March 14, 2009

Will I regret joining (the) Facebook?

When I first began this blog exactly one year ago today, I reflected on why I wasn't quite ready for Facebook yet. For a variety of reasons, I decided to try blogging first since it seemed better suited to my goals and interests at the time. And while I have no regrets about the growth and enjoyment I've experienced through blogging, I've also been thinking a lot about whether or not to join Facebook, pondering the pros and cons for months on end. If you can't imagine why someone would have cold feet about something as prevalent as Facebook (over 175 million active users worldwide), perhaps I seem needlessly paranoid or at the very least, inconsistent in my approach to risk-taking. After all, if I'm willing to drive on slippery roads at night, eat fast food and use a credit card to shop online, what's so terrifying about Facebook? My thought process usually goes something like this:

1. Gee, it sure would be interesting to find out what some of my friends from high school and college are up to nowadays. It seems pretty clear that Facebook is the best way to accomplish this.

2. But what about the unintended consequences of releasing private information into the nebulous expanse of cyberspace? What if I or someone I know posts something that comes back to haunt me someday? What if it costs me a job opportunity, a friendship or worse? Besides, I've survived just fine without Facebook all these years so why should I join now?

3. Then again, I'm only kidding myself if I'm expecting to stay in touch with people only through e-mails, phone calls and a blog that no one reads. I don't even have the contact info for many of the wonderful people who used to be my closest friends.

4. But what about not-so-wonderful co-workers, classmates, relatives and acquaintances who I don't really want to include? Do I really want to put myself in a position where I have to blatantly ignore/refuse their "friendship" requests? Are the risks of online social networking worth the benefits?

5. I'll bet more people would read my blog if I joined Facebook.

6. Sure, but more people could steal my identity too while they're at it.

7. That's not likely to happen if I take the proper precautions. What it really boils down to is this question: Which would I regret more, joining or not joining? And If I were to join, how much time would it take to "do it right?" Furthermore, do I want to be the kind of person who spends copious amounts of time maintaining a slick online personality?

8. Maybe it would just be better to resist the trendy bandwagon and thereby avoid these lingering questions. This Facebook thing sounds time-consuming in addition to being somewhat risky and possibly very addictive.

9. Okay. So I guess I won't be joining Facebook then.

10. Gee, I wonder what so-and-so is up to these days.

Well guess what? I finally joined Facebook today. Go figure.

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