- Inertia/The Challenge/"Because it's there": I initially didn't join Facebook for the same reason I didn't join Friendster or MySpace: it seemed rather silly and high-schoolish and like it had the capacity to be a tremendous waste of time. I waste enough time online as it is, and I didn't want another outlet or another thing to check. I had no reason to believe it would be any different from MySpace or Friendster in terms of staying power, either. It kind of took me by surprise when I realized one day that very-nearly-literally-everyone is on Facebook. John and Martin were two of the last people I know to give up resistance. I think maybe Allen still isn't on Facebook, in earnest, but it's unclear. So at this point, it's sort of a personal challenge to remain on the outside. It's like not having a cell phone, or growing your own vegetables. I should probably write a memoir.
- Facebook Is a Cult: I'm resistant to Facebook partially because it seems cultish. People periodically try to lure me into joining and their reasons are generally selfish, i.e., it would make their life easier, not mine, e.g., they wouldn't have to send out a separate email when they want to invite me somewhere. After-school specials worked their magic on me; I'm still very suspicious of peer pressure.
- "I don't want to know": People often tell me that it's great to be able to peer into the lives of people you otherwise wouldn't be in touch with, high-school friends, ex-boyfriends, etc. I suppose that can satisfy a passing curiosity, but googling works almost as well; you can get an overview without that person necessarily knowing, and you don't have to sign up to be "friends" forevermore. If we're talking about people I was never that close to to begin with, I don't need a constant stream of updates. If we're talking about people I was once very close to, especially in the recent past, I don't really want to know the details of their life without me. It would just trigger feelings of jealousy and make me miss them. I'm not imagining this, it happens when I browse people's lives thru John's page.
- The Approval Process: This part is just kind of gross; now that everyone is on Facebook, you pretty much have to develop a policy on who you accept as a "friend" and how you handle your privacy settings etc. It's potentially awkward and confusing. I like that I can read strangers' blogs without having to ask them first, and vice versa. I also prefer the long-form format of blogs to blippy updates; they're more oriented toward rumination and theorizing (at least my favorite blogs are), or at least stuff that's potentially useful to a large audience like recipes or trendspotting. Whereas Facebook seems more oriented toward self-promotion, back-scratching and overt signaling (look what I did last night). And there's a place for that (it happens on blogs too of course), but when I want to read or share short-form updates, there's Twitter, which, again, doesn't require a mutual approval process.
It'll be interesting to see how long I can sustain the Facebook-free lifestyle. I mean, how long before it's synonymous with society and to remain on the outside I'll have to go full-on Unabomber? Only time will tell. Most likely scenario? I'm forced to join for work-related reasons. Jobs are the peer pressure that works.