Unliking Facebook, part II

Last night my two daughters and their friend (all home from college) were decorating Christmas cookies at our house. I recently blogged about how my youngest daughter had deleted her Facebook page. Coincidently, my older daughter and her friend had also deleted theirs. So, I asked them why they had become Facebook resisters. Since they had all done it independently of one another, I wonder if this is becoming a trend.

All of them said they had privacy issues with Facebook. My youngest daughter said she hated the ads, and they all agreed that it was a time waster. I said that Facebook makes me feel anxious, and my daughters’ friend said she felt the same way.

I wondered if they had gotten any negative reactions from friends for being more difficult to contact, and they all said the reactions were overwhelmingly positive — at least among their real friends, not the Facebook variety. There’s a certain gutsiness to retreating back into anonymity that their friends admire.

But what about the group invitations? The college gatherings? Did they feel left out, that maybe they were missing out? No. In fact, that seemed to be one of the reasons they DIDN’T like Facebook — to quote one of them, “That’s all it was — being invited to a bunch of superficial things. Things that I want to go to will be things with my real friends.” They said they now get more phone calls, have more real conversations and more substance in their interactions with people. And there’s always email.

All three said that they didn’t see the point in having friends on Facebook that they really had no interest in talking to in real life. The ease at which people can “create” an image of themselves on Facebook was disturbing to them as well.

My daughters’ friend said she’ll miss some of the cool stuff like videos that people posted on her Facebook, but she said that they can always email her.

Will this become a trend? With billions of users, I seriously doubt that Facebook will go away; however, I did read recently that Mark Zuckerberg was trying to think of new ways to entice people to join and to stay.

I don’t know. With all the sturm und drang over young people being too tied to their electronic gadgets at the expense of real connections, it appears that some of them are choosing more authentic ways to communicate. And maybe that’s the allure of Facebook — it promises easy social connections, something we all desire. On the downside, Facebook also gives us the power to edit out the messiness of real relationships. As a parent, I’m glad that my daughters and their friends are thinking seriously about the kinds of friendships they want to build.

Categories: Editor’s Blog