Monday, July 11, 2011

OK, I Guess I Need to Do This Again

A little over a year ago, I outlined what I thought was a fairly solid bit of arguing against using Facebook. I don't want pictures of myself all over the interwebs and I don't need more online time wasters. I don't want to post my "mood" or "status" and I don't want to read anyone else's. Apparently, this wasn't enough. I am still being cajoled, prodded and basically harassed about Facebook almost daily. So, I'm going to try to make this a little more clear:

I will never join Facebook. I don't care if they give out free money and sex with Sting. It isn't going to happen. Ever. I don't care if I am not cool for not joining. That actually cements my decision so you guys can stop saying it. But for those who I will end up directing here, there are several more every good reasons that I don't want to join:

*I don't want to have friendships reduced to scanning my "wall" every once in a while. I don't want to be chastised for not reading someone's latest updates. I don't want real, actual relationships to be replaced with this crap. No.

*I don't want anything that I might happen to write there to be owned by someone else. Did you know that they have, in the past, changed the rules to give themselves the copyright of anything posted on the site? I write for a living. I don't want to inadvertently write something there that I want to use and find that I can't use my own words elsewhere. I don't know whether they still claim copyright over everything their members post there, but the fact that it was done once means it can be done again. This is my living we're talking about. No thanks.

*Sites are increasingly tied to Facebook, and that worries me. I don't want everything that I do online to be the knowledge of everyone I know. Sometimes I take on kind of stupid work because it pays decently or just because it's quick and easy. Virtually anything you do online now gets posted on Facebook. That would be extremely inhibiting for me as a Web writer. I don't want to weigh every single thing I write based on whether I want my best friend from third grade to know that occassionally I write about zombie movies. It would seriously impact my bottom line.

*I really, really don't want to find my best friend from third grade. I always frame things that happen to me as stories- tales that have a beginning and an ending. The stories that I've lived through won't be the same if I know the eventual outcome of each character. Picture the gross cheerleader who made your life hell in high school. That's fodder for plenty of YA stories- at the very least it's a nice starting point that can take you in millions of different directions. Would it help if you find out that the hated cheerleader eventually became a boring middle-aged office worker in Texas with a haircut like Peggy Hill? No, it did not. I don't want any more of that, thanks. I want plenty of story fodder filled with characters who don't become middle aged and are forever the heroes and villains.

*Facebook members are free copywriters. Since I make a nice wage as a copywriter, I don't want any part of this. Did you know that if you talk about a product on Facebook, the site takes those words and uses them in ads for other members? They do. They post them as ads on the pages of your Facebook friends. That may some day expand to site-wide ads that you're essentially writing for free and without your permission. Reading about that was the absolute last straw for me.

If you're a writer you may think it's worthwhile, and that's perfectly fine, but I don't. I think it's dangerous and gross and has the potential to take away my words as well as my inspiration. But don't worry, I predict that within two years they will go the way of MySpace. Google is taking over as they have everywhere else. In two years I'll be hearing people beg me to join Google+ so that they don't have to slog through a muddy field to pick up a phone while under sniper fire or whatever the excuse is. I can't promise anything.


Bailey said...

It is nice to know I am not alone. It is amazing how many people cannot or will not accept the choice not to join.

L. Shepherd said...

It really is. It must have some type of addictive qualities that is driving people nuts. Of course, video games are addictive but no one freaks out if you don't play them. I don't know what the deal with Facebook is.

Funny about Money said...

Thank you!

I feel the same way about Twitter, too.

Yes, I do understand that I'm losing a lot of business because I don't advertise The Copyeditor's Desk or any of my own works on social media. But Facebook gives me the willies. Because my choir established a site and asked people to join up, I created a Facebook presence for myself, setting up something for my personal finance blog that magically broadcasts every post to the universe. But I can't bring myself to go there every day and "interact" (give me a break!) with "friends." And if a site requires that comments run through FB, I refrain from commenting.

"Gross" is the word for it, all right.

ravingvisionary said...

I just wanted to let you know that firstly, I really like your blog. I'm always looking for witty and intelligent people that share my love of writing.
Secondly, I have a Facebook and now I'm officially terrified to use it, and glad I've never posted any of my writing there. If they are still doing the copyright thing, it gives me pause about using the service.

L. Shepherd said...

I'm not sure if they still are, but the fact that they snuck that into the TOS without notifying anything worries me. If they've taken that out now, they could put it back in tomorrow.

Rebecca said...

I used fb for a while and had gotten tired of all the drama and all the stuff you listed in the article. I decided that if anyone wanted to talk to me they could text me, email me or if worse comes to worse call me. I emailed the few people I have known for a while that were on fb that I cared to stay in contact with that I was leaving, why, and how to get a hold of me including my blog.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one either tired of FB or never going to touch it.