Facebook is a foe, not friend

Scott Viau

Just saying the name “Facebook” will bring instant recognition to the minds of the site’s 500 million users.  It can be a great tool for conversing and interacting with friends both near and far. However, if you’re like me, you’ll find it irritating and invasive.

What bothers me the most isn’t even Facebook itself. It’s more the social stigma of not accepting a friend request. Denying a friend request is on par with a slap in the face. And let’s face it: a “Facebook friend” doesn’t have much validity. Most people will add almost anyone who requests to be a friend, as if the more friends you have on Facebook the more popular you’ll become. More often than not, I’ll click ignore when a new person tries to add me as a friend. Of course I could make it so that I do not receive friend requests, but on occasion there will be a request that is worth approving.

I just don’t need any more friends on Facebook. Aside from the fact that I’m trying to keep the amount of friends I have at a manageable number, mainly because the number it’s at is a direct correlation to a specific and important number that was featured on the show “Lost,” I don’t care enough to keep in touch with most of them. On occasion a family member will request my friendship and there arises another problem. These are the people who may be legitimately hurt by a denial. Privacy wins out in the end, though. If my Facebook page is to truly be my own then I don’t want to have to censor it over what family may think.

Another thing that really irritates me is the lack of privacy, or at least the lack of privacy others display. So many people leave their Facebook pages open to almost anybody, without thinking of the consequences. If anything I would think most people would have their profiles locked down to avoid having potential or current employers see things that might be inappropriate. There’s a surprising amount of people whose pictures are able to be viewed, regardless of whether or not you’re a friend. If someone is looking for information on you, some members on Facebook make it so easy to have that information readily available.

The social networking site has also been used for far more nefarious purposes, like when sex offender Peter Chapman posed as a young, handsome boy to lure a young girl. The plan worked and Chapman sexually assaulted and murdered the 17-year-old. This isn’t the only time something like this has happened, either. Of course, Facebook is generally safe but I think displaying little caution when it comes to adding friends is foolish.

Despite the number of reasons not to use it, I still find myself on Facebook, reading over everyone’s updated statuses. I still find myself drawn to it. It’s like a curse that can’t be broken. Even throughout writing this, I am looking at Facebook sporadically. It can be fun to know what friends are up to, but having to share that information in return makes it ultimately not worth it.

I’d also like to address the hypocrisy of rallying against Facebook when I still have an account. Working for The North Wind means there are certain times when getting a hold of someone in a short amount of time is crucial. In a day and age where it’s more likely for someone to check their Facebook page than their voicemail, making a posting on Facebook can garner an answer faster than a phone call. Aside from that, I’m hardly an active user.