I Can't Stand Social Network Websites!


  I can't stand social network websites!  Everyone seems to be a member of one these days.  There's a social website for everyone and everything, including social network websites for those who don't like social network websites, a sort of anti-facebook social network website.  Out of every ten people you know, chances are nine of them belong to one or more social networking sites.  The other can't use a computer if his life depended on it.  Obviously facebook is the most popular of the social networking sites.  But there are plenty of others, too, such as MySpace and LinkedIn and Gather.  All of them have the same things in common.  You register.  You get a username and a password.  Which is ridiculous - the user name part, that is.  Because everyone knows who you are on social networking websites.  Celebrities belong to them.  Do you see Beyonce using "BigB" for a user name?  No, she's "Beyonce".  After registering, you develop your profile page.  This can be seen by anyone who wishes to know who you are, unless you set it to "private".  What's the point of setting your profile to "private" if you are on a social network website?  The whole point is to network with others in a "real" way - not behind a cloak.  People  like knowing who they are dealing with on these sites. 

  Another reason I can't stand social network websites is it's become the new way of communicating with everyone - from strangers, to old friends, to your own family.  I know some people who live in the same house because they are all related.  Yet they "talk" to each other through facebook.  Where else do you become friends with your parents?  Mom finds out what her son wants for dinner by reading his comments or status updates.  Dad finds out what teenage daughter wants for her birthday.  He also remember's mom's birthday because thanks to facebook, you get an email reminding you of everyone's up and coming birthdays for the week!  People meet each other on social networking sites.  They also break up on these same sites.  Men and women find out their spouses want a divorce.  A divorce lawyer is found through....you guessed it - the same social networking site!  Social networking sites can be fun at first.  Catching up with old friends from high school.  Former childhood neighbors.  Next thing you know, you're finding coworkers on there.  Your dentist.  Your psychiatrist.  Do you really want to know they "like" Dr. Who and Jello Instant Pudding?  It's creepy.  Do I really want the world, or my next door neighbor, knowing what I like?  What I watch?  Sure, there are privacy settings.  That's a joke.  Anyone can hack past privacy settings.  Just ask the White House.  There is no privacy on these websites.  People get fired for things they say about their jobs on these sites.  Criminals get caught because they brag about their latest heist on these sites.  When you belong to these sites, it's the only place you know to let all your friends know about your life.  Which means other people in your life, even if they are not your "friend" on the site, still get to see all about your life.  Also, the site forever stores your personal information.   The only way "they" can't find you is if you move four states away and change your identity. 

  Even employment style websites have become social network websites.  I'm thinking about sites like Linked In.  I don't get "friend" invites from people I don't know there - I get "connection" invites.  Everyone is connected to someone to help them in the business world.  Yet, you still have a profile page people can look at.  They still ask for personal information that is shown to everyone you allow to view your profile.  And basically, it's the same stuff as on every social network website.  Apps included.

  If you happen to show a casual interest in something like, say, clicking on a t.v. series you watch occasionally, it's shoved in your face.  Next thing you see when you log in are three thousand and two people who "like" this actor from the series.  You are invited to all sorts of events related to the t.v. series.  I can't stand social network websites because they don't leave you alone!  Once you indicate the smallest interest in something, ads for this subject show up on every page of the social network website that you log in to. 

  I can't stand social network websites because there is no way out.  At least, no gracious way out.  If you suddenly delete your facebook account, your mom is wondering where you went, and three thousand friends wonder why you don't like them anymore.  They find themselves off your friend list.  Because your friend list doesn't exist once you stop going viral.  They don't know this.  If later, you decide to go back on, and try to get your friends back, good luck with that one!

   Ads are another thing I can't stand about social network websites.  They are all virus ridden, of course.  And many of them are under the guise of something else.  You think you are clicking on a link to your favorite rock band, and next thing you know you're at a website with a sign flashing saying "You're our twenty millionth visitor!  Click here to see what you won!".  Next thing you know you've put out your credit card information to pay 79.99 for something you've supposedly "won".  And you never did find a page for that rock band!.  Besides ads, all social network websites offer things like "games" and "instant messaging".  Games - I get all I want on my cell phone!  You don't win anything playing the games - but you lose plenty.  Like time.  Instant messaging is something else.  You can "talk" in real time to your friends and family.  It is, granted, cheaper than making a long distance call to your old college roommate who has relocated to India to help the poor.  The problem is, once it's known you are "online" and "instant messaging" everyone wants to talk to you at the same time.  If one hundred of your "friends" are on and all want to speak with you, you have one hundred conversations going simultaneously.  A cell phone is much much easier!

  I'd leave the social network websites but I can't.  I'm addicted.  I can't stand social network websites because they are addicting.  Once you start, it's almost impossible to "withdraw" without suffering real withdrawal anguish and pain.  There is hope.  Recently, I found a new social network site dedicated to helping you withdraw from social network websites.  I'll tell you about it after I fill out the profile page and submit all my personal information and connect with some friends.