On a more serious note, I just plain hate most social networking sites. I have accounts on some. Not a lot of them, but a few. A couple art sites, Twitter (of course), Fet, YouTube, damn near all the popular social bookmarking sites and… And now?
I want to go retrieve all my information and say, “Fuck internet socializing!” But I can’t. Cause it’s all out there forever, thanks to things like The Wayback Machine and Google archives. And I’m so incredibly glad I’ve been married to a man who specializes in internet security since before social networking sites were so huge. Because compared to some of my friends, I’m an internet ghost.
MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, FetLife, B.com, the five billion and one different dating sites, YouTube, all the hundreds of different ways to save and share your bookmarks, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, GoogleTalk, and Buzz, and Friend Connect, and Reader, and…
Wikipedia lists over 100 different social networking sites, and each of them does exactly the same thing as at least a dozen others. Some people (especially bloggers) have a profile on each and every one. And they re-post what they said on each over, and over, and over again. “Johnny had peanut butter and jelly for lunch!” shows up a hundred times in your inbox if you follow the same people on each site.
But that’s only the beginning.
People put every single tiny detail of their lives on these sites. Their real name. Their address. Their email address, which is often connected to at least one credit card, if only because they use eBay on occasion. What they’re doing, and where, at any given moment, on any given day. Where they’re going on vacation, for how long, and when. What they eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and their midnight snack. How often they masturbate and with what. All their favorite things. All the things they hate. All the people they love.
We’re doing the government’s and advertisers’ jobs for them.
Looking at any single average profile on FaceBook links you to that person’s boss, coworkers, any and all companies they work for or with, the vast majority of their extended family, their children, all of their friends local or online, the schools they went to, where they grew up, their age, their birthday, the kind of car they drive, what size they wear, how much they weigh, how often they’re online, when they leave the house…
And I’m really at a loss for words. Why don’t we see the problem with this giving away of one’s anonymity?
People are posting that they’ll be on vacation for X amount of days, and acting surprised when they come home and their house is empty. Allowing sex blogger friends who only have one account (for their sex blog) to add their non-sex-blog FaceBook page to their friends list and acting confused when suddenly their friends’ reblogging of their posts are showing up in their bulletins (Or whatever it shows up in. I am not FaceBook-app savvy.). Using the same email address for their sex-blog, and their mommy blog, and their FaceBook page, and their Twitter, and then can’t figure out how Jessica Fucksalot found them in real life.
While you may think it’s awesome having over a thousand friends, the reality is, it simply means you can look at a web page and find out the names of a thousand people who have computers. I know I don’t know who half the people I follow on Twitter are. I follow most of them because they follow me. Which is probably why I’m so anal about unfollowing everyone who unfollows me. For me, it’s more about exposure, and if I make friends along the way, that rocks! But that is not the reason I chose to join Twitter, or any of the social networking sites I belong to.
People complain about internet stalkers, but we’re perpetuating it with our undying need to tell the whole world who we are, and our overzealous desire to be eFamouser than John Doe in North Dakota. Get-rich-quick schemes –that really only work for those who jumped on them before the social networking site became popular– and hopes of being noticed by some major company or publisher feed our frenzied sharing of information, when the truth is we’re just enabling more people to destroy our lives. And total strangers we’ll probably never meet face-to-face at that!
People are getting fired because they forgot they friended their boss and updated their status to say, “Called out sick. Going to the beach.”, or because their sex blogs have been found through other social networking sites, or because they posted a picture of themselves bombed out of their mind, running down the street naked and peeing in the gutter.
And you wouldn’t do those things in real life. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store and pin up pictures of yourself at last Friday’s “Girls Gone Wild” party, or a letter about how shitty your wife is, or a picture of you with a joint in one hand and a straw in the other surrounded by empty beer bottles and leering frat guys. You wouldn’t stand in the middle of the street screaming, “My name is Jefferey Fitzgerald McCofski. I live at 1617 Applejack Way in Eureka, California. My phone number is 555-867-5309. My email is FitzMcCof@gmail.com. I’m an internet shopping addict, so that email address is attached to at least three credit cards, and I just paid the premium on all of them. By the way, I’m going on vacation this week, and I won’t be back till October. PLEASE COME ROB ME!!!” (Shamelessly stolen from M.)
Or maybe you would. I sure as fuck wouldn’t.
M and I were talking, last night, about how I feel like I should be begging Him to reconsider His adamant “No way, no how!” rule when it comes to most social networking sites. How I’m being bullied into at least setting up a FaceBook page for ID and Mindcryme by the companies I work with, and my friends, and my family, and companies I don’t work with, and people I bump into on the street, and the effing government, for crying out loud.
Yeah, I know those emails I get saying, “Please ‘like’ us on FaceBook! And tell your friends to ‘like’ us, too!” are mass-mailings. I know they don’t really look at me and go, “This chick doesn’t have a FaceBook! What is wrong with her?! We need to get her on board!”
But a couple companies I’d love to work with are only on FaceBook. I miss out on a lot of opportunities by not having a FaceBook. And not just the contests. Some of my friends know that pretty much the same group of friends is following them everywhere, so they try to make each social profile different, which means I miss out on some important events in their lives because they post about them somewhere I’m not allowed to be and don’t mention them to me because they assume I read it.
“I posted about this on Tumblr. Why aren’t you keeping up with me?! Don’t you like me anymore?”
Sure, I like you fine. But not enough to jump on the social networking bandwagon anymore than I already have. Not enough to put my life, my stuff, my job, my family, my privacy (Yes, I see the irony of me, someone who babbles incessantly to anyone who’ll listen about personal aspects of my relationship, bitching about losing my privacy to the internet.), my bank account, my credit cards, my pets, or even my plants in danger.
No, I will not “like” you on FaceBook. “Liking” someone on FaceBook requires me to have a FaceBook, and it’s just not gonna happen. And I’m not gonna tell my friends to “like” you on FaceBook, either. It’s not my job to convince my friends that you, or your company, or your cause, or your campaign are awesome. It’s yours. Do your own legwork. Cause you sure as fuck ain’t doing mine for me. Hell, I’ve considered unfollowing most of you (you meaning companies, not my super cool friends and readers) on Twitter for just that reason.
“You see we all perpetuate this. And whether you realize it or not, you welcome the government, cause we say, ‘Fuck the Patriot Act!’ but we do their job for them.”