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I SO know what you mean about the incredulous looks you get when you tell someone you're not on FB!! And some people have gotten downright nasty about it ~ "I thought you were a friend!!"

I can't say I hate it, because I've never been on it... and I have no intention of ever signing up for it.

I can think of much better ways to waste my time!!

I thnk you've covered some great points - many of which I've considered as well. I do have a Facebook account. I largely view it as an extension of my email inbox and only check it once a day (if that!) We have long distance relatives and close friends, so it is nice to be able to give/get an all covering update from time-to-time.

That being said, I have not made a point to add friends to my account for the sake of adding them. For the most part, all of my 'friends' are people that I'd hang out with if I had the chance - not just someone 'I knew or met once or way back when'. On occasion, I'll get a friend request from someone that I probably wouldn't pursue on my own and to be polite I'll add them, but every few months I edit my friends list. My husband has a personal rule not to have more than 100.

That helps to simplify my experience and focus on more of the GOOD aspects for sure.

Good for you for sticking to your guns!

I don't have a facebook account either, and people have exactly that reaction when I say that ahah

I think it could be a nuisance, I already am in contact with those I need to, and fortunately I live in the same city of all of them!
plus, I am a jelaous kind of person, and I often hold a grudge against my fiance if pretty girls add him as a contact (stupid, I know, but it's stronger than me ahah)

But sometimes it could be really useful, for example to be aware of social initiatives near where I live
for this purpose also mailing lists are working well, exept for the condivision of pictures and contents, for those kind of things facebook could be really nice! (I participate to an antiracist project, a popolar gym where sport is used as a medium to connect people, and there are often nice initiatives that is beautiful to condivide)

Facebook can also be an incredibly distracting from work you should be doing. It's so easy to pull up another screen and spend an hour on Facebook wasting time.

Also, you mentioning keeping up with exes is huge. I can't believe how people will say they want to move forward, but will not stop getting in their business.

Great post and thanks for sharing.

I still use Facebook, but I've done everything to maximize only the good parts-- I don't actually share much about myself, but use it as a vessel to contact people I otherwise couldn't, keep connections with people from long ago or far away (or to find long lost friends!), and am very picky with who I add as my friend. Plus, when I'm in a foreign country and my cell phone doesn't work, Facebook is a great alternative to keep in touch and even to arrange meetings (who emails anymore! haha.. usually the friends I have on Facebook whom I contact via email never reply). Some people even check Facebook more than their phones so it's also a faster way of communicating.

However, the privacy thing I have a big issue with-- Facebook, for instance, owns all the pictures you upload, even ones you delete. All in all I don't actually love Facebook (and may even think it's a little evil), but it's a very convenient vessel.

I put away the Facebook all the time for face to face action. Thats where the experience is. That's where living lies. That is where life becomes more than just a mundane ritual rather than an inbox or voice mail check ups. It talking about getting out and getting to know people. That's whats life is about.

But even thought I just went on a rant. I love Facebook....lol.

Its a catch 22 guy. Great post Dani.

I officially "signed off" from Facebook six months ago, and I've never looked back. It was the best decision I made. There are many reason as to why I made my decision and you have covered most of them. Primarily though, I was tired of the negativity.

I couldn't stand people posting negative status updates every time they had a fight with their spouse, bf, or gf. I was tired of people comparing their life's to others; seeing if they measured up. Who had the best house, car, or job. It was annoying. I decided it was much more superficial and toxic than people want to admit it is.

I don't use Facebook either and I also get the looks of horror because I'm not on it. But my private life is private, I have no wish to share it with the world. And I have moved house twice in order to escape a violent ex partner. Why on earth would I put my safety at risk to show off to the world how good my life is now? I also think it is very sad that people are communicating online instead of face to face. Will virtual friends pop in for a cuppa and a chat? We need face to face interaction, that's what makes us human.

Facebook sure is a game changer. I was surprised how many people would send email on Facebook, that wouldn't use other email systems.

I know people who have more than one account and keep one for their public persona and one for their family and close friends. I have noticed that many people share way too much personal information on Facebook and I can't help but cringe at the thought of a perspective employer or something seeing it. I've also seen on the news how divorce/civil attorneys and law enforcement get a lot of damaging information off of Facebook so you really need to be careful when sharing (especially if you are up to no good). I guess you shouldn't post pictures of yourself water skiing when you've collected money from a workers comp claim.
That being said, you do have control over what you decide to post, and as long as you're thoughtful about it, it shouldn't be a problem. I'm a very private person who doesn't do much socializing and I love interacting online with my friends. I can't get out much and it's a great substitute. It is addicting and I will make myself get off after a certain amount of time. I must say sometimes I really look forward to catching up with everyone at the end of the day. My power was out last week for 24 hours and I went through some Facebook withdrawal.

What a great topic. My experience with FB was exactly the same as yours - I briefly had an account, and then I deactivated it. I initiated it in the first place because, having lived on several continents, I have friends who live elsewhere. Even given that, I realized, just like you, that I prefer to put in individual effort with the people I care about. I call them. I email them. I see them when I can. I send them things that I've made. For me the most important thing in life is to connect in a deep, personal way. I believe in taking things slowly and in putting the best of who I am into all of the relationships that are important to me. As a result, FB definitely isn't my style. Thanks for the topic!!

Hello,

When I first joined facebook, I did go through a stage of being addicted - not good! I wasted a shed load of time looking at randon people I hadn't seen for years, wondering who had got fat, who was married, who had moved to the North Pole etc etc etc. Then I realised I really didn't care! If I had wanted to stay in touch with these people I would have done.
I do still have a facebook account and it is great for photo's, arranging social events and such like, but I probably check it once a week or so......and that is plenty.

Best wishes,
Kate

Bobbie - It is pretty crazy how people look at you when you say you're not on FB. I know it's a great thing for some people, but sometimes the reactions I get to not being on it are downright negative! Good for you for sticking to your guns and staying off the site if that's what's best for you.

Heidi - To me it sounds like you've really got the FB thing down. Using it infrequently so as not to develop an addiction to it and editing your friends often is a great way to keep FB a positive force in your life. So many people get carried away with it, but it really sounds like you have a good balance going!

Sara - It sounds like you and I have similar experiences with FB. In general, we have the ability to connect with all of the people we need to so there's really not a great need for it. However, you make a great point about social connections. Sometimes I do think I'm missing out on the value of connecting to social activities via FB. (Awesome that you're part of an anti-racist project! Very positive!)

Joshua - FB is absolutely a huge distraction for a lot of people (another negative!), and it can be really hard for people to get work done when they have FB (which, I suppose, is why a lot of companies block it at the office). Thanks for the comment!

Sui - Good for you, maximizing the best parts of FB! It can be a challenge to do this, but it seems like you've got it down. It sounds like you really take advantage of the positive aspects of the site, which is great. I agree that the privacy thing is a big negative, but, for many, that negative is outweighed by all of the positive benefits of being on FB.

Jonathan - That's great! So many people are unable to put away FB (or their online activities in general) in favor of spending quality time with others. I think it's really about balance. You can have (and love!) FB if you also have and enjoy activities that don't involve FB.

Veronica - It's true that there are some very toxic and negative aspects to FB, and there are many people online who spend a great deal of time complaining and being super negative. It's important to get rid of negativity whenever you can so good for you for signing off. Welcome to the Facebook-less club!

Jules - Isn't it amazing the looks people will give you when you say you don't have FB? It's become such an expectation in our culture (which is actually quite interesting if you think about it...) and most people don't stop to consider the potential for very serious consequences of privacy being violated online. Good for you for keeping yourself safe!

J.D. - Absolutely. It's such an interesting phenomenon. Like it or hate it, it's changing the game of online communication, which raises the question: What does this mean for people who don't have Facebook?

Karen - Like you, I'm often shocked at some of the information people will post online. I'm extremely private and wouldn't want any of my information to be floating around like that, but so many people are perfectly fine with it. (And, as you noted, some of those people will suffer the consequences in the future). You bring up a great point about controlling what you post. As long as you are careful and thoughtful about what you put online and limit your time spent on FB to a reasonable amount, the site can be a very positive experience. (My power was out last week too and I was missing some of my favorite sites too!)

Steph - Thanks! It sounds like we're on the same page when it comes to FB. At first, it seems like a great idea. Why wouldn't you want to keep in touch with people far away? But then some of the negative aspects kick in and you realize that there are other ways to keep in touch that don't require FB. I'm glad you could relate to where I stand on this topic!

Kate - So many people, like you did at first, can become addicted to Facebook (or any online site for that matter) and it can be such a time suck on their lives. It sounds like you came to a good realization that you didn't need to dwell on the info of people from the past and instead chose to focus on those that matter to you. Sounds like you're making the most of FB!

This is a great post, very well written and you cover some excellent points!

Kat - Thanks so much. I'm glad you liked the post!

I personally have a Facebook account and while I find that I can waste time there, I don't usually do so. However, one huge facet I see missing from your post and from the comments added thereafter, is the opportunity to spread a message. I post mostly inspirational quotes, loving messages, and upbeat statuses. I hide but do not defriend anyone that tends to bring me down with negative and/or hateful statuses or posts.

Another very important aspect of Facebook is that I have "liked" a lot of pages that have meaningful substance on a regular basis - Urban Homesteaders; 100% Natural Family; Eating Well; etc. These pages daily post statuses of interest to me. I get recipes, environmentally friendly tips, spiritual uplifting.

I find a lot of people that do not have Facebook are kind of pious about it...like they are too good to be "wasting" their time with such nonsense. As is ANY facet of our lives whether it is positive or negative is ultimately up to you. If Facebook IS a negative influence in your life and creates a fear of sharing too much or privacy invasion, then it probably is a good idea for you to avoid it. I personally think there are tons of reasons, good positive reasons to participate.

Recently, our community was named the Fattest City in the United States...it was really a negative downer for so many of us. I noticed that people on Facebook began to respond, a Fitness program for the City appeared on Facebook with many followers. Also, Dreyers sponsors a contest to plant an Orchard in a community based on votes. Facebook followers in the community began to post and link and share and guess what? Our Botanical Gardens now has won a fruit orchard to be planted and paid for by Dreyers.

Prayers for people are linked and shared and linked and shared. For years, Christians have relied upon intercessary prayer to ask for healing for the sick, what better way to spread a prayer for someone than to have people you don't even KNOW praying for you.

So, while I respect your right to not have a Facebook account, it isn't all about photos, party night and non-worthy events. There are some very compelling reasons to be a part of this social network.

Thank you for asking!

Sorry - but one more aspect that isn't about me, but is about someone dear to me is my mom. You mentioned "even my mom" has a FB page. Well, my mom has a lifeline with Facebook...many people that were a very positive force in all of her life have come back into her life through Facebook. She spends a lot of time during the day on it, but she doesn't get out that much anyway so it is a lifeline for her. Also, she has recently been diagnosed with throat cancer and it is so critically important to her that all of these "friends" bless her, pray for her, offer her encouragement. So, the Facebook generation isn't all about silly social networking. In some cases, it has replaced the phone and the TVs as a way for elderly (and especially homebound) people to have outside interaction.

Sorry...for the two posts, but I did think these were important aspects of Facebook that can be a very positive presence in someone's life.

I have a facebook, but i found it to be very addictive...so my solution was to deactivate my account. To "delete" it temporarily. While no one can view your profile/search you while deactivated. But once you log in it goes back to the way you left it. I find this great, deactivation for a month or however long, is a wonderful solution and I find it helpful. Im out doing better things then being behind my computer. In a little while i'll go back hopefully not to be an addiction once again. :)

Vicki - Thank you so much for your comments! You've made some really great points about the positive aspects of Facebook and I completely agree that it is a great way to spread a positive message. And, as you said, Facebook, like so many aspects of life, can be positive OR negative. It's completely up to you how you choose to use FB as a resource. You've also brought up a great point about how your mom has benefitted positively from having a FB account. That's a great point about how social media sites like FB can provide great social support. Thanks so much for your feedback. You raised some excellent points in your comment!

Veronika - That's a very positive way to look at the deactivation feature. You can leave your account alone for awhile and no one can contact you, but then you can go back to it if you want to. I never thought about it in that way before, but that's a good way to look at it!

I used to have a facebook account until I deactivated it few months ago. Like you, I didnt want my "friends" to know what I was up to and couldn't care less what they were up to either. I have to admit, my life was better off without my 200++ friends and their updates.

However, my close friends went nuts when I told them that I was off facebook and they kept insisting me to be back on facebook.

So now, I am back on facebook, but I am very much happy with my 23 friends. =)

that's a great post :)
let me add one of the bad points, you check it every now and then expecting a new message or a comment and when you dont find it you get disappointed

Fariza - It sounds like you made a great compromise -- creating a Facebook account with a specific number of people that are important to you. That's a great idea for anyone who feels overwhelmed by Facebook!

Farouk - Thank you! That's a really great addition to the list. Many people are hopeful for specific messages or comments and feel very let down when they don't receive them. That's definitely a negative aspect of the site.

I think it's all in how you use it. Facebook has been positive for me because I make it work for me. I'm chronically ill which means I'm stuck at home a lot. It lets me keep up with the people I care about and it's also super useful when I'm planning get-togethers. In fact I've been using it to plan a little party for some close friends at the end of the month. I don't know if I would be able to contact everyone and get all of the necessary details to them as easily without it. It's also really useful for keeping up with stuff going on around my area. I've "liked" lots of art galleries and museums and theaters so I can stay up to date with different exhibits and things. It's been a great tool.

I don't have a FB page. I do have a Twitter thing but don't use it very much. It just seems superfluous when I can write on a blog.

Cassandra - I agree. The use of FB is really what's key. Some people can have a very positive experience with it and get a great deal out of it, while others take it to a level that is unhealthy. Sounds like you've been using it the right way and have gotten a lot out of it!

Syd - When you have a blog or another form of communicating with others and sharing your ideas, it can seem excessive to have a FB page. Like you, I have Twitter and a blog and I'm pretty happy to just have those two.

I have a Facebook and for a time there, I was WAY too addicted to those games, like Farmville and Cafe World. It was so bad, I was setting reminders on my phone for when I needed to harvest my crops or serve my dish. Pathetic. I then spent a month in Norway and didnt miss them at all. I havent gone back. However, I do still have my FB account for those people I want to keep in touch with. But I do have many on there that I need to delete. My 10 yr HS reunion is coming up and therefore I was getting requests from all sorts of HS classmates, most of which I never hung out with in HS. So I will be deleting them and also the people I have added that never comment or write...whats the point. One thing I can add thats negative about it is when I am feeling depressed, and I go and check FB and see how "amazing" my friends life is, what they just did that sounded fun or how lucky they are, etc, it brings me even more down. I have a tendency to compare myself to others, which is stupid and not positive, and this social media is my enemy in that regard! And let's face it, most people will post only when the good things are happening anyways, unless they want some sort of pity party. They really are only showing one side of the coin. Thanks for the post!

Anjipants - Thanks so much for sharing your Facebook experience with us here in the comments! It sounds like you've taken what was once a negative situation and made it a positive one in many regards by getting rid of aspects of FB that aren't positive for you. The comparison thing can definitely be complicated and it can be hard to cope with the apparent good fortune of others when you're feeling down. When I find myself comparing, I always say to myself, "Worry about you." There's nothing you can control when it comes to the lives of other people, but you CAN control your own life and work on making it a life that you're positive and excited about. Thanks for the comment!

Well you certainly have covered lots of bad points about facebook, I refuse to be apart of it, but once the curiosity did get to me so I had a go on my husbands page, after I started to suspect he was messing around. I deciphered his password straight away, this very stupid cowardly man uses the same for everything, and there before my eyes I found text messages between this woman and my husband...the very same woman that he allowed me to quite willingly befriend, I shall not go into the contents but I was and still am sick at the thought that this was going on behind my back. For a short time I kept quiet that is until last Sunday her husband threw her out and my stupid husband tried to move her in with me complete with her 3 dogs! My husband officially left me on Monday, both of them are still denying any affair, but thanks to my computer cunning I have all the evidence I need. So facebook created a monster, an online sexual preditor and has ruined a marriage of 14 years....I am gutted

Helen - I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like, in your case, there have been some seriously negative aspects of life associated with Facebook. I believe there are good things and bad things relating to the site (and all social media sites), but there is an element of disguise and deceit that can often occur online. Again, I'm sorry you're going through this right now. I hope you do what you can to stay positive and, hard as it might be, look for the good in the situation.

Thank you very much for sharing all of this wonderful information. Your points are completely correct. Also, it is good that you keep out of the "temptation".

Sandra - You're welcome! I'm happy you enjoyed this post. I've recently joined Facebook -- as Positively Present, not personally, though they are intertwined in some ways -- but I've still kept my distance from it for the most part. Still staying away from temptation!

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