriad of reasons why people choose to do so. Those are your reasons and your choices. Again, I do not judge anyone for their choice to use Facebook. That decision is entirely up to you. I also ask that you do not judge me for my choice to not Facebook. That being said, below are the reasons why I do not Facebook.
As to the constant question, “Don’t you want to stay connected to people?” Of course, I do. And to be brutally honest, I am already connected with the people I want to be connected to and communicate with. I don’t need a Facebook page to reach out to those I care about. I can call them. (Yes, I know actual conversation is a lost art.) I can send them an email. I can send them a piece of real mail. (Again, I know….. writing a letter or sending a card is a lost art.) But these are ways in which I enjoy communicating.
Someone once said to me, I post all of my pictures on my Facebook page. Don’t you want to see them? Of course, I do. But if you value my friendship and respect my choice to not have a Facebook page, can’t you send one or two in a text or email? A couple, three or four images, possibly your favorite one or the ones you think are best, will suffice for me.
This brings me to another reason for not having a Facebook page, crime. It seems like every other day you read about a burglary happening, a murder, stalking, child abduction, identity theft, etc. because of things that people post onto their Facebook page. The latest fad is to post a picture of your passport covering your boarding pass. While this says that you are about to go somewhere fun, adventurous and/or cool. This also says two things to any potential thief. You are not home and you are going to be away for a while.
Maybe people feel the need to Facebook because everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. I wonder if some people think that by sharing every thought and every second of their life that it validates their existence. But are they really living? What did they learn about life, about themselves, about the place they live, and the other humans around them by sharing their emotional status, what they are doing and/or a selfie every 15 minutes? Is a life posted just as valid as a life lived?
Facebook is a façade. It is a carefully crafted experience that the person who has the page has crafted. And you, as the viewer, have entered into a social contract about believing or supporting this image or experience that has been provided to you. Sounds a lot like watching TV or a movie and/or listening to political speeches. You have to decide how much of what you are “seeing” is reality and how much is fluff. One could argue that anything posed on-line is a façade but that is an argument for another day.
“I spent hours last night chatting on Facebook. And then a couple more playing that new game.” Facebook can be an incredible time suck. It takes time to create that perfectly constructed facade and/or post 40 images from the vacation to Ireland. And the latest version of whatever game that is played requires urgent attention if you are going to master it. I feel that my time is limited already. I do not need to add Facebook to my list of things that demand my attention.
Privacy. I have been told that you can make your Facebook as private or open to the public as you would like. That is fine. But you are forgetting one major thing. You are posting information on Facebook. If you have read the agreement between you and Facebook when you signed up for your page, you would realize that Facebook owns your page and any and all content that you post. They can do what they like (within the parameters of the agreement) with your content. Also, a subpoena by any law enforcement division (police, FBI, NSA, etc.) requires that the entire content of your page including chats is turned over to the agency providing the subpoena. So those conversations that you thought were private could become evidence.
Recently I found out that I am not alone in this decision to not Facebook. A friend that I hike with does not have a Facebook page either. There seems to be a small movement of people choosing not to Facebook. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrayed Harry Potter, does not have a Facebook page.
“But the thing is, in my job, you’re being more and more encouraged to give away your privacy. The studio says, ‘Can you get Twitter, please? Can you get Facebook?’ And I’m ‘No, I don’t do that.’ It’s not for any moral reason. I don’t think it’s wrong for anyone else to do it. But for me, it would be the worst thing in the world to suddenly have a new thing to be obsessed with, to have a constant feed of what people are thinking about me.”
“One day I’m going to have kids, and some paparazzo is going to take a photo of them, and I’m going to try and stop them, and there will be some huge debate about it. If somebody says, ‘Well, you’ve had Twitter for years,’ it’s hard to say you want your privacy when you’ve been making every moment of your day public.”
“Daniel Radcliffe Continues His Intrepid Post-Harry Potter Career” by John Powers for Vogue, July 2016
What it comes down to is my choice. I have the freedom to say no. Above are the reasons why I say no. I respect that you may or may not choose to Facebook. Please stop asking me set up a Facebook page. Like Daniel Radcliffe and many others, “No, I don’t do that.”