So yesterday I was talking to Dr. Rice, who told me that she'd just finally signed up for Facebook to see a friend's pictures this week. Then she asked me to guess who the first person was to add her as a friend, write on her wall, and welcome her to Facebook.
That's right everyone. My mom is cooler than I am. Dr. Rice also added that my mom has lots of friends. When I talked to my mom about it this morning, she admitted to me that she wrote and erased her message to Dr. Rice about fifteen times, because she wanted to write something clever, but couldn't come up with anything clever, and she was crippled with fear because she'd just read an article in the Washington Post about how kids hate it that their parents use Facebook and add their friends and stuff. But really, it was talking about high school kids, not PhD graduates. After agonizing over what to write on Dr. Rice's page, my mom finally settled with "Welcome!"
I don't even use Facebook. I know that it's slowly taking over the world, but I reserve my right to resist that as long as possible. I actually did have a brief stint on Facebook. I tried it out for one week, and it was the most awful, agonizing, painful week of my life. Here are the reasons I don't like it:
1) It seems like it would be a time sucker. I have enough problems keeping up my blog and emailing people back who email me. If I have a Facebook page, that's a whole new thing that I need to maintain. And during my one week Facebook experience, it invaded my entire life. Every time a Facebook notification would appear in my email, I'd cringe. People were adding me right and left and I couldn't keep up. I couldn't imagine maintaining such a beast on a full time basis.
2) It breeds and grows and breeds and grows. Suddenly, during my one week on Facebook, I found myself connected to people with whom I'd lost all contact, or with whom I'd never had much contact in the first place. I was unable to reject people who wanted to add me as a friend---how could I be so rude? And then I became increasingly panicked about Facebook's ability to increase my chances of offending someone. What if I added them as a friend, but never wrote on their wall? What if we viewed our friendship differently, and they were so pleased to be reconnected with a long lost friend and I was not actually all that excited? It seemed to me that while most of the people I was more than happy to be reconnected with, there would come a time when people that I no longer wanted to be connected with would try to add me as a friend, and I didn't actually want to be put in that awkward situation.
3) It gives everyone I've ever known information about my whole life. At the time that I tried Facebook out, I had not yet met Murray. And as more and more people I'd grown up with back home were adding me as a friend, I couldn't help but think about the fact that of my age group in church, I was still the only one who was not married or in a long-term, committed relationship. And I hated the fact that anyone I'd ever known could look at my page and say, "Oh, yeah, Cicada. She's still not married and she's not dating anyone either. And she's gained weight." Because let's be honest. People say and think those kinds of things. I also didn't like that when people added me as friends, they could list their type of relationship with me. An old boyfriend listed me as "We used to date, but we're now just friends" or something like that, and I really didn't like the idea that people who I was barely connected with anymore could just look through my friends and figure out my dating history. Or figure out any sort of history. What if one day my professor added me and said, "I used to teach her editing. She never came to class and I gave her a D." (That last one is facetious, but you get my point.)
After trying it out for one week, like I'd promised a friend I'd do, I erased my account completely. They don't really allow you to do that easily---I had to email them and ask them to delete all my account details so that my account was gone, not just dormant.
There's a part of me that is afraid that I'm going to have to get back on some day. It's growing and taking over the world, and I think that I might not be able to avoid it forever. The new generation---those kids who are still in high school---value networks and connectivity. This is their culture, and it's spreading to everyone.
If I resist, am I going to be like old people who refuse to learn to use computers?