Dear Non-Facebook User,
I completely respect that you don’t wish to use Facebook. I am pro-heterogeneity. For the same reasons we should be wary of monocultures on farms, I think society is generally well-served by not having everyone using exactly the same software/systems.
I am happy for people to consider the facts, to factor in their personal preferences and circumstances and to come to different decisions about what software to use.
However, if you are going to share with me your reasons for avoiding Facebook, they should at least be sensible ones.
Let me help.
- Bad reason: I am a parent worried about paedophiles. I don’t think children are safe on Facebook.
That’s a reason for children not to be on Facebook, not for you.
- Good reason: I am a child, and my parent is worried about paedophiles and my ability to interact safely on the net.
- Good reason: I don’t have time.
- Good reason: My dislike for targetted adverts outweighs the perceived benefits of the service being offered.
- Good reason: My personality means I get more enjoyment from bucking a trend, even if I lose out on some benefits.
- Bad reason: I speak to my best friends all the time by phone.
Facebook offers benefits for interacting with people who aren’t your best friends.
- Bad reason: Facebook is making too much money; I should get some of it.
If Facebook is offering you a worthwhile service to you, the amount they make behind the scenes is irrelevant for your rational choice to take up the service.
- Good reason: I get too many chain-mail-style messages (including hoaxes) and other low-value crapola from my so-called “friends”.
- Bad reason: I don’t like the idea of Facebook using my Hotmail/Gmail password to scrape info.
Don’t give it then.
- Bad reason: I don’t want strangers looking at photos I’ve taken.
Don’t put them up then, or restrict the access.
- Bad reason: I don’t want strangers looking at photos of me that other people have taken.
I’ve got some bad news. The photos are up there anyway, even if you don’t log into Facebook.
- Good reason: I am in the witness relocation program.
- Good reason: I am a bigamist.
- Good reason: My ex gets jealous and is rude to my new friends.
- Good reason: I am George Costanza, and I don’t want my worlds to collide.
- Bad reason: I am generally unhappy with the privacy issues.
When I ask people for details here, they vague out. I am still waiting for a realistic example of their concerns.
- Good reason: I don’t trust the Facebook people to stick to the privacy agreement.
There! Now you can have a rational reason for declining to use Facebook.
[Update: Added numbering, event though it makes the formatting uglier, to aid discussion.]