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Facebook Exodus

by Archives March 24, 2009

Facebook can be your best friend, or in some cases your worst enemy.
If Facebook were its own country, it would be the fifth largest in the world with a member-base totalling 175 million. Everyday people log on to find out the latest scoop about friends, update their status, poke each other, upload pictures from the drunken weekend escapade and, of course, throw snowballs or send a vampire bite to each other using the site’s applications.
But Kimberly Lamontagne won’t be virtually biting or poking anyone anytime soon because she completely opted-out of the latest social-networking trend. After being held captive by the addictive social-networking hotspot, Lamontagne felt the site was a complete waste of time, energy and wasn’t socially healthy.
The first-year journalism student’s “Facebooking” activities were initially geared towards checking messages, but they quickly veered towards checking others’ posted pictures, comments and changes in relationship status. Lamontagne quickly became conscious she was inquiring on the lives of others, and then realized others could do the very same to her.
“I didn’t like the fact that people had the liberty to freely check out what was going on in my life,” said Lamontagne. “If I wanted people to know, I would call them or they would call me.”
Current trends point out that when people are first introduced at social gatherings, there aren’t asking for or giving out their telephone numbers as would be expected only five years ago. Now, the question you will hear endlessly is “are you on Facebook?”
And with that now infamous question, a growing number of Facebook members have over 250 people on their friends list. This raises the question, how many of those 250 people are friends you trust and care for? Chances are, not very many. So why do you want them to know what you’re doing?
In today’s modern world, you’re essentially considered antiquated if you don’t have a cell phone – obsolete if you don’t have the Internet for that matter. It is important to not completely submerge yourself in social networking, text messaging and e-mailing.
It happens in any restaurant where two people are at dinner and one is answering text messages at the table. It’s just bad form. However, form is considered antiquated, alongside those who don’t have a cell phone, to a surprising amount of people. Few know how to effectively communicate; they don’t have the experience of social interaction and therefore can come off as rude or even unprofessional.
According to Lamontagne, most people who decide to text-away or answer calls at inappropriate times feel they have a sense of social importance. This is because we are traditionally habituated to associating an ability to communicate to mass amounts of people with power. Facebook status updates, Twitter tweets and YouTube give people power. But what happens when there is too much power? It then becomes relative and on goes the battle to have more “Facebook friends.” Handling this relative power is no easy feat however; it is time-consuming and often prompts outbursts of drama. Drama that an increasing number of people are not willing to subscribe to.
Other factors have also prompted the exodus of select Facebook members. A survey compiled by CareerBuilder and published in The Business Insider reported that 22 per cent of employers check your Facebook profile if they are considering hiring you. A local Montreal pharmaceutical executive confirmed that she would consider investigating a candidate’s Facebook profile before hiring the candidate. Now a good first impression is not having your potential employer peer in on your drunken debaucheries from last weekend.
Since Facebook’s launch on Feb. 4, 2004, the average user has seen many changes on the site, namely the overhaul of the privacy settings. While they are useful at controlling who sees select elements of your profile, it’s an excessive amount of work to manage. Work, Lamontagne believes, should be invested elsewhere.
The social-networking giant recently backtracked on a change of terms and conditions giving Facebook the legal rights to any photo uploaded to the site. Initially, members were outraged. The change was quickly overturned and a new policy was implemented with a quick apology from Facebook.
However, this apology came too late for a large sum of members as many quickly opted-out of the Internet hotspot. There was an unexpected backlash of members because the terms and conditions changed giving significant legal rights of any media uploaded to Facebook.
All of this sounds very complicated, and it is. Hence why Lamontagne opted out – it just wasn’t worth her time.
The millions upon millions of people across the globe who use social networking on a daily basis need to ensure sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are used efficiently and don’t take over the human aspect of life. There is nothing like being with the people and it’s important to recognize this. Lamontagne confesses, “Leaving Facebook felt entirely liberating because I wasn’t being controlled anymore and I didn’t have an empty craving to find out if someone messaged me.”
Perhaps the craving is empty, but millions of people are jumping in on this phenomenon, and the world may not be at all the same due to this new trend.

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