Recently, several of my friends organized barbecues, days out, so on, so forth, and only invited people via Facebook. It was only when we linked up on the phone that I discovered the planned events, often a week or less to go until the event - "Oh, we forgot you don't have a Facebook. Did we tell you about the thing we have planned on the __th?"
Meanwhile, I have absolutely zero problem organizing things with my friends who don't piss about with Facebook. Hmm. Gee. Its as if Facebook has crippled them socially.
It's really stunning how far Facebook has invaded into some people's lives. One thing that's starting to really irk me is how few people remember to use e-mail. E-mail is awesome. It is incredible, it revolutionized communication, it is what you need to be using. Facebook has its uses (unfortunately, it also has its users), but I'm appalled at how few people seem to remember the good old days of e-mail.
Ultimately, people are using social media to replace many of the older, but still pretty cool, elements of the web. How does Facebook stack up to traditional mailing lists? e-Magazines? For all its innovation and usefulness, is it at all forgivable that people are using it in lieu of "traditional" methods of communication, such as emails, text messages, phone calls, instant messaging or fucking talking face to face?
Let's compare the "venerable" e-mail to Facebook's features.
E-mail. * Relatively private. It takes only a second to encrypt e-mails, and even if you don't, you'll still be relatively okay. While the government and your service provider might be able to read your emails, your ex-wife won't. NOBODY will, if you do use encryption. * Potentially anonymous. Major plus. Multiple accounts can be used to keep online circles/identities/groups separate. * Mails are stored and archived for future reference or use, either in a secure off-site server, a local e-mail server, or as local files. * I can receive and send emails on my ancient phone, my new phone, or a computer, or my god damn Nintendo DSi. (I don't actually have a DSi.) * Provider agnostic. Are you with AOL? I can email you. Are you with Gmail? I can email you. Are you using your own private email server that you set up and control on the Linux machine in the back bedroom? I can email you. You can email anyone, anywhere. * E-mails can make use of HTML and other elements to become more than just plain-text communiques. You can create full-blown electronically disseminated magazine/web pages. * Don't need to suffer garish advertisements, idiot trolls and asinine "status" updates to read communications. You may have adverts if you use a webmail interface. So download an email client like Mozilla Thunderbird and enjoy - trust me, do this. * File transfers are possible. Modern email managers (such as Mozilla Thunderbird) co-operate with cloud storage providers to allow the transfer of files regardless of size, and incorporate malware scanners. * In fact, email servers can be used as a form of cloud storage by themselves. E-mail yourself your coursework from college, or your work. Fast, simple, easily backed up storage. Combine with security and you've got better privacy than if you uploaded your work to Dropbox.
* Privacy depends on the sort of communication (private message, wall comment, comment on image), and whether or not Facebook feels like respecting your privacy. It's also legendarily easy to hack. In short, you need to worry about your ex-wife or grumpy shithead boss. * Seriously, look at these idiots putting that "legal notice" on their Facebooks as if that's going to deter anybody or even have any legal standing (hint: the terms you agreed to when you joined FB take precedence over everything you ever say). * Zero anonymity. Yes, anonymity matters. * Messages are stored online, forever and ever, in an unencrypted form. Don't be so naive as to think you can delete them. Backing them up is not as easy. Nor is it as easy to locate the messages you want. Ironically, you may find yourself running a search for the alert email in order to locate an older message. * You can access your Facebook account and messages on a web-enabled computer, or a device with a specific social media/Facebook app written for them. Not bad. * "Provider" extremely specific. Are you with Xanga? I can't talk to you. Are you with Google +? I can't talk to you. Are you with MySpace? What's that again? Not everyone uses your god damn chosen proprietary social media site. * As a result, by definition, communication using Facebook is inconvenient, as opposed to all the idiots claiming it is convenient, because not everyone uses it. Everyone uses email. Everyone has a phone. So the best media for sending out invitations is...? * To be fair, Facebook has a simple applet for letting people click their RSVP in response to invitations. This is sheer laziness, but it is a feature in its favor. * Communications are highly limited in formatting and structure. And content, in fact. * Adverts, adverts, adverts, adverts, adverts, troooolls, troooolls! Adverts, adverts, adverts -! Aaah, meeemes! Meeemes! Ohhh, it's a lame meeeme! * File transfers... pretty sure those aren't possible without having to use an external resource.
So, as you can see with this objective and utterly infallible comparison, only douches use Facebook exclusively to pass out invitations or communicate in general.
Now, I don't use Facebook, and I'm going by what I've seen, been shown and told. If I misrepresented Facebook in any way... I don't give a damn, shut up. Just stop treating it as your sole method of communicating with people, as if everyone uses that shit. Send me a god damn email.
And it's very damn good that not everyone is plugged into the Facebook IV drip. Facebook is already getting too big for its boots, and nothing is worse than a monoculture like that. If everyone used FB, we could use it as a universal method of communication - but then we'd all be under the heel of a single, untrustworthy corporation, with no competition or diversity. Thankfully, we're not there yet. But FB tracks everything you do (to target advertising?), don't expect them to respect your privacy, and they're trying to create a walled-garden on the internet, to trap & addict users to generate a continual stream of revenue from advertising hits. A walled in internet shopping mall, with no outside windows or clocks.
Monocultures, and indeed Facebook itself, are poisonous to the open web, and an anathema to digital freedom. Whether the company itself has malicious intent is irrelevant, I'm sure they're all great guys and gals. I'm sure Facebook is very convenient at times, and I'm not saying I'll never create a FB account.
What I'm saying is, don't be a trendy conformist dipshit and be aware that not everyone uses Facebook. If you let this hinder your communication, such as "not being able" to send invitations to certain people, then maybe you're the one being a very stupid person. Send a freaking e-mail. Make the effort. Dickhead. >:C
On a related note, feel free to e-mail me rather than contact me via the InkBunny private messaging service. For one thing, due to legal reasons, the admins here must be able to read your "private" messages. Why deal with that, and waste space and bandwidth on this site, when you could skip a step and just e-mail?
E-mail is awesome. If it wasn't for online pen-pals and I batting well composed electronic letters back and forth when I was younger, I wouldn't be here today, writing novels for you all.
Now, people use social media and instant messaging instead, almost exclusively, which is a little sad. Emails are more and more being relegated to junk, periodicals, mailing lists, brochures... going the same way as traditional snail mail. And when people try to catch me on IMs and miss me, then they give me a great big sad-face? Just send an email. Compose one. Put some effort in. You don't need to wait for me to get back online. I can even reply once I get a quiet moment, because I love my phone. These are actually great ways to communicate, you can cover so much. Don't count good old e-mail out.
Honestly, it somewhat seems like the younger generations (my own included) have forgotten the worth of a well composed email. I love instant messagers. VoIP. Little comments on websites like this... been using them almost as long. But I still send emails to my family, friends and so on. It seems like many are simply not introduced to letter writing as a concept.
But I suppose that's okay. Progress marches on. But it isn't progress if we lose things like, say, being able to contact people who aren't using our single solitary craptastic proprietary social media website.