Tuesday, 12 June 2012

I May Join Facebook

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I'm seriously considering to join Facebook. You may not realize how difficult a decision this is for me. While I am completely for social networks, I detest what Facebook stands for. How it makes claims to one's privacy, how it misleads its users, how it's founder stated: “They 'trust me'. Dumb fucks.” I'm not a violent person, but for some reason that statement makes me want to slap him.

Okay, let me just back paddle a bit. I actually do have a Facebook account. For it I use a pseudonym and it is used exclusively for martial arts networking. I don't go on it regularly at all, and I do not share personal information. It is just that the nature of my rather prominent martial art presence in Korea and internationally seems to necessitate a Facebook account. The gym I'm a part of in Korea has also taken the unfortunate route of using Facebook as its means of dispersing announcements.

I do not, however, have a personal Facebook account with my own name and personal information.

My avoidance of Facebook has always been one of principle, not out of a fear of what “they” may find out about me, or do with my information—although what is done with our information is of serious concern. However, I have already made much of my information quite available. I have my own website detailing my work experience, expertise and interests. I am active on at least two other website projects. I have over five blogs, of which three are very active. I have a Twitter account, and stay in contact with some family and friends through mobile phone apps like WhatsApp and KakaoTalk; and I use Skype. Furthermore, I write regular long emails to my “global family”. In truth, I am exceptionally connected. I write regular essays and articles to electronic media, most of which are easily accessible online. Thus, I have a very healthy online profile which means that anyone that really wants to find information about me or wish to connect with me can do so, but I also have a healthy control over the information that is out there about me and I can control with whom I liaison.

Up until recently I have never truly felt a need for Facebook. Something changed this. I have some extended family, particularly my mother's side of the family with whom I had felt a strong connection as a child, but which I have lost contact with mostly. I basically only have contact with two cousins, and even with them it is sporadic. Then, one cousin (actually it was his lovely wife) sent me a beautiful photo of my deceased mother. She had seen the photo on Facebook, which was uploaded there by one of my aunts—my mother's sister—and knowing that I am not on Facebook thought that I would appreciate the photo.

This photo made me realise that a part of my dead mother still lives on in these people, with her siblings and their children, all connected by DNA and spirit. Earlier this year while in South Africa I went to a family gathering. It was a small gathering, hardly an eighth of the extended family, but what I experienced there was the essence of my mother. I saw her smile and her eyes and her mannerisms in so many of the people there; I heard a tone of her voice; I experienced an energy of her permeated through shared genetics, and familial culture.

For so long have the ugliness of her long sickness and death blighted my mind and basically eradicated all good memories of her, that there is little left in memory of my once beautiful mother. Here in lies the tragedy—instead of celebrating her life, I have forgotten her. In order to celebrate her, I need to remember her, and in order to remember her, I have to be reminded of who she was, and where she came from. To do this I need to reconnect with her people. With my people. Many of my extended family are on Facebook—even the older ones, my mother's siblings.

So, I am considering opening a personal Facebook account. I have decided to keep it exclusively for family, and for those handful of closest friends that have become practical family. I don't plan to use it for other forms of networking or socializing. And I already have the Facebook deletion button ready.

In the meantime I'm trying to phrase a standard Friend Request Rejection Reply. It will go something along these lines:

Dear ___ 
Thank you for your Friend Request. Unfortunately I am using Facebook exclusively for staying in touch with family, and not for other social purposes. Please do not feel offended. I would be happy to continue our interactions via other platforms, such as emails. Be sure to also check out my blog: http://skryfblok.blogspot.com 


BoerinBallingskap said...

Moenie bekommerd wees nie, ek sal jou nie probeer bevriend nie. ;)

Maar wat is die storie met Google+? Lyk my dit kom nie regtig van die grond af nie? Ek het my profiel daar gesluit, want ek kon nie die nut sien om op 2 sosiale netwerke te wees nie.

Skryfblok said...

Ja jong, ek is ook nie seker wat met Google+ aan die gang is nie en het ook myne toe gemaak -- hoofsaaklik omdat dit outomaties my kommentaar daarop soekbaar gemaak het. Ek is moeg vir hierdie sosiale netwerke wat as "default" al jou persoonlike inligting oop maak vir die hele wêreld. Die standaard verstelling moet wees om jou privaatheid te beskerm, nie andersom nie.

Jy kan steeds my maaitjie wees, maar net nie op FB nie! ;-)

BoerinBallingskap said...

Als reg! ;)