Proper Facebook Etiquette

#730 Friends not on Facebook

Friday 27th March, 2009

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How do friends know they don’t want to be on Facebook when they haven’t even tried it?

I don’t know when it happened, but it has, now it is considered ‘good social measure’ that you, everyone and myself included is either on Facebook or should be on Facebook. So friends are telling their friends that they must be socially networked or risk being ‘nothing at all’ as one of my friends helpfully suggested whilst trying to convince another member of our group to sign up.

This change took place like an Operation Stealth – almost whilst we were sleeping. Once the students were assumed to be fully networked up, so too the masses were convinced to converge in the same social space.

In terms of etiquette you question poses a more pertinent point about how people may have been caught unawares of the infiltration of Facebook into their, if not their friends, everyday social lives, or they have chosen to acknowledge this encroachment through a steadfast disregard. Part of me wants to applaud such action. Yes you the non-Facebook user, stay away. Stay out of the network! The other side wants to lead them (gently) by the hand and introduce the delights of ‘real time’ social pokes, jokes and wall posts.

These observations come in the same week when, once again, a message from ‘that nice Mr Zuckerberg’ greeted the top of my newsfeed and informed how my actions would be posted to friends and then cross posted into other networks etc. etc. etc. Yes I’ve heard all this before. And whilst as a ‘productive’ social citizen it is nice to be informed of such updates, presently I’ve been thinking this is less about information for the sake of informing and more about reputation. Reputation; in order for Facebook to ‘protect’ the sheer scale of personal data and cross posting that it has on You, as well as cultivating reputation for the introduction of new and novel social delights that are broadcast across the site.

So not to undermine your friends stand, perhaps you should respect their subtle stance to ‘make people social network less’ and demand an increased voice-to-voice and face-to-face time with you.

Of course to be a part of a friendship group who are ‘all Facebook users’ against one individual who is not does highlight a possible selfishness on their part. Again one could admire such action. Facebook itself ‘naturally’ encourages one and all to be connected (just click through on the ‘friends you may know’ tab to reveal, well ‘friends’ you may, or may not, want to know…) It is likely that your friend is unconvincing in their claim to have a deliberate state of social exclusion. Of course they want to know what you’re up to, just not over Facebook.

Do Facebook friends ever say,
‘Oh, yes please, tell me all about you, for every second of every day. I’ll read your newsfeed and we can pretend we’re joshing as we would in the pub by posting on each other’s Wall’s.’
Facebook seems to be promoting a kind of social freedom based on personal choice (to be part of a network or not) and, by doing so, is making it possible for those who decide not to network to appear as strange, deviant even. This stance does seem rather authoritarian when you take into account that perhaps your friend’s non-Facebook preference is perhaps a response to your Facebook nagging.
‘Are you on Facebook yet, are you on facebook yet’
(sound familiar?)
In fact in some small (unintentional) way your emphasis on networking, for the sake of networking may have resulted in their decision to oppose exactly that.

Facebook can be joined by anyone with a carefree network abandon. With social networks now such an influential and significant part of our daily activities perhaps we should applaud those who remain on the outside, even if we know (deep down) that they will waver and weaken. And then one day we shall receive that Friend Request and click ‘Accept’…

2 Responses to “#730 Friends not on Facebook”

  1. Stats IT says:

    most excellent Facebook blog!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Out for Easter :)
    But I hate Facebook posers who will be busy on about what great time they are having – when I know some of them will be stuck with essays that they should have done before and not doing what they are pretending to do!!!!!!

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