In our increasingly desensitized world, there are very few things I can say to people to makes their jaws drop. But there is one shameful secret in my life that seems to have that effect on everyone who hears it.
I am, perhaps, one of, if not the only, 25-year-old left in the world without a Facebook page.
In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg changed the way the world communicates with each other. Apparently I didn’t get the memo. Although memos have now become obsolete, so I suppose I didn’t get the posting on my wall… whatever that means.
I survived five years in university without the social network, although the pressure to conform has steadily increased over the years. What was once a youthful trend, has expanded into a universal phenomenon that sucks in people of all ages and demographics.
I am the youngest person in my office by 15 years, yet I am the only one without a Facebook page. My mother, possibly the most technologically illiterate person I know, now has a page.
I have been asked at least a dozen times during the recent municipal elections if I had been following the discussions on the election Facebook page. And then I watched their shocked faces with amusement as I explained to them that I can’t because I am not a member.
I have resisted this long, but I must admit it is making my life difficult. I sat at my desk this morning, organizing a group of Golden Rockets photos for the Golden Star Facebook page, but I had to get my editor to load them because you must be a member to do it.
I spoke to my brother on the phone the other day, and he casually mentioned how his wife was doing at her new job. I stopped him mid-sentence because I did not know what he was talking about.
“You didn’t know that? We put it on Facebook weeks ago,” he told me.
I have accepted the fact that I am out of the loop, but as a reporter, that is not a good spot to be in. And if it were for professional purposes only, I would be more open to it. But from what I understand, the line between personal and professional is virtually non-existent in Facebookland.
I have heard countless stories of people losing friends, relationships, even jobs because of something they posted on their page. And Facebook has been tremendously helpful to the police making arrests in regards to the Vancouver Riots.
Why would I want to open myself up to something so exposing and potentially dangerous? Perhaps I am just an overly private person. But I am failing to see the appeal.
Unfortunately, the question is no longer whether I want Facebook or not. The question is, in this day and age, is it possible to survive without it? I fear that soon it won’t be.
Will I eventually be forced to join the Facebook cult? I’ll let you know. But with any luck, none of you will receive a “friend request” from Jessica Schwitek any time soon.