People have started dropping out of Facebook, according to the New York Times, for a variety of reasons:
•Monotony over the “my-feelings-about-omelets” musings of their 3,000 friends.
•Free-floating anxiety over corporate tyranny. I guess people are worried that Facebook might target their own omelet musings for EggBeaters ads or something.
•The “creepiness” factor, as in: Do I really want to know that Ralph G. is “really into spandex bicycle-wear”?
I, however, am not dropping out of Facebook, because I have never joined Facebook.
Not for any of the reasons listed above. I have resisted Facebook for the even better reason that I would find it compulsively addictive.
I would obsessively check my Facebook page every 17.9 seconds to find out whether Erica W. has resolved her dilemma over whether to shop at Rosauers or Fred Meyer, or whether Rich P. has decided whether Northern Lights Crystal Bitter has the correct balance of hops, or whether Heather X. has decided to go to Sandpoint over Labor Day weekend or to simply, you know, chill.
In other words, I refuse to join Facebook because I am convinced that it will be too effective.
You see, I am painfully familiar with my own obsessive tendencies. Facebook, for me, would be the equivalent of my college post office box, multiplied by technology to the 2,000th degree.
When I was in college our main connection with the outside world was our college post office box. The student center had an entire wall of these PO boxes. This is where all of our mail arrived, all of the school announcements were stuffed and all of the anonymous love notes from secret admirers would magically materialize.
We all checked our post office boxes once a day. By “we,” I mean everyone except me. I checked my post office box every hour. I checked it before breakfast and after breakfast. I checked it before English lit and after English lit. I checked it on the way to the restroom and on the way back from the restroom.
I didn’t want to look like I was obsessively checking my post office box. That would appear too needy. So I perfected a nonchalant saunter past the PO boxes, in which I just happened to glance sideways when I came to mine. No big deal. I’m not checking my box or anything. Just walking to class.
Or, sometimes, I’d walk all the way past my box, and then pretend to be struck by a novel idea – hey, why don’t I check my box while I’m here? Save me a trip later!
Once every 38 times, there would actually be something in my box, usually a letter from Mom.
So I’m concerned that Facebook will stoke the same neurotic obsession, yet with this crucial difference: There will always be something in that box. This will result in previously unheard-of amounts of procrastination and time-wasting, not to mention creepy Facebook page lurking.
And just in case you were wondering, yes, one day I did get a love note from a secret admirer. It was cleverly disguised as a late-fee reminder from the comptroller, but still.
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