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Written By: Kate F. on November 19, 2008 3 Comments

In the past few months, I’ve begun to think of myself as truly Facebook-phobic. Usree’s self-proclaimed fascination with – and consequent dependency on – Facebook, as explained in her June 9, 2008 posting is even more evidence of the fact that I am, apparently, woefully behind the times and very much in the minority when it comes to participating in social networking sites like Facebook. While I’d like to think that my hesitancy is justified – a fear that I might, in the tradition of many Facebook users, grow addicted to the site and neglect my work, perhaps – I know that this is not the case. My refusal to join Facebook has deeper roots.

Generally speaking, I am not a technologically averse person. In fact, when it comes to every-day computer use, I consider myself fairly capable. Retrieving information, corresponding with others, and even banking all occur naturally online for me now. So, given my ease as an Internet user in most scenarios, what makes me so wary of Facebook?

In pondering this question recently, I’ve come to realize that my wariness of Facebook is actually a symptom of a much larger problem. That is, I am hesitant – often flat out unwilling – to represent myself in online public forums. I’ve heard the argument – Facebook is private; it’s closed to anyone who is not your friend; since you control who is your friend, you also control who has access to your site – but somehow these assurances are not enough to convince me to represent myself through an online identity, an identity that others – even if they are my friends – may access and peruse at will. My (perhaps irrational) feelings toward Facebook extend to other online venues as well – blogs, for example. Shockingly, this post is the very first time I have ever considered – much less followed through with – the idea of posting to a blog. In fact, as I write this, I’m still not sure whether or not I will actually post it. But, I figure I have to start somewhere, and what better subject for my first post than a reflection on my own phobias when it comes to the online representations of self.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience what it might be like to join a social networking site. For a class presentation I prepared with another classmate – on the subject of New Media, of all things! – we (well, she) created a closed online networking site for our class. In this relatively safe environment, I had a chance to experiment with the wonders of online identity representation… and I kind of enjoyed it. Who knows, perhaps this recent experience, combined with my pending decision to post my thoughts on a blog for the first time, will be revelatory. I might yet muster the courage to enter the realm of Facebook. Then again, I might not.

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3 Responses to “Facebook-phobic”

  1. Youki on: 19 November 2008 at 11:04 pm

    I agree! My first blog post ever was on FIT, and I’m not part of any social networking sites, but I do consider myself pretty comfortable with using technology. There’s definitely something different about being a user of technology and being a member of an online group. Both are related, and comfort with one doesn’t necessarily mean comfort with the other.

  2. katie_k on: 20 November 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Though I am a member of Facebook, FIT was also the first blog I ever posted to, and I found (and still find) it scarier to put something up here than to have a Facebook profile. Here, people might actually READ what I wrote, comment on it, THINK about it, whereas I get the impression that not even my close friends actually look at what I have on Facebook. This means that what I write here has to actually be worth reading, whereas Facebook doesn’t really matter in that way.

  3. daveski on: 20 November 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Cool post. And congratulations on hitting that “Publish” button!

    I’ve been a slow learning on Facebook too. It’s funny, there are many things that I now WILL do on Facebook and many things that I WON’T. I’m probably about 2 years behind the curve. Or, like Usree wrote on her post, somewhere between a stage 1 and stage 2 user.

    I wonder, would this site be more or less intimidating with more personal info (self-intro, profile pic of some sort, favorite books & movies etc.) viewable?

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