Musings of A Former Social Media Executive Who (Still) Refuses to Join FaceBook

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Hi, my name is Jay and I’m a social media executive who abhors FaceBook.my-image

I don’t think anyone is saying ‘Hi,’ back. Instead I hear gasps; I’m also pretty sure that eccentric woman in her Pacific Heights mansion just clutched her pearls so hard, they broke and her poor assistant is scrambling to minimize her inevitable meltdown.

My unabashed hatred of the world’s largest social network is nothing if not controversial. Recent news stories have highlighted the suggestion that employers are less likely to hire those who do not have a FaceBook account. Other media outlets have taken it one gigantic leap further, hysterically citing a lack of FaceBook involvement as a warning sign that one may be a mass murderer.

This is an issue that runs far beyond the nutty, internet conspiracy theorist that’s blogging from his parent’s basement. Legitimate publications including Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more have shed light on the increasingly common perception that those of us who choose to avoid sharing our lives with at least 500 of our ‘friends’ are to be looked upon with suspicion and skepticism. Say what?

facebook-say-noAs of 2012, the United States Census Bureau estimates 7.1 billion people make up the population of planet Earth. Of these roughly 7 billion people, 1 billion have registered for a FaceBook account. How many of those accounts are active and/or have a real person actively managing them is anyone’s guess.

Assuming I calculated this correctly, 6+ billion people are suspicious and weird, while the 1 billion (aka minority group) are the normal bunch? Admittedly my motivation in mathematics equals the ability able to calculate percentages to effectively better my skills of spending like a boss at designer sample sales… so perhaps the conspiracy theorists see something I cannot, but uh, even for the mathematically challenged, something isn’t adding up here…

A 2011 study by Tracii Ryan and Sophia Xenos examined the differences in personality between those with and those without a FaceBook account, finding that those with an account tended to be extroverted, yet more narcissistic than their FaceBook-lacking counterparts. By contrast, the latter were more likely to be contentious introverts who experienced higher levels of closeness within their families.

I’m certainly not a licensed psychologist, however, after a double major in sociology and psychology, I learned enough about personality and human behavior to  say that those who suffer from extreme narcissism can be manipulative, easily angered, and act irrationally when they fail to receive the respect and/or attention they believe is their right solely because they’re them. Logically speaking, wouldn’t the narcissist be more likely to be quietly plotting their revenge? Do you find this to be an equally ridiculous assumption? I certainly hope so.

FaceBook account or lack thereof, the increasing hysteria surrounding so-called warning signs and attempting to stigmatize, ostracize or marginalize either group reminds me of one of my favourite books, George Orwell’s 1984.

1984Technology is typically perceived as a tool that betters lives; lest we not forget that in the case of 1984, it also showed that technology also aids in facilitating and carrying out that which is evil. Pro-FaceBook or Anti-FaceBook, let’s not go to 1984 extremes… on either side.

Reference:

Ryan, T., & Xenos, S. (2011). Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness, and Facebook usage. Computers in Human Behavior, 27 (5), 1658-1664 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.02.004

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