I don’t have a Facebook account. Considering that half a billion people do, that makes me pretty strange indeed, especially among my group of decidedly tech-savvy friends and acquaintances. Once upon a time, my reasoning for closing my account seemed pretty solid. I was worried about the privacy implications of a site that is constantly changing its terms of service and actively working to make it hard for people to hide their information from its real customers, the advertisers who pay for access to users’ information.
Since then however, I’ve become a huge proponent of Twitter, kept up my own website here, written extensively over at The Linux Experiment, and started a podcast with a few friends called SlightlySauced. I may indeed be guilty of oversharing, and my original reasons for leaving Facebook now sound silly, considering how much content I create for the Internet without the help of the online social network.
Just to poke fun at me, a good friend of mine recently re-wrote one of my favourite Onion News articles, Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn’t Have a Television, supplanting my name and vitriol for Facebook for the original article’s content. It’s pretty funny, so I decided that I’d share it here:
WATERLOO, ON–Area resident Jonathan Fritz does not have a Facebook account, a fact he repeatedly points out to friends, family, and coworkers–as well as to his mail carrier, neighborhood convenience-store clerks, and the woman who cleans the hallways in his apartment building.“I, personally, would rather spend my time doing something useful than playing Farmville,” Fritz told a random woman Monday at Wilfrid Laurier University, noticing the distinctive blue layout of the site on her laptop. “I don’t even have [an account].”According to Tyler Burton, a roommate of Fritz at Richmond Square, a Waterloo apartment complex, Fritz steers the conversation toward Facebook whenever possible, just so he can mention not having an active profile.“A few days ago, Kayla [Orr] was saying her new contacts were bothering her,” Burton said. “The second she said that, I knew Jonathan would pounce. He was like, ‘I didn’t know you had contacts, Kayla. Are your eyes bad? That a shame. I’m really lucky to have almost perfect vision. I’m guessing it’s because I don’t stare at Facebook. In fact, I don’t even have an account.”According to Burton, “Stalkbook” is Fritz’s favorite derogatory term for the social networking site.“He uses that one a lot,” he said. “But he’s got other ones, too, like ‘Zuckerberg the weasel’ and ‘waste of time.’”Burton said Fritz always makes sure to read the copies of The Cord lying around their apartment, “just so he can point out all the Facebook groups he’s never heard of.”“Last week, in one of the papers, there was an invitation to a group supporting improvements to the pool,” Burton said, “and Jonathan announced, ‘I have absolutely no idea what this issue is all about. Crumbling structure? Am I supposed to have heard of it? I’m sorry, but I haven’t.’”Dave Lahn, who lives in an apartment several floors below Fritz’s and occasionally chats with the 23-year-old by the mailboxes, is well aware of his neighbor’s disdain for Facebook.“About a week ago, we were talking, and I made some kind of profile picture reference,” Lahn said. “He asked me what I was talking about, and when I told him it was from Facebook, he just went off, saying how the last time he looked at the site there was some group supporting fair copyright, and even then, he could only read for about two minutes before having to go to Michael Geist because it insulted his intelligence so terribly.”Added Lahn: “Once, I made the mistake of saying I saw something on the news feed, and he started in with, ‘Saw the news feed? I don’t know about you, but I read Digg.”Fritz has lived without Facebook since 2008, when it kicked his dog or something.“When I learned about the Canadian privacy commissioner’s investigation, the profile got deleted,” Fritz said. “But instead of just going back and reactivating it–which I certainly could have done, that wasn’t the issue–I decided to stand up to Zuckerberg, that weasel.”“I’m not an elitist,” Fritz said. “It’s just that I’d much rather tweet or write on my blog or record a podcast than sit there passively staring at some eternally boring party pictures.”“If I need a fix of lame interactions with so-called ‘friends’, I’ll go and do it in real life,” Fritz said. “I certainly wouldn’t waste my time perusing the so-called Mini-Feed or, God forbid, any of the mind sewage the Zynga idiots pump out.”Continued Fritz: “People don’t realize just how much time their Facebook-using habit–or, shall I say, addiction–eats up. Four hours of Facebook a day, over the course of a month, adds up to 120 hours. That’s five entire days! Why not spend that time living your own life, instead of watching fictional people live theirs? I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am not to have a Facebook account.”