Facebook became revolutionary around 2006, incidentally the time when I decided to be anti-social. I was going through a rough patch, emotionally, and I just did not like people. Eventually, thankfully, I moved out of said dark ages, and settled once more into what I like to think of as my happier, if more discerning, self. The primary reason why I didn’t jump onto the bandwagon was because I was an angry little girl who wanted to kick people off any and all wagons. Though I have since joined Skype and Twitter, to this day, I remain Facebook-free, but for more logical reasons.
Reason # 1: I don’t need a nation.
Pitcairn Islands, a territory of the United Kingdom, has an estimated population of 48 people. Cocos Islands, an Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean, is inhabited by around 550 people. The Vatican, the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world, gave its official population estimate to be 836. Facebook allows us to label as friends a number of people equivalent to or greater than these populations.
However, according to British psychologist Robin Dunbar, a person can have a maximum of 150 genuinely social relationships, a limit which is said to be a direct function of relative neocortex size. Apparently, we are biologically wired to not need a nation. One of my quarter-life lessons is that quality trumps quantity. I take it as a personal challenge to maintain my friendships without Facebook, because doing so forces me to be creative and committed in my relationships.
Reason # 2: I keep things calm by keeping them to myself.
People are different people to different people. I can just imagine the explosion of awkwardness should my life groups intersect, which is unavoidable in Facebook. It’s not that I lead a life more covert than the usual — my life has actually been relatively boring the past two years. But I am not very good with feelings, so well-meaning displays of affection from older relatives is something I opt not to subject myself to. I’m sorry, my mental age is fifteen.
Reason # 3: Self-love 2012 and onwards.
When we were doing our community rotation, a friend let me use her account a few times. Since I was only then starting to recover, looking at old friends’ pages only made me feel bad, because I felt like everyone else was having so much fun, or at least were headed towards where they wanted to go. I suppose I didn’t consider the idea that people tend to present the best versions of themselves of Facebook, or that it is rarely ever a good idea to compare (as it makes you bitter or proud). Since Facebook makes comparison so accessible, I’d rather avoid it until I am better able to love myself more.
Reason # 4: My stupid mouth always gets me in trouble.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who prostitute their traumas on Facebook, even people you like in real life. I wish they didn’t, but I don’t have control over what people post. Patience is not one of my virtues, and sarcasm is my go to defense mechanism. I might actually end up losing friends should I join Zuckerworld. Hence, avoidance.
Also, when I was younger, YM status messages were my vehicles of sturm und drang. I cringe every time I remember that, among other things that still give me nightmares, and so I overcompensate by not having a Facebook account. I also overcorrect by vigilantly self-regulating on Twitter. I hope it works.
Reason # 5: There is a real world, and it is not the Internet.
Like every other person, I spend so much time on the black hole that is the Internet. Too much time, I think. If I had a Facebook account, there’s a big chance I may never be productive during my
reproductive flirting years. In fact, I’m thinking of imposing an offline day at least once a week. Good luck with that.
Illogical reasons: I am a paranoid parrot.
One other minor reason is that I don’t really like looking at pictures of myself, unless I am with friends or hugging a panda (which I have not done yet). There is also this tiny voice inside my head that keeps imagining a case of identity theft or a virtual 1984, in which case, I’ll be under the radar for at least a few more minutes.
I don’t hate Facebook; it has its purposes. I’m not saying that I will never open a Facebook account — the right bet may come along any day. Just not today.