Disclaimer: I really love you, mom, please don’t be mad at me for the following anecdote. You’re probably cursing the gods for giving you a kid who decided to be a writer/is sort of a jerk. How about this makes us even for that time you told the bartender I was “pretty much 30” a week before my 25th birthday?
I was at dinner with my parents the other night. They both have iPhones (which they so rudely left sitting on the table the entire time we were eating – even I know better, guys) but my mom would check my dad’s phone every so often even though her own was easily accessible.
She was doing this because she doesn’t have a Facebook profile. Or an Instagram account.
Except that she totally does: They just don’t belong to her. They belong to my dad, or me, or my sisters. She just vicariously lives through our feeds, accruing all the information she needs about our family and friends and seeing all the photos and links posted via our accounts instead of creating her own.
I cannot tell you how many times we’ve, as a family, had the following conversation:
“Mom, seriously, just get your own Facebook account. It’s weird when you post as dad with a note that says ‘this is your mom.’”
“I don’t need one, I just have your dad’s.”
“It’s not the same. Just get one.”
She absolutely refuses, sometimes maddeningly referring to my dad’s account as “their” account (which is a sin on so many different levels – I’m looking at you, couples who share an email inbox). She likely doesn’t want her own because she thinks so many things about Facebook are narcissistic, self-indulgent, annoying, and gross – and she’s damn right. She’s hardly alone, of course.
If you’re fighting the good fight for privacy issues, then carry on – but do not ask me to be your social media surrogate.
I once dated someone who refused to get a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, anything account … but of course, his interest would be piqued when I mentioned I saw an interesting link or news about our friends on Facebook. And then sometimes he’d ask me to show him … which resulted in the exhausting “just get your own” conversation recounted above. To which he’d answer he doesn’t “do that stuff,” implying he sort of existed above the trivial, silliness of social media and “all that.”
And therein lies the problem: It’s not that you don’t want a Facebook – not that many people really want a Facebook account anymore, it’s just sort of a function you have to engage with if you want to talk to your friends, and get invited to things, and know when people are getting married, or having kids, or working somewhere you want to get a job … the examples go on and on and on. No one is going to call your ass up and tell you these things. It’s just not going to happen, so you rely on kind souls like me to do your dirty work.
Really, it’s not that you don’t have a Facebook, it’s that you act like you’re so damn special for not having one. If you’re fighting the good fight for privacy issues, then carry on – but do not ask me to be your social media surrogate, and regardless of your reasons, don’t be elitist about it. There are two types of people in this world not worth being friends with, and it’s anyone who says with a smug look, “Oh, ha, no I don’t have a television!” and “Oh, ha, no I don’t have a Facebook!” God, no! Never! You’re just so removed from that whole Internet thing, we should all be as ambivalent as you are! By the way, that pocket watch you carry ironically is really bringing your whole look together. You probably love taking Polaroids, don’t you?
When any of these social media-luddites dare choose to forgo a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever account and then ask to see yours, it’s infuriating. It’s like a vegan making me feel bad for eating meat and then asking if she can lick my chicken. Or guys that make fun of girls for carrying giant purses and then being all “Oh hey, can you put all of my crap in your bag?” This is my purse, slacker, get your own!
I don’t use social services because I think they are the be-all, end-all of interaction and communication. I hate them in many ways, and yes, they’ve certainly ruined some things. But for everything Facebook has made worse, there are a handful of things that are better, or at least easier or more convenient. It’s not all selfies and #YOLOs and Tumblrspeak; there are many, many benefits to being connected and using the social tools at our disposal. Just rise above all the horrors of social sites and find the efficiency in curating an online social life for yourself. Only get updates from your kids on Facebook. Only follow people who are landscape photographers on Instagram. Only read tweets from NBA analysts. You can – very literally – do almost anything you want.
Just give in, everybody. Give up this futile fight. The Internet won this round, and there’s nothing cool about being a hold out just to say you’re a hold out. And if you swipe my phone just to “see what’s on Instagram” one more time, I swear…