Sunday, December 5, 2010


Dear readers who are sending me invitations to join you on Facebook,

thank you for inviting me, but I don't do Facebook. I don't have a Facebook page and have no plans to get one. Maybe I'm too old, but I just don't get the Facebook format. The endless posting of pictures of every tiny event in my life is not for me. I don't even have that many pictures of myself, and I don't attend many parties any more (especially since I attended enough parties in grad school to last me three lifetimes). I also don't get the status updates and don't understand the purpose of writing things on anybody's wall. I'm kind of verbose (in case you haven't noticed) and cannot possibly limit myself to short statements about where I am and what I'm doing.

I am in no way critical of anybody's facebooking activities. I don't even object when my students update their pages during my lectures. I know that Facebook is central to many people's lives, and good for them. I am also aware that some of you are linking to my blog on your Facebook pages, for which I am extremely grateful. But it simply isn't my format. For now, I will stick to blogging and occasional tweeting. The blogging format is perfect for me because it's very organized and allows me to keep rambling for as long as I want.


Tom Carter said...

Thanks, Clarissa! I don't get Facebook, either. I don't do it and never will. Seems to me there is more than enough demand on our time as it is. Worse than that, I don't do Twitter, either. In addition to the fact that it doesn't seem very interesting, I can't bring myself to engage in any activity described as "tweeting." Sounds like something one should do in the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I totally get this.

Just a small plea, though, for the potential redemption of the evil that is Facebook (and yes, it is evil)--as much and as long as I fought it, I admit that now that I'm there it has been a useful thing, especially since so many of my colleagues are also there. I am not prone to posting photos of what I ate for breakfast, nor am I interested in what my friends ate for breakfast, but more than a few times I've been grateful for some article or link someone has posted on Facebook that I would probably never have seen otherwise (either current events or peripherally relevant academic stuff), or for being able to toss up there mid-article-writing, "Okay, hermeneut friends, who was the guy who coined the idea of ascribing validity of textual methods to 'any meaning act'--I'm blanking!" and know that within about 30 seconds someone will pop up with Ricoeur's name. (And someone else will say Gadamer,and then they will argue, and 86% of my friends will have no idea what I'm talking about, and my smart-ass brother will ask who Herman is, but I'll still have a quick answer that saves me long frustrating Google searches.) I've gotten unofficial friendly composing commissions on Facebook ("Hey, I just wrote this text, think you might be interested in setting it?"). I've been able to unofficially plug my work, publications, etc.

The key, I think, is selectivity in whom you "friend." And knowing before you start that you are not EVER going to play any of the stupid games, nor be guilted into more activity than you want by Facebook's pushy marketing ploys.

And I don't know about Blogger, but Wordpress has the ability to automatically publish to Facebook, which has increased my readership dramatically.

Facebook is a tool. If enough intelligent people can escape its mindless pull and appropriate it for our own needs, perhaps it could be redeemable?

Probably not. And heck, if you don't want to do Facebook, don't do Facebook--just wanted to mention that some of us use it very selectively and for much more useful purposes than the widely known blather...

And I do not tweet.

Clarissa said...

Jenn: I'm in no way saying that Facebook is inherently bad and its users are all wrong. It just isn't my format, it intimidates and confuses me.

It's like what happens with some writers. I know, for example, that Virginia Woolf is a great writer, that goes without question. But she is not my writer. I read every one of her novels, and they left me completely cold. Obviously, it's my limitation and not Virginia Woolf's. :-) It's the same with Facebook. I just don't get it.

Pagan Topologist said...

I enjoy the fact that Facebook lets me stay in touch with people I rarely see. Letters served the same purpose a century ago. And I like the fact that it has enabled me to reconnect with people I had lost touch with and have not seen for decades, which enriches my life. But each person has a unique personal style, so it may well not be for everyone. I am quite sure that I shall never use Twitter, but Facebook is definitely a significant part of my social life.

My mother has no interest at all in getting online. If I want to send her photos, they must arrive by U. S. Mail. She had a cell phone for a year or so, but never used it, so she got rid of it and is content with her landline.

Clarissa said...

The most interesting things in my life happen on this blog. :-) I wouldn't even know what to post on Facebook. So I went to a wine-tasting bar on Friday, that doesn't sound at all interesting. I think the reviews that I write of the books I read are a lot more fascinating.

It's funny to see, though, how many of my friends have no interst whatsoever in the blog. I'm not forcing anybody to read it, of course. But it's kind of weird that strangers from, say, Egypt or India are constantly reading and are very interested while some of my closest friends do not.

Pagan Topologist said...

I rarely post anything to Facebook, except maybe something I think is humorous. But I have searched for, and found, people I had not seen since 1960 or so. I doubt I could have reconnected with them any other way.

Clarissa said...

Yes, that's actually another reason why I dread facebook: I don't want to be found my long-lost acquaintances. I know for a fact that some former friends publish pictures of me with the caption "Olga, where are you?" :-) I wouldn't want them to find me.

It's another facet of autism.

eric said...

I originally got on facebook to connect to family members, friends, and old Marine and college buddies (even a couple of former professors!). The weird thing is, I'm hardly ever on it now. I just don't think my daily life is interesting enough to post anything about me, though I will get on it once in a blue moon to see how everyone else is doing. On the other hand, my wife is on facebook every day posting stuff. So if used with proper diligence with regard to safety settings and the content of the postings, it can be very useful, depending on the individual. But if some people have no desire to be on facebook (and I have many friends and professional acquaintances who are not), they're not really missing out, either.

Lindsay said...

I don't do Facebook either, and I'm under 30.

Must be an old geezer at heart.

I also do not have very many pictures of myself. Sometimes I wish I did, but it just never occurs to me to take any when I'm actually out doing something --- I'm too busy doing the thing to think about documenting it!

(Also, sometimes if I see something really beautiful that I want to immortalize on paper, I draw it rather than photograph.)

It's a shame you don't like Virginia Woolf, though! Some of her novels have left me cold (To the Lighthouse, for instance), but Mrs. Dalloway is among my favorites. I also just got Orlando, which I am excited to read.

I also think there's kind of a duality in how autistic people approach or don't approach social media. Some of us don't see the point, and avoid it, like we tend to avoid in-person chitchat, but for others of us social media can be a lifeline --- a way to socialize on our terms, with people like us, in a way that's not overwhelming.