Social Enterprise

10 reasons why I avoid social networking services

Social networking has had a huge impact on how we communicate and interact -- but some people refuse to get caught up in the trend. Alan Norton explains why he's one of them.

I have a confession to make. I don't do social networking. That's not that unusual for someone my age. Just 8% of all Facebook users fall into my age group. Nonetheless, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, social networking is popular and still growing. While only 8% of adult Internet users used social networking sites in 2005, that number had grown to 65% by 2011. Why then do some people in general and older Internet users in particular avoid social networking services? I can give you 10 reasons why this experienced ancient one doesn't use them.

1: I have privacy concerns

The recent IPO of Facebook wasn't as successful as its backers wanted. But it was successful bringing to the public's attention Facebook's privacy concerns. I, like many others, don't fully understand how serious those concerns are. It does make for a great excuse though to avoid Facebook altogether. Putting your personal information in the care of others, no matter how diligent their stewardship, increases your risk of that information getting into the hands of third parties.

Our image is, in part, defined by our words. Each of us should ask how much of ourselves we want to give to people we don't even know. Once gone, that private piece of our lives can never be retrieved.

2: Ownership of content is unclear

Who actually owns and who controls "your" intellectual content that you post is not as clear as you might think. Terms vary by social networking service, but typically you give up control of how your content may be used. Which raises the question: If you don't control it, do you really own it? It isn't clear who legally owns your content. The Twitter Terms of Service as of July 4, 2012, clearly states that you own the content you post:

"You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services....But what's yours is yours -- you own your Content (and your photos are part of that Content)."

According to a New York judge, however, Twitter owns your Tweets. That should at least cause you to pause before posting anything at any site other than your own. I am not a lawyer, but it appears that the legal ownership of your Tweets and other posted content may not be fully determined for years.

3: It's too impersonal

Social networking offers an easy way to meet people -- perhaps too easy. No commitment is required, and you can invest as much or as little of your time as you wish. Social networking services can be a great way to keep people at a distance: Interact only when and where you want with whom you want. That may be great for some people. I prefer more meaningful ways to interact, like face-to-face and over the phone. People value your full attention and time. Social interaction is only as rewarding as you are willing to make it, whether in person or online.

4: I want to minimize online gaffes

There is that risqué limerick you shared while in high school or those embarrassing statements you made about a former employer that can be found with a simple Web search. Pity the poor job interviewee grilled by an interviewer who did his homework and found your ignorance, or worse, the bad information you posted about a topic for which you are supposed to be an expert. If you must post, practice safe posting. Of course, abstinence means never having to say you're sorry.

5: I want to minimize data points for possible data mining

Make a spelling mistake or grammatical error and you can be dinged for it forever. For me, it would be embarrassing as a writer and a blow to my ego but not a great loss. To a younger person interviewing for a job, consider what this report would do for a first impression:

It's not likely that you will run across this level of detail at your next job interview. But it isn't that difficult to collect such data -- and you can bet that if it can be done, it will be done. Never mind the fact that such data is fraught with problems.

6: I don't subscribe to social fads

Call me a rebel, please. I don't like following the sheep to gain their acceptance. Clothing from Sears has always been my fashion statement, though the local thrift store has of late been getting my business. Twitter and Facebook may just be another fad that comes and goes, like AIM and MySpace.

7: I don't like being pressured to join

The sinister way that social networking services sneak into even the most ardent holdout's daily life is through invitations from friends and family members. Yes, I am now a lousy brother in law because I ignored an invitation from my brother's wife to join her inside circle at Facebook. I became a rotten friend when I politely turned down a request to be in a friend's LinkedIn professional network. Thank goodness my nephews and nieces have yet to ask me to "join up." I would hate to be a terrible uncle too.

8: I don't need the abuse

I used to think that posting at services like Usenet was something akin to self flagellation. Why would I risk being verbally flogged for posting what others might perceive as flame bait? I still don't need the abuse but, thankfully, I no longer take name calling like "idiot" or "nimrod" as personally as I once did. Being flamed has instead become part of the profession "writer" and a badge of honor. Those who post on TechRepublic are a class act by comparison -- people who disagree with me here call me "Mr. Norton."

9: It's more work

If your work is anything like my experiences in the cubicle, you already spend enough time typing when you answer emails, update status reports, and write code. It's just no fun coming home to more of the same.

This may not apply to you, but when you write for a living, it's not a lot of fun interacting socially with the written word. After calculating the amount of wisdom I spew forth per dollar received, I have to tell you, I am working cheap (1:51 - 2:23). I just can't afford to give away my wisdom for free.

The bottom line...

...is that it's just not me (#10). Some of us prefer to keep ourselves to our self. I have heard about certain sites that cater to the courtship rituals of modern Homo sapiens, but every day that goes by I become less modern than the day before. Neither do I need to network for a job, though I used to believe that getting published was far better than social networking when it came to that big job interview. My notoriety, or lack thereof, has me now questioning the accuracy of that belief. Then there's the fact that I have yet to find a reason why I should tell countless others how totally devoid of meaning my life really is.

According to an analysis of tweets by Pear Analytics, 40% of all tweets are pointless babble. I have better ways to atrophy my brain, better ways to slowly turn my gray matter into mush. Is it possible that we will prefer communicating via machine rather than one on one? Personal social interaction could become a lost art. And it would be a shame for humanity to become so impersonal.

I can guess that some of you more analytical thinkers are saying, "Hold on there just a minute, Alan. You participate in the forums at TechRepublic. Doesn't that make you a hypocrite?" I believe that every writer should be available to answer any questions that you, the patient reader, might have. What you may perceive as hypocrisy is merely relativistic disingenuous behavioral prioritization. I would be hypocritical if I didn't participate. Besides, sometimes you've just gotta throw 10 silly reasons to the wind and risk acting the goat so you can help someone.

How about you?

Do you share some of these objections and concerns? Or have you come to rely on social networking as a means of enriching your life and advancing your career? Share your thoughts with other TechRepublic members.

About

Alan Norton began using PCs in 1981, when they were called microcomputers. He has worked at companies like Hughes Aircraft and CSC, where he developed client/server-based applications. Alan is currently semi-retired and starting a new career as a wri...

381 comments
mayazoe
mayazoe

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated. Buy Facebook fans

Treknology
Treknology

Facebook? Oh yes! That site where I have one extreme close-up photo while wearing a huge pair of sunglasses so that even people who know me won't recognise me, and I'm listed as a Nigerian Scammer living in Peru. As for other fora that I visit, again, personal information is fake. If someone were to add up all the supposed locations in which I live or work, I would be clocking up light-years faster than "Earth Force One". Ursa Minor is a long-haul flight!


My primary motivations to post anything on facebook are political, health or libertarian related, and I really have no time for people who post, "Got sh*tfaced last night. Gotta work today," or those who keep taking photos of their lunch. This rather limits my number of "friends".


While I use much fake information to preserve "privacy", I knew from the very first day that I dialed up to an ISP and had even a temporary IP address, that such "privacy" was thereafter an illusion -- as Edward Snowden (like many before him) has recently revealed. Come to think of it, my information is probably safer with facebook than a government department. Facebook can be sued. The NSA can't.

JackB555
JackB555

Guys think about it, someone who uses facebook could easily be crazy in real life, it doesn't matter whether or not they're using it.

Facebook is filled with adds for porn, cougars, anti feminism, racism, hateful comments, full of negativity in general, propaganda, media trying to corrupt you left and right, etc. So what you're saying, is that it's crazy for someone to want stay away from all that? I say it's more crazy to want to be a part of it.

Listen, websites don't influence people. People influence people. Again, the website is just a bunch of pictures and symbols, created by human beings (obviously). People online in general are very cold and rude, and this has been slowly translating to real life as well because people don't know any better.

Now have you ever thought also that maybe, staying away from the website could mean that you want to have closer and better relationships with your friends and family? I don't know about you guys, but I sometimes miss talking to someone over the phone and hearing their voice.. Or even better, seeing them face to face.

Someone can also want to stay away from social media, because they want more time pursuing their goals, having more time for hobbies and activities, etc.

So many people make judgements and make stories or assumptions about people and think they're true, though in reality, most of the time they're wrong.

pwhistler
pwhistler

Perhaps we should organise a social site for people like us that refuse to be sucked into the modern world!

raviksri2004
raviksri2004

Hi Alan, Good point, you have mentioned. I have similar concerns. Nice article. I hope, there are others like us :-)

Not~SpamR
Not~SpamR

Every once in a while I see my wife's Farcebook feed. That's all it takes to keep me away. Most of it seems to be people telling the world they are having a coffee or some such. Even when I know the people concerned I really couldn't care less if they are having a coffee right now.

It's also pretty stupid the way people post pictures taken at home (geotagged, so their home location is known) and then post "At the airport waiting for my two weeks in the sun". Or, in other words, "hey everybody, this is where I live and I won't be there for a fortnight".

Then comes the type of user who spams everybody and their dog with friend requests. Usually the guy it's difficult to refuse for social or political reasons and yet you know that as soon as you accept him he's going to spam every one of your friends with a friend request even if they haven't got the first idea who he is. 

I'd rather get on with life than endlessly try and look interesting to people I only vaguely know.

kchimwanda
kchimwanda

Even me, I have NO interest in telling 200+ "friends" where I am having lunch on my vacation, or if my dog is sick or I have a cold and am in bed.

BUT I am going to take a few minutes, create all necessary social media accounts like facebook etc, lock-down all necessary security patches I possibly can before someone get hold of my photos and any other information required, create and start using Social Media accounts under my name.

Maybe better this way: Create facebook, twitter and or linkedin accounts, lock down security like Login Notifications, Login Approvals, ... Monitor Active sessions especially Facebook

Go ahead and create them before some smart Aleck do it for you

makin97
makin97

i agree with u in all things that's u mention

BrianBlaze
BrianBlaze

Do what you want no one is putting a gun to your head. I did find it funny though that one job interview I went to not too long ago thought it was suspicious because my privacy settings were so high... pretty much you can't win and if you want to fully protect yourself stay in the basement and never leave your house haha seriously I am more afraid of where I swipe my cards then what I say on facebook and I am learning small things to keep myself protected... aliases and such :) Good luck living in your bubble! Also I wonder if you consider Linkedin as one of those sites... Also I think it's important to remember that you choose who your friends are and could easily have those 50 - 100 people who are close in your life and not have anyone else... BE AFRAID! haha

N4AOF
N4AOF

Years ago LinkedIn was a serious professional networking tool - today it would best be described as a Facebook-wannabe. When LinkedIn got started there were standards applied to limit accounts - today LinkedIn harvests email addresses from members and sends spam constantly "inviting" every address it hears about. (see also Reason 7 in the article).

bestquality
bestquality

Social networking has many advantages but also causes more trouble

david786
david786

People are STUNNED when I tell them that I DO NOT have a Facebook, account or for that matter ANY social media. They harrass me and try to coax me along but NO WAY JOSE! Call me a social outcast or what ever you want...dont care...been in this business since the IBM PC was introduced, I am at the highest levels in management and the one thing I have learned is that the Internet is a giant vacuum sucking up your entire life for all the world to see. I have NO interest in telling 200+ "friends" where I am having lunch on my vacation, or if my dog is sick or I have a cold and am in bed. I dont want you to know that my hobbies are sailing, and I like to have a glass of wine while I watch the sunset. But the SCARIEST thing I have heard yet is the new technology that is coming out in social media where it will do face recognition and start identifying people in any picture....background etc if it can match you elsewhere!!!! Now HOW CREEPY is that???? Here you are vacation in Hawaii with your gut out, and someone takes a picture as you walk and you get tagged! Those who are on facebook and other social media now, are soon going to regret they EVER put their name below a picture of themselves!!!! This voyeur society is out of its mind, and I am sticking to my lonely island in the middle of the ocean happily...thank you very much!

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

there's a scam where some crimes are sending death threats and extortion notices via LinkedIn accounts, I'm sure they'll get to Farcebook and the Twits soon.

chdchan
chdchan

I am not much a fan of my friends since they are not my heroes, sometimes being foes. So pointless to keep informed about them.

otoemlak
otoemlak

I am surprised that this statistic is so low

suziep12
suziep12

I always run away from something that appears to be too popular. I always feel like a lemming jumping off a cliff when I do???..

starr.cruise
starr.cruise

Excellent article, Alan. I must admit I have a facebook account that I have done nothing with, nor done nothing with, and just need to get rid of. Did it so my best friend could better post pictures for me. What a mess that I now need to clean up. I could never clearly state my reasons as you have, because it was more just a gut reaction for me. I'm private anyways, and I believe its way more than 40% is babble - (what criteria are they using?). So why bother? Looking at what so many people are now calling "communication" blows my mind. I have more meaningful interaction just spending time with my animals. Anyways, I think you really hit it on the head. It all has appeared to me to be the "new way" to communicate, when, in reality, it is alot about being closed off, but denying you are. I am hard of hearing, so speaking on the telephone for me is really difficult, for both parties. I am constantly asked, why not text. My reply, (as my friends will tell you, my conversations have to be meaningful, or I don't waste the energy), "How could I possibly "text" what we are communicating?" No reply. Thanks for speaking up. And more power to them, if that's what they want.

rjplace
rjplace

Since my son and grandchildren back in Arkansas seem to only use Face Book to communicate. It has created empty feelings. No longer do we get to talk to our grandchildren - we go to Face Book to see the newest photos. Our son no longer calls to talk, just to say hi. He sends via Face Book his recent doings. Our grandson bless his heart still calls. We really miss being a part of their lives (hearing the voice of your son - grandchilden ) can not be replaced by Face Book.

BitJox@Yahoo.com
BitJox@Yahoo.com

I proudly exclaim that I have never tweeted on MySpace nor have I ever gotten my FaceBooked. Nor would I ever care how much toilet paper somebody just purchased either.

callmebat62
callmebat62

It did me good to read your post, to find there are more people out there that feel similarly. My faith in my belief system is bolstered!

imanother
imanother

You don't need to join Fishbait or Twatter and open up your life to the world. Those you know who are already members can do it for you: "Did you know Charlie's gonna be away next week [and his house will be carte blanche for burglars].

Shrike49
Shrike49

From what I can see of social networking there is 1 (ONE) good reason for NOT going anywhere Near Twitter, Tweet FaceBook etc., and Thats Security!!! Have a scout around the Net for related IT Security issue's. That alone is enough to Put you off!! Meantime I also agree wholeheartly with Alan! I have better things to than twitter, tweet, facebook or crap on about what I had for breakfast, besides there is a much better social activety called communicating (talking) face to face and if thats not possible, a phone call or an email does the job! etc etc ... Bla Bla Bla

VOMIChairman
VOMIChairman

I guess you were being kind to your IT audience.

rlopes
rlopes

It's amazing how many people ask me if I'm on Facebook, and most of them are young adults. When I respond that I have no intention of getting on any of these social networks, they look at me in horror and wonder what is wrong with me. I too have concerns about privacy and that's what I explain to these youngsters. They can shake their heads at me all they want, but someday, I may be shaking my head right back at them saying, "I told you so."

twig.lewis
twig.lewis

Who cares if I just checked in at Outback, Baskin Robins, then where ever? The daily quotes drive me crazy! And all those pictures? The numerous postings made are not creditable (OK, lies) and hurt people. Social networks are for people who have nothing else better to do!

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

I don't think most people realize how much privacy they give up when joining social networks. If you doubt this just Google your sign-in. Everything you ever posted will be displayed.

gsmckenna999
gsmckenna999

Finally, someone I understand, I think there may be hope for the human condition after all.

dimonic
dimonic

A lot of this smacks of that terrible WASP fear that someone, somewhere may find out some truth about me, and I am terribly uncomfortable with that. And heaven help that anyone should ever try to sell me anything, especially not face to face. That is what TV ads are for. I shouldn't have to share space with some salesperson who I might have to turn down in person, and risk hurt feelings. I get that there are real privacy concerns, but slipping in the bit about school bake sales and vaccuum cleaners is not helping your case. You are just feeding the fogey-trolls.

stupid user name
stupid user name

I was suspicious of these social media sites from the get-go, but now with "big data", they can assemble and assimilate so much info about people. So why give them any help? Regardless if it's "big brother" spying on me, my employer or future employer, or some marketing maniacs, I don't want to provide any assistance for their intrusion into my space (pun intended). And I continue to spurn social media.

petremure
petremure

In a nutshell, life's too short as it is.....

DrDale
DrDale

I find all the brouhaha over social networking somewhat tedious. Frankly, even as a 100% service-connected disabled retired army officer, I don't have enough time to waste on such sites. I have a Facebook account--but haven't posted in a long time. I don't do LinkedIn or Twitter or countless other time wasters. Good grief!

louise.marshall
louise.marshall

I live in Australia and am constantly amused at the number of people who spend most of their travelling and waiting time updating & reading 'Facebook'. Surely they could use their mobile data allowance to read or learn something? I agree with EVERYTHING written in this article about social media, especially Facebook. It is a pleasant surprise to find another who spurns this fad.

Tromman
Tromman

That's me. I have no social networking accounts and the friends I have are actually able to TALK to me, be it on the 'phone or, amazingly, face to face. I am so far behind the so-called times that I use a CAMERA to take a picture. OK it's digital but only because my 35mm broke. If I need info from the net I use a desktop because I can see a whole page at a time and am never so desperate for info NOW that I can't wait to get home, office or wherever. When people find that I have no FB account etc. they always ask 'why not?'. They go quiet and pretend to understand when I just tap the side of my nose, say "I work in IT" and smile. One can see the cogs turning but they don't hassle me.The other thing I don't understand is the apparent need to share my pictures. There are so many ads for faster, better ways to share but I have to ask myself who the hell would be interested in a porcine in-law dipping a toe in the briny on an overcrowded beach? The mind boggles. This is the most adventurous I have been for years and is the total on-line chat for two years. Hey I'm happy!

Sparkling Spacers
Sparkling Spacers

I have Twitter, which I open about once every 9 months or so if something interests me. Have Facebook to play Wordscraper and to Save a Cat, which actually motivated me to adopt a cat, thereby saving her life. Wordscraper has gone down the tubes and is now unusable. So, cats are now the only reason I have Facebook. I think I have LinkedIn but am not sure, don't care. I have aliases for all the social media. Etsy is one arm of a small business I have. The only social media I give a rat's about is the NY Times, and can't imaging scrounging for attention all over the Internet with no privacy.

jbarrett
jbarrett

I work at a church and find that I am forced to go to Facebook to find out who is in the hospital, etc. because people are telling about it there and forget to tell the church, then get angry because we did not respond to their need or situation. Soicial media is a mess.

cgoodyer
cgoodyer

I'm with you all the way

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

The only reason I have a profile on Facebook is because I have one or two friends who assume that everyone is on Facebook. They've changed their phone numbers and emails and addresses without bothering to let me know and if I weren't on Facebook, I'd have completely lost contact. You might think that such friends are not worth keeping up with but I value my friends (i.e. real friends, not Facebook friends) and I allow for their idiosyncrasies. However, the only information I put on Facebook is what can readily be discovered elsewhere. I never badmouth anyone (nor any employer!) and visit it about once a month. That, to my way of thinking, is the happy medium. I do agree with all the points raised by Alan Norton. However, I now have to take my glasses off to read! ;)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

contact with someone I was doing a lot of coordinating work for a community organisation with; we were both on very slow rural dial-up services. Within a few months I had a couple of hundred people I knew, most very casually, ask to 'friend' me. I knew them, so I did. After 18 months the need for the coordination contact ended - project completed. But I kept the FB account for some more months as I had a number of family now 'friends' on it. But by 2007 I was totally fed up with having my mailbox overflowing with BS emails from FB due to it automatically telling me about updates on my friends' pages and invites to play stupid games. I spent an hour trying to get FB to tell me how to turn all the crap off. But couldn't find anything to tell me how. I later did find out from someone else. But by then I'd decide I'd had enough of FarceBook (no typo) as I'd had no intelligent message through the system for three months. After seeing what FB wanted to delete the account and deciding it was all BS, I defriended everyone, changed the profile and contact details (all to the FB HQ related info so they got the messages and not me), changed the name to be abusive of FB and walked away from it. I'm not a twit, nor am I a yam, and I don't like being linked to people like I'm part of a chain gain, so the only social networking I do now is through web site forums and newsgroups I choose to belong to, such as TR and the storiesonline discussion group newsgroup. People want to communicate with me they can send me an email, or a written letter, or give me a phone calls as all that info is on my web site.

oldpoop
oldpoop

Mr. Norton (may I call you "Commander") WOW! 238 Comments, and counting. It's like you hit a nerve, or something. Like it's 1984 with "Big Brother" or something. Did you know that U.S. government agencies are requiring FB username and password from employees? And if you give them fake info they will fire you. "relativistic disingenuous behavioral prioritization"....WHAT!!!? Can you unpack that for me? I'm not a very smart man. Probably because I don't keep up with the current idiomatic phrases (like on FB). I understand relativism (like E=MC^2). I understand being disingenuous (like all politicians and Wall Street magnates). I understand behavior (is it nature or nurture). And, I understand prioritization (like posting a comment when I have other high priority tasks waiting --- I need a Theory X supervisor --- no, wait...that's my wife). Are we going to start seeing RDBP like we see IMHO or LOL? Isn't RDBP something they give cows to make them produce more milk? Maybe that's RBGH. Oh well. I joined FB a couple of years ago because some programmer said it was a good idea to use it to keep up with updates and new program stuff. Then, I never used it, until my son in the Navy said I could keep up with him that way because it was one of the few ways his ship allowed electronic communication. I'm up to something like 13 Friends on FB. I still have a TI-99/4a...somewhere. I used to hand copy BASIC coded programs from PC Magazine to run on my TI (when I was in Korea). Now, I download programs off CNet (among others) to run on my Windoze computer. The times they are a changin'. Oops, is that considered "Social Information"? Drop your business card in the jar for a chance to win a "free lunch".

LOUIETR ...
LOUIETR ...

[b] Nothing can replace in person communication [/b]

paul
paul

Once upon a time and not too long ago, Facebook was realistically less easy to make any kind of effort at hiding things and contacts, and someone started trolling our contacts and troubling friends by email where email addresses could be found. So we "de-friended" everyone, and endeavoured to reduce the Facebook thing to just being a point of contact for real actual long lost friends giving a safer spam rejecting email address. And now have "no friends" at all as such on Facebook! And even though I have not any Facebook friends now, I do not feel recluse, or as a socially outcast person, or as one who has been abandoned by humanity for refusing to "friend" rank unknowns, perverts, and random purveyors of nonsense. Then Facebook decided to issue us with a new email address @ their domain, and automatically changed the one we had put there ourselves without out even asking our wish on the matter. They branded us with an address that reduced and demeaned my humanity to being merely a numbered suffix. And I'm not even sure how one would collect email from an email address one has not set up for oneself, or whether one ought to want to. Should the ethereally robotic Internet ecosphere be deciding my new email address for me with out my mind actually being involved. Are we now mere minions controlled by fiscally driven policies implemented through human herding computer programme designs? Once a day it sometimes seems, a computer programme at Facebook emails me to say that I am apparently "missing some action" - and when I look (if I look) it appears that I have not signed on some "friend requests" from instantly available intense inane bosom heartthrobs who in the event might want to make improper suggestions to me, or sell me things and physical enhancements and characteristics or alterations to my physique that I want neither. Perhaps Twitter is somewhat useful for following certain technical people who make announcements and tell you useful things, and for passing useful info along occasionally. But other than that I am not sure why one would want to know in real time -- and have urgently relayed to one's personal device or cell phone as well, that some unknown person announces to the universe that they had just blown their nose, dropped their lipstick or nose powder compact, wet their trousers with spilt pop-drink, or likes tomato sauce and cheese on their hamburger, all tweeted/posted on some social network while they await the traffic signal for a green light that their vehicle may proceed on.

SeasonedsysDBA
SeasonedsysDBA

The IT "innovators" brought in Yammer (free version) in for IT to try out in my workplace. I joined in for a couple of weeks, and now I won't go near it. My review: They named it well.

davidrwright
davidrwright

Hi Alan, I am with you ! I have been a user since my compuserve account back in the early 90s, have always looked at all kinds of new services, joining up to them as they come out to see what they offer. In my early days I worked for a huge international tech company, and never used their accounts to join. Since going out on my own, I have signed on to services like LinkedIn using my company account. When my account was somehow hacked into (probably my own fault - weak password) and bizarre and nasty posts were made IN MY name, for all my customers to see, I shut down (tried to close out) all my social site accounts and stopped using them. Some (you know how they are) accounts cannot be closed. Just thought I would add my 2 cents DW

greggatshack
greggatshack

I'm 58 and a computer troubleshooter. I'm an early adopter of new technology and techniques. FaceBook is just one of a myriad of things people can do on a computer. Its popularity indicates that a large number of computer users find it useful/fun. I use Facebook myself and find it great for keeping in touch with people who I otherwise would not see much of because of geographical location. (My daugher 12,000 miles away for one). I also have struck up some relationships with people that my children have been acquaintances of and have some stimulating debate with some of them. If I have private thoughts I keep them to myself. On the other hand I am quite happy to voice my opinion on a variety of things and I do not care who sees it. If I voice it I own it. I am generally fairly open and frank and if someone has any issue with one of my opinions I welcome their feedback and I'm quite happy to enter into debate about it. We have had stupid people do stupid things throughout social history. Just because technology allows them to be stupid more quickly and to a wider audience doesn't make the technology bad. In fact I welcome all of that because maybe it will marginalize the gaffes (sorry "giraffes"), and help make the world a more open place. Imagine if everybody could know everything about everyone. Wouldn't that make it harder to be dishonest? I know I'm being a bit idealistic here but I used to be a science fiction fan until about 30 years ago, then I started living what I used to read about. For the last 20 years I've been champing at the bit for more of the inevitable to happen! On a slight tangent... What would be the effect on crime if we had everybody in the world on a DNA register?

martin
martin

Hurrah for common sense! I haven't time to write all my concerns about item 5 which you note is 'fraught with problems'. Too right it is! What about the spelling differences between England & USA (not to mention all those delightful Australian and Indian words and . . .)? What about the grammar checker that regularly changes one of my phrases to an alternative that gardenpaths the reader? And no spellchecker is going to like my shorthand nonce word for "lead up the garden path". There's material for a whole article here, Mr Norton. Verb. sap.

Tord55
Tord55

1. I am much more worried about my bank account, or PayPal, has been under attack than Facebook - I'd never dream of using the same passwords to Facebook as elsewhere! 2. I very rarely tweet (a handful of times, altogether), so I am not that worried who owns what I write there! 3. Like special interest groups, you can make new friends through social networking, just as you can do at work, but it is a rare event in either case! And there are weirdos everywhere, not least at work, so I don't see any great differences. 4. Yeah, I try to minimize my online gaffes, writing mostly about things I do know, and have experience from. Avoiding writing when drunk, or otherwise intoxicated, would make the conversations over the net so much more pleasant, but some seem to take a joy in being abusive! 5. I find writing on the net keeps my English current, so I mainly frequent English-language groups, dedicated to things I care about, or is interested in. 6. Like you I don't subscribe to social fads, but eventually, years after other have joined, I seem to have joined, no matter if it has to do with diets, technology, or social networking. For instance, I have kept away from smart phones, till now, and I hope I'll resist a few years more! 7. I do like to have some updates about friends, not least friends from my youth that have spread over the world, and there I find Facebook useful! 8. I have left groups due to much abuse going on, no matter if it is too much quoting, foul language, or personal attacks (against me or others). At DPReviews I've been called a 'troll', but I can live with that ;-)! 9.I do not write for a living, even if I'm a MA in journalism, so I write in my off time, so it is a nice change from my line of work. 10. This is the kind of nonsense I have a hard time hard to digest: 'relativistic disingenuous behavioral prioritization'. Just like most Tweets, quite meaningless, Alan is just showing off. Reminds me of those silly computer programs that made nonsense sentences (that looked learned, and academic). I once used such a program and sent a letter to the author of that very piece of software, using the very software for the bulk of the letter. He didn't like that at all. My excuse is that I was young and didn't know better. Have a good day, everyone!

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