What it’s like not being on Facebook

Published: October 2, 2010
Email

It’s like being free, not being on Facebook.

I seldom go out. When I do, every time I meet new people, the goodbyes invariably include: “Keep in touch. Are you on Facebook?”  And I answer, not like most people: “Uh! Sorry! I’m not.” Yes, I don’t have a Facebook account.

This declaration is usually greeted with surprise, even shock. People start reiterating the advantages of being on Facebook, and how it has made not just searching for old friends and contacts so easy, but also ‘to be searched’. However, the monotonous explanations of all that is great about Facebook – being able to keep in touch with others without meeting them in person – nor regular Facebook invitations to my email account enough to persuade me.

It’s astonishing and funny at the same time when my eight-year-old nephew counts to me his already seventy-three friends on his two-month-old Facebook account. For people who avoid socialising, it certainly is not a place to be, like myself. It’s like avoiding people, not being on Facebook.

Why do we want others to monitor our whereabouts, our friends, and our hangouts?

At a friend’s house last week, one of them took three hours and forty minutes to search for her just-engaged ex’s account to have a look at his fiancé. This was followed by photos of a colleague’s wedding, which was followed by endless comments, some appreciating, most not. The experience reminded me why I am not part of the social networking site: I don’t want to be talked about.

The idea of bringing the world to a single platform and then making it so captivating that it almost becomes impossible to disengage from, sounds to me as if someone is controlling it, and the users. I certainly don’t want to be controlled.

It’s like being free, not being on Facebook.

ayesha.jehangir

Ayesha Hasan

A sub-editor on the Lahore desk of The Express Tribune. She graduated from Kinnaird College with a masters in mass communication and is a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Fellow of Journalism at DW, Bonn.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.