I spent at least two years in Facebook, only to become increasingly chagrined about the site. On the one hand, I valued its putting me in-touch with friends, many of them my former students that time and space had relegated to a diaspora of specters. Still, I was uncomfortable with several features. I wanted outreach beyond my circle, with the option of linking with those with whom I shared compatibility of interest.
I also wanted substance, not shibboleths, only to find Facebook a shallow water trough with its drive-by narcissism, the self-pitying, sentimental and hyperbolic.
I tired of the plethora of “I’m going to bed now”; “I’m married to the best husband in the world”; “I thought Friday would never get here.” Some used the site as a platform for in-your-face political statement.
Then there were those legions of turf conquerors, anchoring their egos in a competitive tally of friends. How can one possibly have 200 or more genuine friends, particularly in Facebook where you often as not get a request for friendship without any message or any to appear in kingdom come? It vaporizes the very meaning of the term.
What really made me head for the exit was the ubiquitous tampering with member privacy in Facebook’s exponential subordination of one’s profile for mercenary ends revealed in ever more ads. Now comes the investiture of 1.5 billion from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technology (a Russian conglomerate) lifting the site’s estimated worth to around 50 billion. This investiture, however, will not apply to the U. S. site and its members. The United States Security Exchange Commission requires companies having more than 499 shareholders to file quarterly reports, a number Facebook anticipates exceeding shortly. As CNN tells it, “Keeping American investors out of the pool limits the scrutiny U. S. regulators can apply to the deal” (CNN Money, Jan 21, 2010).
As in life, you sometimes find the noise too much and you shut the door, I shut the door on Facebook. Did you hear the slam?