Beware, Tech Abandoners. People Without Facebook Accounts Are ‘Suspicious.’
The term “Crackberry” seems silly today — and not just because consumers OD’ed on Blackberry and moved on to iDealers. The term arose in an earlier “aughts” time when Blackberry dominated the smartphone market and lawyers and execs were nearly the only ones who had them, due to their need to be able to respond to email immediately. Things have changed. Now we all need to be able to respond to email immediately. And to tweet. And to instantly share our photos on. We’re all addicted to technology now, and not just to the Blackberry. We’re “addicted” to our iPhones, and Facebook, and Twitter, and Android, and Pinterest, and iPads, and Word with Friends, and fill-in-the-blank-with-your-digital-dope-of-choice.
The sudden and dramatic advent of social-media-enabling technologies into our lives seems to be causing some mid-digital-life crises. Not only has Silicon Valley , we the users are starting to question how technology is changing us: making us fat, making us unhealthy, making us depressed, making us lonely, making us narcissistic, and making us waste time worrying about whether it’s making us fat, unhealthy, depressed, narcissistic and/or lonely. That’s leading some users to consider abandoning the whole enterprise. My colleague gave up his smartphone last year. Now, inspired by the example of , he’s considering .
Slashdot flagged a German news story in which an expert noted that mass murderers Anders Breivik and James Holmes both lacked much of a social media presence, leading to the conclusion, in Slashdot’s phrasing, that “not having a Facebook account could be the first sign that you are a mass murderer.”
That’s a tad extreme, but I’m seeing the suggestion more and more often that a missing Facebook account raises red flags. After a woman found out via Facebook that a man who’d ‘poked’ her in real life had a long term girlfriend, she turned to digital manners advice givers to ask whether she should tell the girlfriend. They said she should and then went on a digression about transparent romances in the age of Facebook:
: I think we’ve mentioned it before that if you are going out with someone and they don’t have a Facebook profile, you should be suspicious.
: Wait a minute. You may have mentioned that.
: I think I’ve recommended that. You know why, though? Imagine if this guy didn’t have a Facebook profile. That’s why. You should be suspicious of someone who is not making your relationship known publicly on a site like Facebook. I’m going to go on record with that.
I’m fine with people not having a Facebook page if they don’t want one. However, I think you’re right. If you’re of a certain age and you meet someone who you are about to go to bed with, and that person doesn’t have a Facebook page, you may be getting a false name. It could be some kind of red flag.
It’s not just love seekers who worry about what the lack of a Facebook account means. Anecdotally, I’ve heard both job seekers and employers wonder aloud about what it means if a job candidate doesn’t have a Facebook account. Does it mean they deactivated it because it was full of red flags? Are they hiding something?
The idea that a is a potential mass murderer, flaky employee, and/or person who struggles with fidelity is obviously flawed. There are people who choose not to be Facebookers for : because they find it too addictive, or because they hold their privacy dear, or because they don’t actually want to know what their old high school buddies are up to. My own boyfriend isn’t on Facebook and I don’t hold it against him (too much).
But it does seem that increasingly, it’s expected that everyone is on Facebook in some capacity, and that a negative assumption is starting to arise about those who reject the Big Blue Giant’s siren call. Continuing to navigate life without having this digital form of identification may be like trying to get into a bar without a driver’s license.
Case in point: Katherine Losse, the ex-Facebook employee that quit the companythe social network after cashing in her stock options, and who inspired my colleague to consider UnFacebooking, couldn’t stay off Facebook for long. She wound up opening a new account.
“You can’t get away from it. It’s everything. It’s everywhere,” she told. “The moment we’re in now is about trying to deal with all this technology rather than rejecting it, because obviously we can’t reject it entirely.”
Well, you can, but it might lead to your being rejected down the line too.
- Beware, Tech Abandoners. People Without Facebook Accounts Are ‘Suspicious.’ (forbes.com)
- Report says not having a Facebook account is ‘suspicious’ (prdaily.com)
- Downgrading Facebook. Tech Abandoner? Or Rational Lifestyle Choice? (forbes.com)
- Not on Facebook? You’re probably a psychopath (theweek.co.uk)
- Psychologists Say Not Joining Facebook is ‘Suspicious’ (conservativeread.com)
- Are People Who Don’t Use Facebook Psychopaths? (fox4kc.com)
- No Facebook means you’re a psychopath (piedtype.com)
- Is not joining Facebook a sign you’re a psychopath? Some employers and psychologists say it’s ‘suspicious’ (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- My grandma and I are psychopaths (dailymail.co.uk)
- Not Joining Facebook is Now “Suspicious Behavior” (bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com)