The Facebook Imperative



Rob (@robertsboone) raises a good question in this tweet. If you buy his assumption, that so many people who use Facebook hate it, it raises another question. Namely, is being on Facebook a contemporary technological imperative? With all of the other technology at our disposal, are we de facto luddites, if we do are not on the Facebook graph? More important than whether or not we are luddites, and whether or not we embrace technology, is the question of whether we are at least partially incommunicado without the giant social network.

I have never signed up for Facebook. A few weeks ago, I missed out on being able to ask my pastor questions when he attended our Sunday School class, because I did not have the opportunity to post questions on Facebook. A few months ago, I missed the news that a childhood best friend had tongue cancer, again, because I wasn’t on Facebook. At least my wife is plugged in. I’m not sure what our family would be like if at least one of us wasn’t on the social network. I almost certainly wouldn’t know when my cousins in other states were moving, or having a child, or taking a new job. To date, my most read piece on Medium only has that status because my wife shared it with our young families group at church, on Facebook.

Has it come to a point where I have to join Facebook, or suffer a uniquely modern form of social isolation? Perhaps others, having made the same calculation, have decided that the utility or necessity overcomes the dislike of the service. People get angry whenever there is a UX change, or some sort of mostly unregulated psychological experiement done on users, but how often do they actually rage quit? Have the consequences of quitting become too costly for those who place a high value on social connections?

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