Everybody has a Facebook, right? Nope.

Taylor Leckie

Photo Illustration by Taylor Leckie
Economics graduate student Ben Bulthuis staying up to date with various social media outlets

One might ask, “Is it even possible not to have a Facebook?” Coming from someone who’s lived without a Facebook for her entire life, I can say that it is indeed very possible.

I don’t have a Facebook because I don’t want people all up in my business. I don’t feel the need to express my most intimate feelings on the world wide web.

There is no reason to comment to the world on how you feel about individuals or their actions (unless you’re an opinions columnist). If you have an issue or concern with a person, you address it privately, not publicly. If your professor or boss has a problem with your work, would you want him or her to address you in front of your peers or in a more confidential manner? I know what I would want, and it isn’t to be called out in front of everyone.

Let’s say you want to promote a company or an event. Word of mouth is still a great way to share information. I love telling people about a positive experience I have so they may be able to share the excitement. Don’t forget, we still have texting and emailing at our fingertips. There are other forms of technological contact that don’t require releasing personal information for all to see.

I don’t have to worry about being tagged in embarrassing photos, nor am I worried about who’s friending or unfriending me in the online world. When delving into the current, and technically savvy, job market, you don’t want to make an unflattering first impression when they pull up your online persona. There are better ways to be introduced.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not totally against these social media networks. I’m saying it should be perfectly acceptable to keep things private without giving into the peer pressure to upload information about your personal life and feelings.

The problem arises when people share too much in a very publicly accessible place, and when they become addicted or reliant on these social networks to validate themselves. Social media site AllTwitter reports that about 40 percent of people spend more time socializing online than they do face-to-face.

It is entirely possible to be confident without having “impressive” social media stats. Too frequently do we see people concerned about the number of “likes” they have received while losing touch with the relationships in their immediate life. According to a poll done by The Social Skinny, “24 percent of people missed witnessing important moments because they are too busy trying to write about them on social network.”

People have developed self-image complexes that stem from them not getting as many “likes” as someone else, and from not having as many online friends as their “friends” in the social media realm. A study of 1011 people, conducted by The University of Gothenburg, determined that the more they used Facebook, the more their self-esteem decreased. This study also showed a significant negative correlation between Facebook usage and women’s happiness and contentment with their lives (happiness and contentment dropped as usage went up and vice versa).

You don’t need social networks to validate who you are. You don’t have to share your status, your thoughts, or your personal information with the world. It’s okay to keep some things private.

Getting to know the person you are becoming cannot be captured or posted on a media page. It has to be discovered. For this reason, give people more than just a click of a button to find out how truly wonderful you, and they, are. Invite them into your world and not just onto your website.