WHAT ARE YOU, A SOCIAL MEDIA QUITTER??
February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments
The Atlantic just published an article about the dangers of quitting social media, and I don’t know you guys! Authors Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger are ostensibly talking about social media generally, and “sites like Facebook” in particular (sites like Facebook? What other site is like Facebook); their basic point –at least, their lede– is that “sites like Facebook” (Facebook?) is/are necessary to “self-expression, personal growth, learning, support, and civic exchange.” Because self-expression, personal growth, learning, support, and civic exchange online is apparently only possible on “sites like Facebook,” a person’s decision to opt out risks denying THE YOUTH –as well as “the struggling, the lonely, the curious, the caring, and the collaborative”– an opportunity to express themselves (and apparently the opportunity to fall into a pit of despair and self-loathing, a point addressed in another Atlantic article from May of 2012).
There’s also stuff about how, hey, your information might end up on Facebook anyway, and if we all decide to leave social media every time we’re worried about privacy we’ll NEVER figure out how much privacy is enough privacy, and how do you know that the alternatives to existing social media won’t be worse, and Google is already keeping tabs on everyone, so you might as well stop worrying and learn to love the poke.
Here’s my take: contrary to what the authors seem to suggest, resistance to social media (Facebook?) isn’t, and doesn’t have to be, purely the result of privacy concerns. There are some of us, including yours truly, who simply don’t want to be on “sites like Facebook,” and don’t want to share every detail (or even a moderate number of details) about their personal lives, because — meh, no thanks. Regarding Facebook specifically, not being on Facebook is great; I would highly recommend it to anyone (more on my decision to opt-out here), and genuinely do not understand why more people aren’t leaving, especially given the amount of time and energy people devote to complaining about how much they hate being on Facebook. As for my attitudes towards other social media platforms, welp, each platform is different, and so I have different attitudes towards them — which is also why I avoid making sweeping statements about “social media.” BECAUSE WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, are you talking about Facebook? Sites like Facebook? Text messaging? Cc:’d emails? The telegraph? Any and all? In conclusion, define yr terms (as Chris just said, “I wish we would retire ‘social media’ and just start using ‘communications technologies’ instead,” which would force people to specify which technologies they mean), and anyway it’s Friday, so.