Oh, all right. But they didn’t Book my Face!

More than three years ago, I explained why I was boycotting Facebook.  Yesterday, I joined Facebook.  My intention was to join as The Earthling’s Handbook, but Facebook immediately responded, “You have to join with your real name!  I’m the only book allowed here!” so I joined with my own name but used The Earthling’s Handbook icon as my picture.  I did not give Facebook my face.

Why not?  Everyone else is doing it!

That’s fine.  You make your own privacy and security decisions, and I’ll make mine.  I’m very uncomfortable with giving Facebook “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any [intellectual property] content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”  That’s pretty different from WordPress, which can use the content of The Earthling’s Handbook only to promote The Earthling’s Handbook.  If I post a photo of my face here, WordPress can’t sell it to an advertising agency that could use me as the face of some embarrassing product while never paying me a dime.  (I’m still wondering exactly what “in connection with Facebook” means and exactly what will happen now that the Publicize feature of WordPress is linked to my Facebook account–this post is something of an experiment.)

Why did I end my boycott?  There are two reasons:

  1. Facebook continues to be the main way many people communicate these days.  Although The Earthling’s Handbook has gotten occasional readers who come in through Facebook after somebody read an article here and used the “share” button to post a link on Facebook, I’ve been persuaded that I will get more readers by making my writing more accessible and “like”able from within Facebook.  We shall see.  My goal is not to have any particular number of readers but to reach the maximum possible number of people interested in what I have to say.
  2. A local moms’ group that I really enjoy, when I attend the monthly in-person meetings, also has an online community that sounds like a lot of fun–and that can be accessed only through Facebook.

So now that I’ve finally given in and joined, now I see how Facebook is so much fun, right?  Well, yes and no.

I wasn’t unfamiliar with what one sees inside Facebook, because I commute by public transit, and these days the majority of commuters are poking the PocketFox (my favorite term for “doing something on a smartphone”).  Nearly every day someone’s Facebook is in my field of vision.  What a bunch of randomness and mostly-uselessness to sort through!  No wonder they feel like they don’t have time to look out the window or talk to their children!  So I was not at all surprised when I’d accepted some of the friend requests that immediately began to pour in, and my homepage immediately filled with . . . stuff . . . some of it interesting, most of it reminding me that although I like these people, they like a bunch of things I don’t like.  Well, maybe they’d feel the same about my Pinterest link heap (which is the place to look if you want to see what’s caught my attention on the Web–but I’m not a big fan of Pinterest, either, and rarely look at what anyone else has pinned).

However, it was exciting having five of my best friends from high school, none of whom I’d heard from in at least two years, connect with me right away.  I enjoyed looking at pictures of their kids and seeing some of the groups they’re connected to.  (Don’t I want to show them pictures of my adorable children, too?!  Of course I do!  But I don’t want to make my children’s images the property of Facebook, so I told my friends they can email me and I’ll share the pictures with them individually.)  After I finished setting up my account and started making dinner, I found that I was still thinking about my old friends and what else they’d have to say and who else might reconnect with me, and I did get back on Facebook again after bedtime to see, and I thought about it again this morning, and . . .  Yeah.  I understand how people get sucked into Facebook.  I really have to resist that, because there are so many distractions on the Internet already that it’s hard for me to get anything done at work!

Very soon I’ll set up a Facebook “fan page” for The Earthling’s Handbook, and then I’ll put a button in the sidebar and you can “like” me.  I still think this kind of “liking” basically tastes like somebody loves me, but this is the way people do things these days, so I am getting with the times.  (But I still don’t have a cell phone!  So there.)

I know at least one person who’s going to tell me I’m being a hypocrite not posting my face on Facebook, when there are photos of my face on the Web and there are probably photos of my face on Facebook that other people took and posted without my consent.  (I have never had anyone ask if it was okay to post my photo on Facebook.  I have several times spoken up when someone took a photo of my baby, asking them not to put it on Facebook–I don’t know if all of them respected that.)

So here is my challenge to you, my readers: Find my face on the Internet.  Leave a comment here with a link to the photo.  I’m just curious what you will find!

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About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

14 Responses to Oh, all right. But they didn’t Book my Face!

  1. I “quit” Facebook in July, in the sense that I still have my account but do not ever post there or read my “news feed” there or look up friends or family there to find out what is going on, and I only use Facebook to RSVP to events. A rationale for how I’ve decided to essentially abandon Facebook and why is awaiting an essay that would have to be lengthy!

    • 'Becca says:

      Yes, that’s me in 1996! I cropped it from a photo of Daniel and me on our first Christmas together. 🙂 The WTS was my friends’ index of their friends, back in the days before social networks….

      50 Earthling points to you, as someone who’s never met me in person, for finding a photo that really is me and not someone else with the same name!

  2. Elsa Efran says:

    I found a bunch of Becca Stallingses on FB, but none of them looked like you. Can you friend me so that I can see what you all are doing? I keep a very low profile on FB but do enjoy reading about what some of my classmates are doing. Not all of them are tea-party conservatives, thank goodness!

  3. michelena says:

    I’ve been ambivalent for a long time about Facebook. There much cause for caution and concern, certainly. However, I avoid nearly all broadcast (free and paid) television and radio as well as print media, for a variety of reasons, but primarily to avoid advertising as much as possible. Those choices could leave me very disconnected and isolated due to my introverted nature.

    I have found that over time, and with intention, Facebook allows me to access many incredibly enriching ideas, information, people and organizations. There are a lot of excellent alternatives to be found! For me, that intention is the key. I frequently make adjustments to what I see in my news “feed” (a term that makes me uneasy), and even to the list of people with whom I interact (sorry high school friends!). I also have been using the free AdBlock extension for my internet browser for several years, which cuts out any of the advertisements that many people find so annoying about Facebook.

    I don’t think I could give it up if I wanted to, which is fine because I have made it so that the real and true benefits easily outweigh the drawbacks. After taking a peek at your pinterest link, I think you’ll find enough to like on Facebook to make it worth signing on. I surely hope that’s the case!

  4. Julie @ Running in a Skirt says:

    I understand your struggle. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It is so good to promote blogs and projects. I also find such joy in connecting with old friends.
    I try to not look at it all day though… it sucks you in.
    At the end of the day I select carefully what I post and feel the good outweighs the bad.

  5. Hey Becca … your first steps into Facebook are a fascinating read! I’m don’t have an account and am content with blogging. But I love reading how you can use it, yet have clear boundaries with it.

  6. Like Elsa, I had trouble finding you on Facebook and would like to be your friend. 🙂 I highly recommend the Disconnect browser plugin for those who are concerned about tracking cookies and ads: http://disconnect.me

    • 'Becca says:

      Did you search for Rebecca Stallings? I signed up with that name and just added Becca as an alternate name when I was tweaking things last night.

      Now that I have the fan page up (notice the button in my sidebar here), it may be possible to find me from there. It’s annoying me that I can’t see what any of this looks like to another user, because it’s not accessible without logging in to Facebook, and once I’m logged in both my page and the fan page are readily accessible in the menus. Also, I am determined to stay off Facebook completely while I’m at work! It used to be forbidden (it was outside my employer’s firewall) but that changed at some point as Facebook became so ubiquitous that my employer began using it for stuff that some people legitimately do for their jobs, so I think I could get into it now, but I MUST RESIST!!!

  7. It’s your account and you can post whatever pic you want to. I deleted my Facebook account almost two years ago but I do have a page for my blog. I also have Twitter and now Instagram for the blog. It’s a lot to maintain. If I didn’t have the app Self Control, I’d never get anything done. I had been taking digital fasts once a week and need to resume this practice. Then there are all the privacy concerns! Good for you not to have a phone. My contract expires tomorrow and I’m canceling the phone. I never make calls on the thing and when I do, I can’t hear anything.

    • 'Becca says:

      Will you still have a land line phone? I have those at home and at work and would find it hard to do without them, but Internet access allows for a lot of the things one can do by phone.

      • Well no I don’t have a landline BUT I use Google Voice for calls over my laptop and my daughter has a phone. My other daughter will be home from school in May and she also has a phone. So if I need to make an emergency call, I can. Oh and I have a Samsung Note also that my boyfriend gave me. It’s not hooked up but I can make emergency calls. So, lots of ways for me to call people! Too many!

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