I’m being bullied to rejoin Facebook
|October 1, 2011||Posted by Sophy Bot under Internet culture, Social networks|
To Facebook or not to Facebook? That is the question, or at least it is for me right now. I quit Facebook back in April 2009 citing a variety of reasons, the undertone of which was, “I don’t like what Facebook does to communication.” Back then, I never imagined there would be a day when I would have to rejoin. But now, two and a half years later, the pressure is mounting and I’m beginning to question whether I can be a full-fledged member of modern society without caving in and reactivating my long-dormant account.
It all started a year ago when a little birdie told me, “You should write a non-fiction book,” and then proceeded to make me its personal work slave. “Research this!,” the birdie told me. “Research that!,” it said. “Now start writing!,” it told me some months later and, more recently still, “It’s time to start blogging!” With blogging came promotion, with promotion came social networking, and with social networking came – you guessed it – Facebook. Or at least it might now have to.
In the process of creating and promoting this blog, I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ll be able to continue my work without rejoining Facebook. And while I do miss some of the social aspects of the site and, considering that I tend to move to a new city every few months, it really would make it easier to stay in touch, the reasons for my current troubles are directly tied to my work life. Following are the top three barriers I am now facing because of my personal decision not to participate in Facebook, and why it is that I’m truly feeling bullied into rejoining the network.
1. There are sites I can’t comment on.
A couple of days ago, I was reading an interesting article on TechCrunch and immediately scrolled down to the comments section, only to find that the site requires you to sign into Facebook before giving your opinion. This precludes me from joining any conversation on that site or any others that, like TechCrunch, require you to sign in through the Facebook social plugin. And though I’m also given the option of logging in via Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail (who uses those anymore?), I’m not given the option to log in through any sites that I actually do use, like Google, Twitter or LinkedIn. The implied message is a bit daunting: if you’re not on Facebook, you’re not welcome here.
2. There are services I can’t sign up for.
Last week, internet music service Spotify made waves when people realized it requires a Facebook account to sign up. Sure, there are other music sites out there, but with Spotify being hailed as the best free service around, I’ll be blatant: it kinda sucks that I can’t join. Similarly, I kept on reading about group-listening service Turntable.fm this summer but, when I finally headed over to the site to check it out… you got it, Turntable.fm also requires a Facebook account. With the growing ubiquity of Facebook, I can understand why developers would rather piggyback off of its existing user base rather than create a new system, but come on. I am on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Why should I be required to use one particular social network to join, without being given the option of using another? Without the ability to join these sites, I’m completely left out of the loop, and that directly affects my business.
3. There are pages I can’t see and information I can’t get to.
As a regularly performing DJ who’s heavily hooked into the arts and music culture (not to mention the entrepreneurial networking scene), I tend to go to a lot of events. The problem is, sometimes I can’t even see what I’m invited to. More and more event organizers are using Facebook as their main avenue for posting event details and collecting RSVP lists, leaving non-Facebookers like me in the dark. And while the larger promoters tend to have dedicated pages for their events, others post absolutely no details outside of the Facebook barrier. Yet again, the implication is stark: if you’re not on Facebook, you probably shouldn’t be coming to our event anyways.
Beyond all that, there are of course a great many missed opportunities to connect with friends and to network with possible business partners, but that’s something I’ve always been willing to chalk up to my own decision to avoid the Facebook life. Unfortunately, now that I’ve launched a new blog and am beginning promotion of my forthcoming book, the business reasons to rejoin Facebook are overwhelming. So I ask you this, readers: have we reached the point of no return with Facebook? Can you still fully participate in social and entrepreneurial culture without a Facebook account? And if not, what does that mean for those of us who don’t want to join, especially in the face of increasingly stark privacy issues?
Note: It is October 10th and I am rejoining Facebook. Talk about an ideological bummer.
Image credit: birgerking
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