While writing the intro post I got to the point where I was considering mentioning posting on Facebook and I found myself backing away sharply, the way one does when hiking and you hear a rattling sound or see a skunk. This is because I’ve recently detected a certain amount of scorn directed toward anyone over the age of 12 who admits to using Facebook, and I’d like to take a closer look at this. Please note that the rest of this post will have an air of defensive desperation about it as I attempt to prove that a late-40-something male who uses Facebook is not a total loser.
First, just because I use Facebook does not mean that I live in my mother’s basement and don’t have a real life. I do have a real life. No, seriously, I do, dammit. I had lunch with a friend just last week, and we met in person at the same restaurant at the same time and everything. We made eye contact. We shook hands as we parted. If that’s not a real social life, I don’t know what is.
Second, how else do you expect me to keep in touch with friends and family spread across 4 time zones and two countries along with the odd straggler in Asia or Europe? Yes, I realize that batch processing can be impersonal and not conducive to maintaining close friendships, but that’s what private messages and individual emails are for, I just don’t have time for private, personal communication with every one whom I consider important. This is not sad, and doesn’t make me a loser, it is cold and makes me a bit of a jerk. That’s totally different.
Finally, yes, I know that Facebook is the evil empire and that they own every word that I write and every picture that I post and that they give all my information to advertisers and that deleting things doesn’t really delete them and they keep them anyway and did I mention that they’re evil? I know all this, and it’s really just a small example of the First Rule of the Internet which states, “If the service you are using is free, then YOU are the product being sold.” I can live with this. I have a definite sense of what I consider public and what I consider private (though whether the next generation even understands that there is a difference is open to debate). Therefore I only post public stuff and I assume that everyone is reading it, including my mother, my wife, my boss and various other human incarnations of my conscience. In fact, I’m secretly looking forward to the day when the picture of my face covered in dust from sanding drywall gets used in some ad somewhere and I get to sue them for zillions of dollars. More than just looking forward to this, it’s actually a cornerstone of my retirement planning.
Despite all this, I use and enjoy Facebook, and I’m not asham.. awww, crap, who’m I trying to kid? I’m still ashamed to admit it.