Don’t Take It Personally

I never liked Facebook. I joined by accident. Someone contacted me asking about a pianist who played my music 30 years ago, and I looked her up and found a Facebook page. I had to join to see her page, and it turned out to be the wrong person anyway. I didn’t understand the privacy controls at first, and my Facebook page was a morass of conversations by people I’d mostly never heard of. I figured most of the people who wanted to friend me were musicians advertising their concerts and recordings, and I had no particular reason to turn anyone down. I have a phobia about crowds (I’ve always said that determined my choice of musical genre) and Facebook seemed like a virtual Chinatown. Then a couple of composers started a thread bewailing my malign influence on American music, and I was receiving notifications of each new insult. It was Christmas Eve, and so I joined the thread to post, “And a very merry Christmas to you gentlemen as well.” Then I went to Facebook (I just now typed “Fecabook” as a Freudian slip) and found the FAQ “How do I delete my Facebook page?”, which I thought it was interesting that that was a FAQ, and I followed directions. I’m happier. My e-mail in-box is far less cluttered, I have more spare time, and I was already the easiest person on the internet to contact via e-mail anyway.

But now I’m getting the occasional plaintive query from friends, “Why did you remove yourself from my Facebook friends?” Please know that you weren’t singled out. It was a grid that I never liked being on.



  1. says

    I just got myself off Facebook – which I joined only at the urging of a relative who wanted us to start a Scrabble game – after having my email address hijacked. I don’t know that FB was the source of the problem, but it seems at least possible. The upside is that I no longer risk being poked, unfriended, or subjected to who knows what other forms of abuse.

    KG replies: I still don’t know what getting poked means.

  2. mclaren says

    “Then a couple of composers started a thread bewailing my malign influence on American music…”

    But of course.

    Above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evident pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature. It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. [Lovecraft, H. P., “The Call of Cthulhu,” 1926]

  3. says

    I feel like this is my own, personal failure as at least one composer kept bewailing your influence on American music on my FB page, to my perpetual chagrin. Ugh! I’m sorry to have contributed to your bad Facebook experience, however vicariously.

    KG replies: Not your fault, Armando. Each of us has at least one idiot friend.

  4. Manolito says

    Join to FaceBook is like an association with a syndicate. Automatically you own to a kind of thinking or actions. And for good or not, some people can associates you with that. In the same way you conducts in normal life, FaceBook has some filters to avoid people you don’t want to be in touch. I think some people you know can give you good advice of that.

  5. says

    The fault was partially your own: “I figured most of the people who wanted to friend me were musicians advertising their concerts and recordings, and I had no particular reason to turn anyone down” Good lord man, that’s the very best reason right there! Anyone who is only interested in being your ‘friend’ so they can flog their wares is not your friend; what do you do with neighbours who are pushy about selling new discount Long Distance services or other pyramid schemes? You shun them.

    The great success of Facebook, for some users, is that it is the gated email we all dreamed of having back when spammers discovered usenet and email, a means to post a comment or a photo that isn’t automatically available to everyone. The privacy settings are what made Facebook (originally a dating site) a smash hit with college kids (my daughter lured me in with her summer visit photos) The great success of Facebook COMMERCIALLY is that it freely and openly exploits the loss-avoidance bent in the weaker minds and lures them into the apps and games that cannot be won, but having invested in them, the player literally buys their way back into the game just to stay there. Farmville is only one of them. A major investor in FB has a business partner who is said to be “Extremely close to the Kremlin” and the Wikileaks tell us the Kremlin “basically IS the Russian Mafia”

    Of course, what else is new: the whole computer/cellphone industry is not there to serve us, it is there to fleece us and so, as in ancient times, we need to keep our wits about us, be vigilant, KNOW who our FRIENDS are and tread carefully, and doing that, we find these new inventions actually can have some very useful latent function :)