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Clark: Their spurn of Facebook tops ’em all

Time’s up. Pencils down.

My “Just Say NO to Facebook” contest is over.

A couple of weeks ago I asked to hear from those who share my disdain for the world’s largest social networking site. The submissions have been counted, certified and collated, whatever that means.

Two lucky winners will join me at a later date (as soon as we work out the details) for a free lunch and some old-fashioned discourse. Not to mention a few groovy prizes.

But before identifying the Top Dogs, I want to tell you how amazed and delighted I was by the response.

Sure, we didn’t quite match the 500 million that Facebook touts as members. But 80 creative readers joined the fun. They sent me their anti-Facebook reasons via e-mail, voice mail and even that quaint mode of creeping communication: snail mail.

Speaking of which, I especially loved the letter from Fran Rogers. Talk about retro. The Spokane woman plastered her envelope with eight aged stamps, including a 6-cent Dwight D. Eisenhower and two 3-cent stamps that commemorate the “Coast and Geodetic Survey 1807-1957.”

But in the category of eccentric offerings, nothing topped the letter from Brent Andrews.

The envelope was covered with a pencil-scrawled mass of stick figures, doodlings and bizarre messages like “Put me in Coach! I’m ready to play.” There were also highly suspect quotes attributed to George Washington, such as: “This dot-com of the moment, too, shall pass.”

Inside I found 10 small color headshots of (presumably) Andrews along with a Top 10 list of reasons to Just Say No to Facebook. (Reason 3: “Already went to high school.”)

I didn’t know whether to laugh or call Homeland Security. Just to keep him happy, however, I will send Andrews something appropriately odd to acknowledge his, ahem, effort.

Most of the entries came from online outcasts like me. That is to say people who have resisted the Facebook fad.

A smaller number of entries came from those who have tried Facebook only to become disenchanted after discovering the network to be intrusive or an inane drainer of time.

“I can’t believe the unimportant events that so many people feel compelled to share with the world,” observed Wilbur’s Stacey Nash in an e-mail.

Her friends, she added, talked her into opening a Facebook account last year. “The whole thing seems so juvenile to me.”

And let’s not forget the sinister privacy issue.

Just this week Facebook made headlines because several of the network’s “applications have been transmitting users’ personal identifying information to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies,” the Associated Press reported.

This thing blows on so many levels.

But now it’s time to proudly announce our winners: Becky Rains and Jeremy Schulz, both of Spokane.

The card Rains mailed had me giggling from the get-go.

The cover features a vintage sepia-toned photograph of two jug-eared, scowling half-wits. The caption read: “The Torville brothers (frustrated virgins) conclude they have to find a new barber.”

That’s the sort of twisted humor I can appreciate.

But it was the sincere, handwritten note inside the card that won me over. It illustrates one of the creepy flaws that come with the whole Facebook phenomenon.

“I got an e-mail on Facebook from some fool I didn’t know – he goes on and on about how sexy my picture was and he really wanted to know me,” she wrote. “Give me a break. I was in a sweat suit and sitting on a La-Z-Boy with a poodle on my lap.

“He was probably a felon and trying to score on the Net.”

Rains, 61, added that she is now off Facebook (she says her daughter opened the Facebook account for her) and feeling good about her decision.

I liked what Schulz had to say for a couple of reasons. First, his entry was short and sweet. And second, his views are so atypical for a guy who is the same age as billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“I’m 26 years old and ALL my friends, family, and co-workers are obsessed!” Schulz wrote in an e-mail. “I am asked on a weekly basis why I am not part of the Facebook madness. I simply reply with, ‘I’m not giving into the man!’ ”

Schulz added that he sees “Facebook as nothing more than a gossip fest, and to some, a sense of security. To all you non-Facebookers out there, stay strong!”

So now we will all sit down over lunch and see what happens.

Before signing off, however, let me leave you with my own Top Ten list. This is made up of my favorite lines from some of the clever people who entered.

So may I have an imaginary drumroll, please?

10. “A NO to Facebook is a YES to healthy living” – Enid Trenholm, Sandpoint.

9. “After my wife established her Facebook page, she asked me to be her friend. I told her, ‘I really do love you babe, but I don’t want to be your friend.’ ” – Mike Fink.

8. “Lunch with me should be a special treat for you. I have read how you love to snarf down meat in front of ‘PETA’ people like me.” – Kerry Masters Anderlik, Spokane.

7. “I don’t Twitter, Facebook or Kindle. But I do fold, mutilate and spindle.” – Donald C. Orlich, Pullman.

6. “The politicians we elect prove to me that I live in a nation of fools. Why would I want to have the electorate be my friends?” – Bill Temple, Sandpoint.

5. “I wonder how many of these 500 million Facebook friends can spell the word ‘narcissistic’ and also understand why it just might pertain to them.” – Georgie Weatherby, Spokane.

4. “… I was actually worried that there was some implied association or liability to me if one of the ‘friends’ or friend of a friend might turn out to be a serial killer or a Republican candidate.” – Mike LaScuola, Spokane.

3. “… I don’t want any of my old high school classmates to find me and let me know what I did or said at a party in the ’70s or how I never shaved my legs when I wore a dress.” – Shaun Martin, Pomeroy.

2. “And I thought I was the only knuckle-dragging Troglodyte left on this planet. I am very happy to see I have company.” – Jim Corcoran, Sagle.

1. “My life is not that interesting and I don’t care about yours.” – Mike Perrin, Spokane Valley.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com.

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