I do not have a Facebook
account. Why don't I have a Facebook
account? A couple reasons spring to mind:
* I think that it's a pathetic, average, unimaginable kind of self-portrayal.
* I do not want to give all kind of private details about my (social) life to some company with very questionable motives, let alone imprinting all that data into the internet for all eternity.
* It eats up lots of time I could spend writing blog posts that noone reads.
As a matter of fact, however, none of those
is really the reason why I don't use Facebook. My reason not to use Facebook is that it is expected of me to use it. Let me clarify: People have stopped asking "Do you have a Facebook account?" and instead, they started asking
> What's your Facebook account?
Depending on who's asking, to them, my answer sounds a bit like "Oh I'm sorry, I do not have a Telephone."
And indeed, that's a pretty good metaphor. Facebook is the best new tool of communication since mobile telephony was made available to the public. I remember when only very few people had a cellphone, because I was in elementary school then - and I had one. I got it for Christmas because I had begged and begged, I wanted no
other present, just that cellphone. It caused all kinds of problems, teachers didn't want me to bring it to school, stuff like that. Can you imagine? Nowadays, that just sounds absurd. Nowadays, everyone has a cellphone, because that technology is so convenient that we got used to it, it has become vital to our way of life. You can not exist in the digital age, without a telephone.
And Facebook is headed in the same direction - for a good reason. It's an incredibly powerful addition to existing communication, partly replacing old technology and combining others into an easily manageable framework to maintain all your social relations. And it's almost free - you are paying them with just your personal information, which they use for advertising and thelike. Frankly, I couldn't care less about that. In fact, I think that's totally fair. But at some point, it will have become socially impossible to not have a Facebook account. At that point, we have given a private company complete control over our respective social statuses. When you apply for a job, they first check your Facebook profile. When you chat up a stranger, you exchange Facebook information and that's the first they'll really know about you. Of course, Facebook wouldn't use that power to harm anyone, that'd be very bad for business. If I were Mr. Zuckerberg, I'd offer special premium Facebook profiles instead, for a certain fee of course. Let's say $10 a month and you just seem better than everyone else. Most people would get one, and at some point you just seem like a bum if you don't. So you pay the ten bucks, what the hell. And before you know it, everyone's paying Facebook fee every month. You're upset? You'd never do that? It's absurd? Well, you pay about that much for your cellphone, don't you? Nobody would refuse to use a cellphone just because he has to pay for the calls. Only, like, a crazy communist hermit bum would say such a thing.
Now, you might say, alright! Facebook is worth paying money for it. What's the problem? The problem is that Facebook is neither controlled by the government nor by the market. They have no rivals, by design. Facebook does not interact with other social networks. That's different for cellphones - you have different vendors that live in a healthy state of competition. Same holds for email, regular mail, and basically all kinds of communication. Not one of them is monopolized. If we let a company monopolize our communication, we're screwed. Now, I am not actually very afraid that this will happen in such an apocalyptic manner. Things will work out alright. But right now, I don't think that it should be expected of everyone in the whole civilized world to have an account on that website, no matter how good it is. I am making a political statement by not having a Facebook account. Me not being a very politically active person, this is one hell of a statement.