Why I’m Not on Facebook

Filed under: @ 8:27 am

Everyone’s on Facebook, right?

My brother’s on Facebook, my friends are on Facebook, my father is on Facebook. Heck, even my in-laws are on Facebook.

I’m not on Facebook. I miss out on photos of my great nephew because I’m not on Facebook. I miss out on photos of Anastasia dissecting her first frog at school, I miss out on photos of my friend’s new house, I miss out on keeping in touch with friends from high school, I miss out on a lot of stuff.

Why am I not on Facebook?

Welp, this is the first reason.

Question: I am currently doing what?
Answer: Blogging.

Question: Are you blogging on a commercial site?
Answer: No.

I’ve GOT a blog. Okay, technically, I SHARE a blog, but why would I need two?
If something goes hinky with Uncle-Andrew.net I’ve got tech support right here. Instead of trying to make some nameless computer wonk on the other end of the phone understand what the problem is on my end I can have Andrew come, look, and fix.
And believe me, with my unique, um, *talents* as regards making computers go hinky on a regular basis, having in-house tech support is ABSOLUTELY a requirement.
If I need to learn something new to complete a blog post, I’ve got my library, my professor, and my mentor right here. Witness my capability to post photos. I’d NEVER have been able to figure out how to do that on my own (I tried and it was notably unsuccessful) and unless someone was physically in the room to show me how it worked several times over a period of several weeks I wouldn’t have been able to remember how to do it. And that knowledge has been applied in several situations. I can not only post photos to the blog, I can post photos to my online veterinary site, and I can move photos around from various albums to other devices. Extremely helpful when I want to put new photos on the memory card for my digital photo frame.

Here’s the second reason.
I’m not on Facebook because I already have a variety of forums in which I can socialize with those people with whom I wish to socialize.
You’re reading this right? Are we not, in some modern definition of “socialization”, socializing?
I’ve got my subscription veterinary site. VIN is a great community, not only for professional issues, but for personal issues as well whether or not they correlate to our shared profession. I’ve got VIN buddies all over the country and people with whom I communicate in places as far flung as Australia and Israel (and Turkey, and Afghanistan, one in Greece, several in western African nations…) Sounds like a social networking site to me.

And the third, and possibly the most relevant reason I’m not on Facebook was published as a cartoon in May’s Funny Times. It’s a ‘talking heads’ cartoon with a well dressed (suit and tie) man and a more casually dressed woman. I’d post the cartoon, but I can’t seem to figure out why WordPress won’t insert the photo I took of the cartoon and my tech support is currently in Shelton.
The man says to the woman: “I know we’re strangers, but I’d really like you to give me your personal information. A lot of it. And send all your communications through me from now on. I think I could make a fortune from it.”
The woman, angry, replies: “What are you – some *#$%#$/! PSYCHO?!”
“No, I’m a social networking site.”
“Oh, hip. Sign me up.”

But basically the point is this.
I have an unlisted TELEPHONE number. My home number is on the DO NOT CALL list. I have Caller ID (not really by choice, but only because by bundling services I could get my landline service cheaper, but still), one of the reasons I chose my current mobile phone provider is because they DON’T participate in the mobile phone ‘phone book’. Only one of our neighbors knows what I do for a living and she takes her dogs to the veterinary hospital that is two blocks away from us.
The reason I’m so protective of my privacy and personal information?
They get abused.
And not abused by some nebulous corporate entity looking to collect information on my purchasing habits so they can sell me shit, but abused by idiots who think that contacting me at home is a good way to get my “real” professional opinions and abilities when I’m free of the constraint of The Man.
As you will, perhaps, have previously read, people consider veterinarians — most medical professionals really — as public property regardless of whether or not they’re in the office. And veterinarians especially since we “do this because we love animals”. Because we have an interest in both animals AND medicine it means that we love animals so much that no matter where we are and what we’re doing (and whether or not you intend to pay us for our time or services) we’re willing to drop everything to advise, to opine, and to succor. I’ve got colleagues who have been interrupted in church, at children’s birthday parties, heck I even know someone who was pestered for veterinary advice while she was being PREPPED FOR A COLONOSCOPY.
Okay, yes, Facebook profiles can be made private, personal information _can_ be protected, but I don’t want to get sucked into something like this where I’m asked over, and over, and over again about why I’m not willing to be someone’s Facebook friend. Okay, my example is fictional and it may dilute the force of my argument to quote South Park. However Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a point, and since I interact with people professionally every day with whom I do not wish to interact, even on a very superficial level (i.e. “I didn’t accept your ‘friend’ request because my Facebook page is only for my family and friends outside of work”) privately, I think the point is a valid one. I don’t WANT to have to explain to the crazy lady who has called me four times in the space of two days to see if my answer to her request for me to euthanize her dog at home will change, why I also won’t be her Facebook friend. Or why she can’t be mine. And crazy lady isn’t the only one who would call me at the office to ask me questions about things that were bugging her online.
At times being a veterinarian is rather like having a large stable of stalkers.

So accept the fact that I’m not, nor will I ever be, on Facebook or any other public social networking site. And when you’ve got photos or invitations, or news, please do me the favor of e-mailing me directly so I can share them. I’m kind of tired of missing out.

5 Responses to “Why I’m Not on Facebook”

  1. mike Says:

    Check me out on facebook.

  2. YakBoy Says:

    I am, indeed, on Facebook. I made a dummy e-mail account that I neither receive nor send e-mail from to sign up with, I went through and set all the privacy settings to LEAVE ME THE F*&% ALONE (I may be paraphrasing) and I check frequently to make sure that one of their updates haven’t “improved” my privacy settings for me. With all that I still never post anything on there that I wouldn’t mind having painted in large letters on the side of my house.

    By coincidence, I ran across this site that has a very interesting graphic showing the progression of FB’s privacy policies over time.

    Why do I bother? That’s a damn good question. Also, apparently the cool kids now refer to it as “Facey B” which makes me want to punch someone in the neck every time I read it. I certainly can’t fault you for not wanting to go through the effort it takes to have even a reasonable expectation of privacy on there.

    On the other hand, I can only GUESS what kind of personal information the administrator of THIS site has on you O_O

  3. Margaret Says:

    Check me out on facebook.

    Bite me.

  4. mike Says:

    ((Munch)) 🙂

  5. Dalek Says:

    I hear you completely. A large chunk of my friends and acquaintances are on
    FB, and although I too keep a blog (granted, not self-hosted like yours), the
    only way I could keep up with them and vice versa was to join the collective.
    Which I resisted doing for quite a long time, not least because FB’s “privacy
    policies” and database mining practices give me serious hives. Like you, I
    have an unlisted number, am on the do-not-call lists, and go through a fair
    bit of trouble to NOT be publicly known or available EVER. And yes, I agree
    with YakBoy in that you should never post anything online that you wouldn’t
    feel comfortable having advertised on an interstate billboard.

    It is definitely a problem, because not being part of
    FaceBook/MySpace/Twitter/You-Name-It-BorgWare does mean that you get left out
    of certain things, particularly when a large chunk of people you know all
    start defaulting to [insert social networking media of choice here] as their
    primary way of “keeping in touch.” There are always options for working
    around it. But at the end of the day, there will be a portion of the zerg
    activities that you will just miss, because you’re not in the herd/hive-
    mind/collective of currently-popular choice. It is what it is. And being
    stubbornly individualistic has its perks, too. :mrgreen:

Leave a Reply

All comments containing hyperlinks are held for approval, so don't worry if your comment doesn't show up immediately. (I'm not editing for content, just weeding out the more obvious comment spam.)

All portions of this site are © Andrew Lenzer, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.