I need a new word

Photo via Google

Photo via Google

A word meaning “I’m not on Facebook”.  First of all the phrase is cumbersome and it’s worded in the negative, something I try to avoid when talking about myself.  Also, after reading this article it seems that we need a positive spin on opting out of this particular form of social media.  Today Facebook is so commonplace, indeed my 70-something parents have opted in, that if you refrain there MUST be a reason, now it seems that reason MIGHT (probably) have a little deviance attached.  A sketchy past, running from the law, introvert gone overboard, who knows WHAT?!?!?!

While I find this kind of logic concerning, I can’t help marvel at the progression of this media.  Four years ago if I mentioned I wasn’t on Facebook, I was hit with two responses.  1.  You’ve got to it’s so fun, I’ve reconnected with so many people, the picture sharing alone!  2.  Yeah, it’s kind of a time suck, I can jump on and next time I look up 2 hours have passed.

Both responses four years ago were about the Facebook user but today when I mention that I’m not on Facebook, 90% of the time I get this response.  “Oh….why not?”  Now, it’s about me and I’m in the position of defending my position of opting out.  I have noted a bit of hostility creeping in from those who don’t want to have to worry about protecting their choices regarding social media.  It’s not unlike when you fall into a conversation about eating healthfully with someone who regularly chooses soda and fast food.   Translation, they don’t really want to hear it.

It’s not like I’ve set-out to make a stand against Facebook, or social media – I DO blog, that’s something right?  But is it like this article said, I’ve got poor “digital manners”.  Many friends have suggested the generic profile set-up, high privacy settings and the like, but I’m not sure I’ve got the discipline to adhere to my own boundaries, especially after reading this and learning I’ve probably got some Facebook “friends” waiting for me.  Then there are the scary points made in this article where I and other opt-outers could be dismissed as “unknown quantities”.  I’ve got children, I can’t be an unknown quantity!  I’m big on teaching them to “use their voice” – right now social media is the acceptable platform for EVERYONE who feels they have something to say (worthy or not).   By acting like a cyber wallflower I could be giving up my power to make a difference without even realizing it.  If you google this topic, it seems opting out is akin to those who said they’d never use email.  Basically, I won’t really have a choice if I want to participate in the world at large.  So it seems I might not need a new word after all, this is like a whole new form of cyber bullying, like a cyber tidal wave….cyber assimilation.  Maybe I need a new word for THAT.

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One Comment on “I need a new word”

  1. Jennifer Cason says:

    There are these judgmental layers surrounding Facebook. As a Facebook enthusiast I have received more than my fair share of remarks from people who actually joined Facebook: “But it’s such a waste of my time I’m never on it. I have better things to do like be outside.” So, what these kinds of statements suggest is that A) I’m always on Facebook. B) I have nothing better to do. C) I never go outside, because I’m to busy staring at the computer and stalking friends. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a waste of time, but what I say to those kinds of jabs is that it’s how I choose to waste my time. Some people play video games, some watch football. When I got home from work 10 years ago I’d flop on the couch and watch reruns of Seinfeld and Friends. Now I flop down for 15 minutes and read Facebook. Pretty much a lateral step, but something my mind does to relax.
    I respect and admire people who don’t need social media to fulfill their days. Just as I respect and admire those who don’t need TV, even though I really like both things. Unfortunately like you said, a lot of folks are more prone to casting someone in a some kind of deviant or antisocial light for opting out of the mainstream trends. I’ve practically been shouted at for not watching Walking Dead or Breaking Bad. Why? Who cares? Like always, we humans seek validation and comfort in feeling like we’re making the right choices and engaging in the right activities. When we’re faced with someone who thinks differently it forces us to face our own doubts and insecurities about how we live. When the Mom who feeds her kids chips is faced with the Mom who opts for baby carrots she might label that Mom a hippie rather than reflect on the possibilities that perhaps she’s not making the best choices for her kids. It’s easier to label, and unfortunately we live in a labeling world.
    For the record, I’ve also been asked by people why you’re not on facebook. I tell them that you enjoy your privacy. Usually the response it something like a head nod, and a “cool.” See? You’re cool! XO


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