By Josh Kerns/97.3 KIRO FM (and Facebook ‘enthusiast’ who could quit anytime I want. I just don’t want to.)
Pregnancy…check. New job…check. Drunken embarrassment…check. It seems like whenever something happens with one of my friends, family, or distant high school acquaintance I vaguely remember from English class, I hear about it first on Facebook.
It’s become a lifeline for many of us, and with 750 million users worldwide, it seems more likely to win the lottery than it is to find someone who isn’t on Facebook.
Seattle-area small business consultant Elizabeth Case is one of them.
“I didn’t like high school, I talk to the one person in high school I’m still friends with. That’s really all I need. I don’t really care about your kids, or how you’re doing,” Case laughs.
Case actually isn’t quite as crass as she might sound, and she’s not alone. Even though Facebook boasted over 163 million unique visitors in August, 52 million others avoided the social networking site.
Some merely avoid it. Others actively oppose it (for everything from privacy to psychological reasons.) Plenty of sites and blogs have popped up in protest, like sickfacebook.com, the Anti-Facebook League of Intelligentsia.
Case says when Facebook started it was just for college students, and she’d already graduated. She thought it was a passing fad like My Space.
And she says there are plenty of other ways to communicate personally and professionally, including (god forbid) face to face.
“If I miss you and want to talk to you and want to see you, then I will email or call you and say ‘let’s get lunch’ or ‘hey, we’re coming down to visit next month, are you guys going to be in town?’,” Case says.
710 ESPN salesman Tyler Hanberg is another one I’ve taken to calling part of the Facebook ‘Amish.’ Somehow, he’s building a successful career here and personal life, all without a single status update.
“Even my grandma is on. And it’s weird. And my other grandma. And it’s like, how is it that your grandma’s on it and your not. And I just have no desire.”
Hanberg admits he thought it was a passing fad and dismissed out of hand. And watching his wife spend so much time social networking, he calls it…insert gasp here…a waste of time!
But clearly he is sadly misinformed. When I checked the stats (on Facebook), I found us Facebook users only spend an average 15 hours and 33 minutes on the site each month. That’s a mere 23 minutes each visit.
And even the haters have to admit with so many of us sharing our most important life moments on Facebook, sometimes they miss things.
“You know we’ve missed a couple of cousins being born. Like cousins who have had kids, and it was ‘oh they had a third baby. I didn’t even know they were pregnant,’ says Elizabeth. “Didn’t I tell you, or didn’t my mom tell you? It was on Facebook.”
But ultimately, despite the constant shock they get when they tell people they aren’t there, Tyler, Elizabeth and millions of other Facebook ‘Amish’ insist their personal and business lives are just fine without it (just don’t mess with their horse and buggy.)