Thursday, April 29, 2010

free at last

I've finally deactivated my Facebook account, which feels good. The only reason I had reactivated it, a couple years back, was that I had thought that Facebook might prove useful during my trans-American walk (it did, sort of). With the walk no longer happening, Facebook lost its relevance and utility for me. I lingered on Facebook as long as I did because other folks, several of whom are friends, seemed to use it as their primary means of contact. For myself, I find that blogging and emailing work just fine for me, while social networking has proven more annoying than fulfilling. I'm not a social networker by nature. You need to be gregarious to enjoy the experience.

Side note: Twitter seems redundant to me, since each "tweet" is essentially the same as a Facebook post. But humans have an amazing capacity to produce bursts of static, and I suppose both Facebook and Twitter cater nicely to the Short Attention Span crowd, who are attracted to sites that encourage a sound-bite mentality. I've never signed up for Twitter, and have no plans to: I'm enough of a twit as it is.



Nathan B. said...

I agree about Twitter. I think, though, that a large plurality of Twitter users are middle-aged. (I seem to remember reading an online "study" that bore this out.) Certainly, I never stop reading about Twitter in the MSM, but I never hear about it at all from my young students of any ethnic background.

As for Facebook, I use it, but not much. Since I tend not to use webmail, I like the fact that if my computer crashes and my addressbook is not backed up properly (although it usually is), my contacts are safely stored somewhere.

Kevin Kim said...

That's interesting. I didn't realize the Twitter demographics skewed toward middle age.

And you're right: Facebook isn't without its virtues. For me, though, I guess I just never got the whole notion of social networking, and how Facebook was offering something different from, say, maintaining a blog or some other sort of website.

I also have deep misgivings about Facebook's measures to protect user privacy. The policies and procedures should be pretty straightforward, but they aren't. And the whole thing seems subject to constant revision.

hahnak said...

ive found a lot of friends ive lost track of through fb. id happily subscribe/read friends' blogs if they kept them, but of my hs and college friends, i only know of two who maintain current blogs. its seems like a rare thing to do (even though there seem to be a million blogs out there). i have made several "virtual" friends by reading blogs over the years (like yours).

i dont think facebook will be around long. i wonder what ppl will be using 5 years from now.

Kevin Kim said...


A friend of mine had discussed this very point with me a while back. He's cut from the same crotchety cloth I am, and although he joined Facebook, he said he really wasn't all that enthused about reconnecting with so many "blasts from the past," most of whom he remembers well, but not with any special fondness.

I feel much the same way, having received-- and been unexcited by-- several "friend" offers from old high school acquaintances with whom I'd had barely any interaction back in the 1980s. Why the sudden interest in reconnecting with people who weren't friends to begin with?

Switching gears: that's an interesting thought re: the eventual disappearance of Facebook. With Twitter already nibbling at its toes, I suspect you may be right that FB won't be around long (or, at the very least, that it won't be on top long). It'll be fun to see Facebook fester, but I'm morbidly curious as to what will replace it at the top of the social networking totem pole.

Or maybe social networking will itself go the way of the dodo...? Nah. Too much to hope for.

Iceberg said...

To me, the jury is still out on Facebook. I have been able to reconnect with some friends that I lost touch with over the years (real friends, not just acquaintances), but MAN am I turned off by all the political talk. Not everyone does it, mind you, but enough do to make it distasteful. It's enough to make me consider giving up the whole FB experience.

Charles said...

I have developed an almost fanatical aversion to FB--if everyone else in the world joined, I'd be that one rebel, holed up in the mountain with my dog and a hunting rifle. Metaphorically speaking, of course, as I (sadly) have neither dog nor hunting rifle.

I did do Twitter for a time, as you may know, but I stopped posting long, long ago. So long ago that I don't even remember when it was (just checked... it was August 28th of last year). Strangely enough, I still get the occasional email telling me that people have added me. I think one of these days I'm just going to have to shut down the account completely.

(OK, there, I just deactivated it. Hooray!)

Unknown said...


MY favorite dog died suddenly a few days ago and I posted a FB post expressing my grief. I guess Iwas expecting a bit of support from all my FB friends because I was pretty shocked and disappointed when only 2 people bothered to leave a supportive comment. It's made me reevaluate the whole notion of friendships and what it means to be "friends" on FB. If so many of my "friends" can be so unconcerned about me in one of my darkest hours, what'
s the point of social networking? Why am I even bothering?

As a result, I've tightened up my Privacy settings by creating a "true Friends" list and only those foolks will get my updates. I'll probably cull a few names as well.

Hope you're well.


Kevin Kim said...


I think a lot of folks on FB just stack up "friends" like cordwood. You ask a good question: what's the point of social networking? An ego boost as you watch your "friend" count increase?


I grant that there are people on FB who really do list only their actual friends, but those good folks seem to be in the minority. Hell, when I was on FB, I had 82 "friends," most of whom were more like acquaintances. That began to bother me.