For most of us, it’s hard to imagine life without Facebook; the mix of socializing and friend-tracking is highly addictive. It is perhaps for this reason that some individuals choose to abstain from or abandon Facebook—perhaps they have found that their social life has become largely confined to the online realm, and that they post to friends’ walls more often than talking to them offline. Perhaps they find that relationships online turn out to be less meaningful and close than the ones they cultivate away from the Internet. And perhaps they would rather not subject themselves to what often feels like an invasion of personal space.
Whatever the reason they give for their boycott of Facebook, these people are taking a step away from this technological wonder of a site and saying “Enough is enough”. These individuals value their privacy too much to give in to the siren call of online socializing. But with close to one billion members, Facebook is as mainstream as white bread; everybody’s using it, and if you’re not, you may as well not exist. Not only that, but others may regard you as if you have something to hide if you don’t have a profile.
This trend can be likened to the inclination of tech-savvy people to look down on those who don’t keep up with technological advances, such as those who shun cell phones in favour of landlines. There is strong pressure to keep on top of gadget culture, and those who don’t are considered odd or lacking. The same principle, it would appear, is at work with Facebook.
Recently, news reports noted that murderers James Holmes and Anders Behring Breivik both lacked Facebook profiles, which has led some to suggest that not having one is a sign of abnormality and a lack of well-developed social ties. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that those who consciously abstain from using Facebook have psychopathic tendencies—particularly if we base our conclusion on a sample of two people—but it does raise concerns about potential anti-social tendencies that may keep some away from the site.
There are a growing number of employers are interested in the online activities of their employees, so much so that they may demand to be added as friends in order to monitor the Facebook use of their subordinates. But if they learn that a given prospective candidate or current employee does not maintain an account on the site, they may become suspicious and wonder if the individual can be trusted; what unsavoury details of their life might they be hiding? On the other hand, they may simply be resisting the encroachment of social-based technologies. After all, not everyone is happy to share and bare all with the teeming online masses.
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