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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Truth: Why I don’t have Facebook


Published: January 25, 2008
Section: (Audio/Video), Audio Segments, Opinions

facebook.pngIt’s one of the first questions people ask you when they meet you. It’s a way to scope out people before you meet them. It’s a way to keep in touch. What is it, you ask? It’s the obsession called Facebook. Before you start reading this, you might want to sit down because some of this could seem pretty shocking to some of you.

Facebook: Not something for everyone
[QUICKTIME wp-content/uploads/facebook012508.mp3 250 46 false true]

Featuring Chrissy Callahan, Pat Garofalo, and Shanna Rifkin, hosted by Andy Meyers. Edited by Andy Meyers.

*Download* (5.80MB)

Chrissy Callahan, Pat Garofalo, and Shanna Rifkin, hosted by Andy Meyers. Edited by Andy Meyers.

So I won’t procrastinate, I’ll just get right down to it. I DON’T HAVE A FACEBOOK! Yes, I said it, I don’t have a Facebook. It seems like everyone you meet has a Facebook these days. So as shocking as it may seem to some of you, I am a living, breathing, functioning human being who doesn’t have a Facebook. I don’t know how many times even in the past week I’ve been drilled by someone asking me why I don’t have one.

What do I have against Facebook? Well, in theory nothing. But it’s my personal choice and I’d like to clear a few things up so that the next time (and I know it happens rarely) you come across someone without a Facebook, you won’t feel the need to ask them why not.

Like anything, Facebook has its pros and cons. Even though I may not have one, I live in this world and know a few things about Facebook (probably more than I’ll ever need to know, thanks to hoards of people trying to break my resolve not to sign up for my own account.) First off, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends. I’ll agree with you on that one because it’s been shown to me by loving friends who’ve tried to recruit me to the Facebook revolution.

Sure, it’s amazing how many people you can easily keep in touch with with the touch of a button. And that’s a great thing. I’m all for keeping in touch with people, but something has always confused me about Facebook.

Why does everyone feel the need to friend everyone they’ve ever met? Do they genuinely want to get to know them and be their friends? Do they want to nosily check out their page and get the latest gossip or maybe find out who they’re dating? Or do they just want to add to a laundry list of non-friend Facebook friends?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve debated getting a Facebook for a long time. Every time someone asks me why I don’t have one, I question that very mystery myself. But not so much anymore. Because like anything, I must tell myself over and over again that it’s my decision and no one else’s. It’s like everyone’s fascination with my being a commuter. Yes, I said it, I am a commuter! (But we’ll save that debate for another column later on.)

In a way, I can’t blame people for being curious as to why I choose not to have a Facebook. Everyone else has one, or so it seems, so I’m one of the few who don’t, and therefore a source of interest and/or confusion.

But more about the positive aspects of Facebook. I have never had a myspace either, so I can’t claim to be an expert, but from what all of my friends tell me, most people would agree that Facebook does much more for its members to preserve privacy and safety on the web. This is great and very important and I can’t say anything negative about it, but excuse me while I challenge you all a bit.

When you think of most celebrities, you think they’d support Facebook, which is why I was so surprised to learn that Vanessa Hudgens doesn’t. But in a recent article in Seventeen magazine, Hudgens discussed why she shut down her myspace and Facebook accounts. I know you’re probably wondering why you should take advice from a celebrity who recently was mired in a neud photo controversy, but do not be skeptical people!

As I read the article, I was pleasantly surprised at some of the sentiments Hudgens and I both share. Hudgens makes a fair point in calling Facebook “unnecessary” in some ways and deeming it a way to say “this is me, this is me!…Look how cute I am!”

I personally don’t feel the need to post every detail and picture depicting my life online for everyone to see. If there’s something I really want you to know and you’re my friend, you’re going to know about it, and fast, because I’m going to share exciting or sad news with you-preferably in person or over the phone.

While it may be more convenient for some to simply write a short Facebook message to plan something, there is no substitute for calling someone.

Call me old-fashioned, call me weird, call me whatever you want to call me, but that’s just the way I am. And I don’t feel the need to put myself and my private life out there for people to approve or disapprove because as the saying goes, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.”

So please, go on to Facebook, don’t let me stop you if it’s what really makes you happy. I have no problem with other people having Facebooks and think that there are many positive aspects to the whole thing. If you take one thing away from this column, let it be that there is a world outside of Facebook and people who feel no need to have one. So respect that decision.

I respect yours to have a Facebook, so please respect mine not to. And if you really want to friend me, just call my name when you see me walking by. I’ll be the one talking, texting or chatting on the phone, not the one glued to my computer screen friending that random person I walked into in Olin-Sang by accident earlier. So shout out my name and friend me if you want to!