In an earlier #blogtober17 post my secret was revealed that none of my friends and family know about my blog or twitter accounts. However, even with an alias I do not have a Facebook account, something I know that to some seems incomprehensible.
I like to think I’m quite digital savvy and know how to protect privacy on Facebook so it really is a personal choice. I did belong to Friends Reunited and whilst it was nice to catch up on how old school friends were doing, that was all I looked at it for. When Facebook first arrived I chose not to join, as a secondary school teacher I wanted to maintain my privacy. I worked at a school near to where I had grown up and still lived and where I also had been a pupil so many parts of my life were entwined, it was easier not to have an account rather than try to work out who could be friends of friends. I never felt I was missing out, I’m also pretty good at maintaining friendships the old fashioned way such as calls, emails and meeting up.
When we adopted I was quite relieved that I didn’t have an account. As is quite common as part of the adoption process we met the birth mother who talked about how much she likes Facebook and uses it often. I feel that if I’m not on it then we can’t be found. The whole issue of Facebook and other social media will without doubt be a huge issue in the future and it’s one we’ll address when the time comes.
There are inconveniences about not being on Facebook, particularly the group boards for clubs we all do. These are useful virtual notice boards with dates, activities, key information etc.. and I do have to depend on the news being passed on in another form. However people are pretty good at doing this and understand our reasons for not being on Facebook. Our children are not allowed to have photos on social media, particularly Facebook and so every school event is preceded by a request to respect this and we have asked family and friends not toput up photos on their feeds.
One thing I’m not keen on in Facebook is the voyeurism. People watching your life from a distance and knowing perhaps a little too much about you, there’s a fine line between curiosity and stalking. If I were ever to go on Facebook with my own identity (rather than Seaside Sparkles) I think I would only choose to friend those who I would happily pick up the phone and speak to about a post.
Despite not being on Facebook I’m not against it, it can be used really positively to connect people. I know my Dad enjoys using it for chatting to his tram friends, fellow enthusiasts who initially met online and now do an annual trip to an European city to ride and talk trams! It helps give others a voice and can provide friendship or company. It’s all a matter of balance and remembering to interact in the real world too.