By Nicholas Sauma, Opinion Editor
A few weeks ago I left Facebook for good. Throughout the past few months, I’ve deleted my Myspace and many of my forum accounts, and created a new email. I kept my Twitter account, which I use primarily for news, my LinkedIn account and a personal blog.
As much as I love the Internet, it’s steadily become a more disturbing place to spend my time. Malware and spyware are ever present, and hackers are showing that even some of the biggest technology companies are highly vulnerable to security breaches. Of course, these have been problems since the Internet started (chain emails anyone?), but as the web has grown, naturally so too have attackers.
However, I find these illegal actions far less disconcerting than some of the legal things that people and employers do. Even with my custom privacy settings, Facebook updates would revert my settings to default, even allowing other people to add me to groups. Employers and people often “Facebook-stalk” to get gather more personal information about people, and of course, legal warrants and online surveillance are very real.
If you want to see me ram my head into a wall at full speed, you may now ask me, “Well, who cares if you have nothing to hide?”
It’s true; I don’t have anything to hide except some embarrassing music playlists, I guess, but that’s not how I view the world. If people have nothing to hide, why not stop building walls, privacy curtains, wearing clothing and using passwords online? Sure, those may seem like a stretch, but I think if you extend the argument to its fullest extent, you’ve got to answer some of these tough questions.
Then, beyond all my former complaints, I’m going to pull the “old man” argument here and say that social media just isn’t a good way of communicating with people. Text, even with emoticons, just cannot convey the same emotion that voice, facial expressions and gestures can.
I warned people for two months before I was going to delete my account. I said I’d add their phone numbers and email addresses, or that they could follow my blog. Very few people actually took any of these avenues, but they still complain that I’m not on Facebook. Facebook friendship, at its worst, is simply being a linked name listed on someone’s monitor.
There is no interaction. I simply chose to end my involvement in this “networking.”
The most depressing part of ending my social media involvement has nothing to do with missing others. It’s that by “unliking” Facebook, I’m just one level above dead in today’s world. People seriously forget that you exist if you don’t exist online or on their smartphone, and that’s truly pathetic.
The Internet is a wonderful place for me to get work done, enjoy some entertainment and selectively communicate with other people. Otherwise, people can give me a call, and we can risk the sunlight and do something outside.