Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I, Facebook Luddite

I acquired a Facebook account more than a year ago. During the height of the 2008 political season, it was a means of getting a free bumper sticker. "It's free; it's for me, gimmee three."

I never paid much attention to it for the majority of that time. The problem was and to some extent still is, I don't get Facebook.

See, I am by nature a lurker. There are a few blogs where I occasionally post comments. But, given my bellicose nature, I'm a drive-by poster. Sticking around for discussions would probably mean getting into arguments and wasting half a day because, OMG, "Someone on the Internet is wrong!"

But blogs do offer a kind of immediacy lacking in Facebook. In just a few postings, you can start to get a sense of who someone is. Even if they post using an alias, even though they don't necessarily divulge all their personal details.

Facebook? Most people, myself included, have our profiles locked down to non-friends. Which means the only way you can get to know someone, find out if they are someone you want to know, is to "friend" them.

I understand the need for privacy. But I don't find Facebook all that entertaining. A lot of people seem to spend all their time playing games involving virtual farm animals (which, despite sounding dirty, is boringly G-rated) and mobsters. ZZzzzzzzz.

My idea of a game is Borderlands, Halo, Gears of War, or Army of Two. I want to not only see the whites of my enemy's eyes, but see those eyes pop out when I fry them with my static machine gun. Facebook games are kind of like the D&D games of yore, no graphics, no animation, no fun.

The rest of the Facebook legions send each other odd little gifts of virtual hearts, bunnies, and karma.


Although the claim is that it can be used to reconnect with old friends, it really doesn't seem useful in that capacity either. My experience with my high school reunion page being a prime example. Even when the person seemed vaguely familiar, there was no quick way to determine if a) this was someone I once knew, and b) if this was someone I'd want to know now.

Sure. The obvious solution is to friend them and find out. Not the preferred option for a lurker.

Searching by name isn't very useful, since some, like me, have changed their name. (Heck, I don't even have a photo of my face posted on Facebook. Just my little dragon avatar.) I found a few coworkers and fellow artists that way, but otherwise my searches turned up a big goose egg.

To some extent, I actually prefer Twitter. (Because the length of each posting is extremely limited, it's a good writing exercise.) Like a blog, however, it gives an insight into the poster's mind.

Truth is, if I didn't have a day job, with all its ensuing tedium, I'd never log onto Facebook.

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