The Social Singularity

Why I will never have a Facebook account.

Hmmm, this is obviously the year of draws. A draw in the federal election, and now a draw in the AFL grand final. They’re going to replay it next Saturday, which is frankly hilarious. Call it schadenfreude, but the idea of all those fanatical footy fans moving heaven and earth to get tickets to the grand final and booking flights to Melbourne and so forth, only to have to do it all over again in a week’s time – well it has me cackling like a loon.

I’m a bad, bad man ;D

Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about Facebook.

Barely a week goes by these days without someone asking me if I’m on Facebook. Now in my experience when someone asks you if you’re on Facebook, they don’t actually mean “are you on Facebook?” they mean “can you add me to your friends and if not why do you hate me?” – because when I tell them that no, I’m not on Facebook they get a very confused look on their faces, as if they’ve asked what my blood type is and I’ve told them that I don’t actually have any blood.

My reasons for avoiding Facebook are threefold, and I figured I’d explain them here in the hopes that people might stop regarding me as some kind of weird, alien, untrustworthy, internet communist.

Privacy: Facebook has an absolutely appalling record when it comes to respecting user privacy. Historically they’ve tended to regard any information you put up on your Facebook account as their own property, to do with as they like. Public scrutiny has forced them to clean up their act a bit but I still wouldn’t trust them with a Subway order, let alone intimate details of my personal life.

Call me paranoid if you like, but I work in the internet industry and thus perhaps have a better viewpoint of just how bad privacy abuse can get. My details are mine, and I’m not releasing them to anyone without a really good reason. Handing them over to a bunch of privacy-happy clowns like Facebook just so I can post messages on a “wall” is simply not going to happen.

The Social Singularity: I’m the first to admit that I’m not the most social of creatures. I have a pretty small group of people I count as friends, and a somewhat larger group of people I consider acquaintances. If I sat down and did the maths the total of both groups would probably come in under 30. This is a figure I’m perfectly happy with – after all, my friendship is so awesome that it needs to be carefully rationed out ;D

Facebook is not built like this. Facebook divides the world into two groups – Friends, and people who you haven’t friended yet. Anyone who’s a Friend gets  to see everything you do, with no way to filter information based on how much of a friend you actually consider them.

(OK, from reading Lamebook I believe there’s some kind of private message system, but I really can’t be bothered looking up the details)

Add to this the fact that rejecting a friend request on Facebook has become the new social faux-pas. Your Boss, your Aunt, that homeless guy down at the supermarket, any of them can look you up and send a friend request. You can reject it – and have to go through a painful litany of excuses the next time you see them – or accept it, and have them reading every detail of your social life. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

Facebook collapses your entire social circle into a singularity. Everyone you know suddenly has the highest level of access to your personal life. That is not something I’m ever going to get on board with.

Contrarism: I admit it, I’m a contrarist. If everyone is carrying on about how great something is, I’ll be the curmudgeon in the corner refusing to join in just on general principles. This is just the way I am, deal ;D

So yes. I don’t have a Facebook account, and do not plan to obtain one at any point. So stop sending me those damn invites.

3 thoughts on “The Social Singularity”

  1. I just deleted my FarceBook account. The link to permanently delete (not just “deactivate”) your account is buried deep within the labyrinthine structure of FarceBook as they don’t want you to remove their data…err, I mean YOUR data.

    URL to permanently delete your F/B account:

    As it is not a straight-forward process like it should be, here is more info on the process of deleting your F/B account:

  2. Isn’t this like the third time you’ve deleted your account man? You know they’re just going to drag you back in… 😉

  3. The other ONE time was just a deactivation and it was a certain sicilian italian who dragged me back into the mob.
    So this time… I’m out, Jerry! out!

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