29 November 2010

On not networking...

I'm now on Facebook! By mistake. It all got out of hand, and I have been deluged with messages, some from people I have never heard of who want to be my "friend", and others from people I really respect and like who are--if not offended--at least bemused.

I'm backtracking fast! But presumably there is some point to all this social networking stuff. How come I don't get it? Apart from being a socially inept introvert, that is? I've sent a variant of the following post to everyone I believe might have been affected...
My apologies to everyone who has received gratuitous and importunate messages from Facebook in my name.  I did not expect that those of you who steer clear of it--as I did until I followed up a link onto the slippery slope--would be approached to sign up.

I joined in the first place to investigate whether it was a viable alternative to the clunky Virtual Learning Environment used by the university (particularly for those of our students in community education programmes who do not have access to such portals). The team discussed it and decided that it was not secure enough, so dropped it.

In a moment of madness last night--prompted in part by nagging emails from Facebook about some people I know trying to reach me (FB knows where I live, of course) I revisited the site. I was invited, I thought, just to check who, on my address lists in gmail, etc. was already on the site. I was naive and didn't understand how it worked; it asks for an inch and takes a mile.

So far, the only reason I can see not to "deactivate" (apparently there is no way to delete completely) my account is that it would be rude to those of you who are making good use of it. I'll keep it open for a week or so, in case someone wants to persuade me otherwise.

A few people have noted that they can't "friend" me. I must have had the good sense to disable that option when I first signed up.

In the meantime I have battened down the privacy settings to their tightest. There is some marginal convenience in being able to send the same messages to all one's "friends" at once of course, but all email packages offer the same facility. But why on earth I would want "friends of friends" to know anything about me by default, I can't imagine. And if I want something completely public it goes on the blog.

On the other hand, you are of course entitled to conclude that I'm a miserable luddite curmudgeon and you are better off without me. That's fine; there's no need to tell me, because that is the default position... :-)


  1. I FB because it allows me to keep in touch with certain people, nieces on gap years in exotic places, my sister and her family in the USA and friends I no longer live near. It also allows to keep an eye on what my kids are up (so I can tell the 14 year old to go to bed!) in a non intrusive way and also find out what they are interested in. Yes I know I can, and do, ask them but this is uncensored and rather fun.
    I do get a little fed up with the banality of FB from time to time but essentially I quite like this window on the world.
    I too use privacy settings wisely and I politely refuse to befriend and students. I have however set up a couple of FB pages for students to use to network but with limited success.
    I think you are wise not get drawn in, you do not need to, your life will not be the poorer for it.
    Sally A

  2. Latest (11 December): I have deactivated


Comments welcome, but I am afraid I have had to turn moderation back on, because of inappropriate use. Even so, I shall process them as soon as I can.