Post by Politicus E.
That's inane. It is clearly unreasonable to expect that "what happens
on Facebook, stays on Facebook." The appropriate analogy for thinking
about a Facebook conversation is a perhaps discussion in a speakeasy.
At a speakeasy, the proprietor has the right to determine the rules of
access to the bar and hence conversation.
I get about 4 or 5 FB friend requests a day. When I first got on,
I ignored any from people I did not know. Lately I've been
accepting all requests if I can determine that the requester is
some kind of leftist. But it has reached the point where there is
just so much stuff posted that I feel like it is information
overload. From time to time I will find something really useful
but mostly it is links to NY Times articles, Counterpunch,
Alternet, etc. that is part of my daily reading. Frankly, I am
reaching the point where I might join the group described below:
NY Times December 13, 2011
The Facebook Resisters
By JENNA WORTHAM
Tyson Balcomb quit Facebook after a chance encounter on an
elevator. He found himself standing next to a woman he had never
met ? yet through Facebook he knew what her older brother looked
like, that she was from a tiny island off the coast of Washington
and that she had recently visited the Space Needle in Seattle.
?I knew all these things about her, but I?d never even talked to
her,? said Mr. Balcomb, a pre-med student in Oregon who had some
real-life friends in common with the woman. ?At that point I
thought, maybe this is a little unhealthy.?
As Facebook prepares for a much-anticipated public offering, the
company is eager to show off its momentum by building on its huge
membership: more than 800 million active users around the world,
Facebook says, and roughly 200 million in the United States, or
two-thirds of the population.
But the company is running into a roadblock in this country. Some
people, even on the younger end of the age spectrum, just refuse
to participate, including people who have given it a try.
One of Facebook?s main selling points is that it builds closer
ties among friends and colleagues. But some who steer clear of the
site say it can have the opposite effect of making them feel more,
not less, alienated.
?I wasn?t calling my friends anymore,? said Ashleigh Elser, 24,
who is in graduate school in Charlottesville, Va. ?I was just
seeing their pictures and updates and felt like that was really
connecting to them.?
To be sure, the Facebook-free life has its disadvantages in an era
when people announce all kinds of major life milestones on the
Web. Ms. Elser has missed engagements and pictures of newborn
babies. But none of that hurt as much as the gap she said her
Facebook account had created between her and her closest friends.
So she shut it down.
Many of the holdouts mention concerns about privacy. Those who
study social networking say this issue boils down to trust. Amanda
Lenhart, who directs research on teenagers, children and families
at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, said that people
who use Facebook tend to have ?a general sense of trust in others
and trust in institutions.? She added: ?Some people make the
decision not to use it because they are afraid of what might happen.?
Ms. Lenhart noted that about 16 percent of Americans don?t have
cellphones. ?There will always be holdouts,? she said.
Facebook executives say they don?t expect everyone in the country
to sign up. Instead they are working on ways to keep current users
on the site longer, which gives the company more chances to show
them ads. And the company?s biggest growth is now in places like
Asia and Latin America, where there might actually be people who
have not yet heard of Facebook.
?Our goal is to offer people a meaningful, fun and free way to
connect with their friends, and we hope that?s appealing to a
broad audience,? said Jonathan Thaw, a Facebook spokesman.
But the figures on growth in this country are stark. The number of
Americans who visited Facebook grew 10 percent in the year that
ended in October ? down from 56 percent growth over the previous
year, according to comScore, which tracks Internet traffic.
Ray Valdes, an analyst at Gartner, said this slowdown was not a
make-or-break issue ahead of the company?s public offering, which
could come in the spring. What does matter, he said, is Facebook?s
ability to keep its millions of current users entertained and
?They?re likely more worried about the novelty factor wearing
off,? Mr. Valdes said. ?That?s a continual problem that they?re
solving, and there are no permanent solutions.?
Erika Gable, 29, who lives in Brooklyn and does public relations
for restaurants, never understood the appeal of Facebook in the
first place. She says the daily chatter that flows through the
site ? updates about bad hair days and pictures from dinner ? is
virtual clutter she doesn?t need in her life.
?If I want to see my fifth cousin?s second baby, I?ll call them,?
she said with a laugh.
Ms. Gable is not a Luddite. She has an iPhone and sometimes uses
Twitter. But when it comes to creating a profile on the world?s
biggest social network, her tolerance reaches its limits.
?I remember having MySpace for a bit and always feeling so weird
about seeing other people?s stuff all the time,? she said. ?I?m
not into it.?
Will Brennan, a 26-year-old Brooklyn resident, said he had ?heard
too many horror stories? about the privacy pitfalls of Facebook.
But he said friends are not always sympathetic to his
?I get asked to sign up at least twice a month,? Mr. Brennan said.
?I get harangued for ruining their plans by not being on Facebook.?
And whether there is haranguing involved or not, the rebels say
their no-Facebook status tends to be a hot topic of conversation ?
much as a decision not to own a television might have been in an
earlier media era.
?People always raise an eyebrow,? said Chris Munns, 29, who works
as a systems administrator in New York. ?But my life has gone on
just fine without it. I?m not a shut-in. I have friends and quite
an enjoyable life in Manhattan, so I can?t say it makes me feel
like I?m missing out on life at all.?
But the peer pressure is only going to increase. Susan Etlinger,
an analyst at the Altimeter Group, said society was adopting new
behaviors and expectations in response to the near-ubiquity of
Facebook and other social networks.
?People may start to ask the question that, if you aren?t on
social channels, why not? Are you hiding something?? she said.
?The norms are shifting.?
This kind of thinking cuts both ways for the Facebook holdouts.
Mr. Munns said his dating life had benefited from his lack of an
online dossier: ?They haven?t had a chance to dig up your entire
life on Facebook before you meet.?
But Ms. Gable said such background checks were the one thing she
needed Facebook for.
?If I have a crush on a guy, I?ll make my friends look him up for
me,? Ms. Gable said. ?But that?s as far as it goes.?