To Facebook or Not To Facebook


That has been the question for awhile. I just deactivated my Facebook account for the third time, which means I’ve given it three tries. Enough, I think, to say that Facebook isn’t for me. I get it, but the “it” doesn’t hold much for me.

The problem with social media is the “social.” I’ve never been good at small talk, and that’s primarily what Facebook and Twitter are about. My primary interest in the Internet is information. For personal communication there is email. I like email. It’s private, personal, and efficient. Social media encourage people to post what they had for dinner, what they’re watching on TV, what new movie they’ve seen. All perfectly innocent things, but they take time to read and I’m at a loss what to reply, if anything.

I maintain my Twitter account, but I don’t tweet. I use it as a clipping service for breaking science and technology stories.

I think I’m either too old for Facebook, or too introverted. Take your pick. But for Facebook and me it’s strike three and you’re out.

7 thoughts on “To Facebook or Not To Facebook

  1. Hi Gene,
    I’ve only given this response about 5 seconds thought, so it may not be worth much.

    I’ve had exactly the same response to “social media” tools. I don’t have time in my life for tools I don’t need. I’ve not felt any need for Facebook, Twitter, etc..

    I think the biggest reason I don’t participate in ‘the cloud’ is that it all seems to belittle the human experience. For me, one-to-one face-to-face personal interaction is the best by far. The more I see things like Facebook creep into the public common space, the more I want to be a champion for turning off the computer and going outside for a conversation with my neighbors.

  2. Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for the reply. There may be a generational thing too. I don’t get cell-phone culture either, but from looking at the people around me, I may be one of the few. Tell you what. If I’m in your neighborhood, or vice versa, we’ll meet up face to face over a coffee!


  3. Besides announcing incoming phone calls “smart”phones will similarly ring or vibrate every email and instant message, and I assume can be configured to announce any twitter, facebook or other social media communication.

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed I have more clients who expect me to respond immediately to emails, as if they were phone calls. I check my email 2-3 times an hour, but only when I’m ready to do it.

    But now I think about it, answering phone calls immediately is a hold over from the days before answering machines and voice mail were popular.

    And on further reflection, it doesn’t matter what kind of electronic communication it is; do people contacting you expect immediate responses. With traditional mail via the post office, that’s not an option.

    Immediate communication precedes even the telegraph and can be traced to signal, semaphore, smoke or fire towers in the earliest of human civilizations.

    I think the problem (as I see it) was summed up by a contact yesterday who phoned me during an e-mail outtage. He said go ahead and tweet, text, email or IM him if you want a simple response. If you want a conversation or discussion, phone him.

  4. Gene – I think you are exactly right. My kids tried to get me into facebook but I just couldn’t get into it. Then I became annoyed over being told how someone is having whatever right then.

    That is when I decided that we are way too connected.

  5. bg, David, thank you for your comments. Lots to think about in them. David I like your phrase “we are way too connected.” That sums up a lot of my dissatisfaction with social media.


  6. I’ve had Facebook for years, deleted it once and came back to it for some forgotten reason. You can never fully delete your Facebook account, they just don’t allow it.

    I have found a use for Facebook lately. It has become my feed reader for any site I like and want to follow. I long gave up on keeping track of RSS feeds. I never ended up going to Google Reader or wherever I had feeds. I don’t want anything else coming in email, like newsletters. So Facebook makes a great way to watch the latest posts on sites I like and then click on whatever looks good.

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