Non-Facebook users unite!

I am not on Facebook, which I realize makes me akin to an alien. Yes, I miss out on invitations, fun photos, and connections, but the losses aren’t worth the gains… at least not yet. I’ve been chided and criticized for not joining the club, but it turns out I’m in good — and unexpected — company…

David Rowan, editor of UK’s Wired magazine, is also not a Facebook user. (I admit it feels extra sweet that he’s no Luddite.) In a post on Wired‘s Epicenter blog, Rowan lists the reasons he’s staying away, which overall have less to do with privacy and more to do with what he calls “the ever-greater enmeshment in these proprietary networks.”

Here are two of his reasons for staying away from social networking sites:

2) They make it harder to reinvent yourself. 
“When you’re young, you make mistakes and you do some stupid stuff,” President Obama warned high-school students in Virginia last September. “Be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age whatever you do will be pulled up later somewhere in your life.” He’s right: anything posted online might come to haunt you permanently, yet all of us need space to grow. As the writer Jaron Lanier said in a recent lecture, if Robert Zimmerman, of small-town Hibbing, Minnesota, had had a Facebook profile, could he really have re-created himself as the New York beatnik Bob Dylan

 

3) Information you supply for one purpose will invariably be used for another …
Phone up to buy a pizza, and the order-taker’s computer gives her access to your voting record, employment history, library loans — all “just wired into the system” for your convenience. She’ll suggest a tofu pizza as she knows about your 42-inch waist, she’ll add a delivery surcharge because a nearby robbery yesterday puts you in “an orange zone” — and she’ll be on her guard because you’ve checked out the library book Dealing With Depression. This is where the American Council for Civil Liberties sees consumerism going — watch its pizza video online — and it’s not to hard to believe. Already surveys suggest that 35 percent of firms are rejecting applicants because of information found on social networks. What makes you think you can control what happens to your personal data?

What do you think? Any other aliens out there not on Facebook?

Zoe Romanowsky

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Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Godspy.com. Zo

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