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    Posted May 17, 2012 by
    Farmville, Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living without Facebook?

    The Invisible Man

    Unlike many users here, I've never had an FB account, or even participated in any other social networking site, for that matter. I never have, and I never will.

    My friends would describe me as a "ghost" or the "invisible man" when it comes to getting in contact with me on the internet for this reason.

    So why don't I use these sorts of sites, you ask?

    Reason #1: Hidden costs--You might be wondering what the heck do I mean by this. I'm talking about huge amounts of time and money you'd have to devote due to the sheer addictiveness of these sorts of sites. If you want to truly take advantage of a site like Facebook, you'd have to spend hours sitting there, uploading pictures, writing posts, responding to people, making "friends", and waiting for people to update their profiles, and such. People end up wasting a lot of time on their profile, and not just their free time, but often on their work time at the expense of productivity.

    Not only that, but there's often a literal monetary cost involved. I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen people go to their smart phones every 5 minutes just to check their Facebook pages. Often times more than not, that results in hours of the day wasted just being on Facebook on a cell phone. Cellphone companies have ditched their unlimited plans, and Verizon is next--Can you imagine the amount of money you'd have to pay in your cellphone bill from all the bandwidth/minutes you've used up just by going onto Facebook with it? I value my time, and my money and I'm not going to waste it on a site like this (nor am I going to pay 120$ a month to own a smart phone).

    Reason #2: The whole concept of privacy is antipathetic for a true social networking site--Everybody often speaks about how Facebook has been breaching our privacy by collecting/storing personal information, yet everyone seems to have some sort of inane desire to reveal everything about themselves on the internet in hopes of connecting with people--Am I the only one who sees a major conflict of interest?

    Issues with information security aside, the reason why people on Facebook gets screwed over is because they choose to reveal where they are and what they're doing 24/7, all the while knowing everything is getting cached on search engines like Google. Does anyone see the problem here? If people want privacy, they shouldn't post crap they don't want seen by anybody! But if you don't post everything, then what's the point?

    When I was in college a year ago, people got into more trouble because someone they knew found incriminating pictures on their profiles showing them doing stupid stuff like drinking underage. This sort of stuff happens more often to users than having their personal information being compromised by strangers. The bigger Facebook privacy threat comes from those you do know, not strangers, finding incriminating stuff on your profile--You think I like the idea of having my parents or managers know that I got hammered and went to a nearby strip club last Thursday? Of course not. But then what's the point of using Facebook or any other social networking site if I have to be afraid of sharing the best and funniest moments of my life with the world?

    Privacy may be a major sticking point for people who quit Facebook, but let's face it: No matter how many privacy settings it have, anything that hinges on allowing users to reveal themselves and connect to people across the world will never be compatible with the concept of privacy or anonymity--Two things that I value a lot.

    If I can just connect to people through email, phone, text, or just plain talking, then why would I need to shed my invisibility cloak on the internet by connecting to Facebook, or any other social networking site for that matter?
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