Not having a Facebook account may have, twenty years ago, been considered the prudent thing to do, if we knew then that every person we have ever known could easily access the most minute and insignificant details of our lives.
But nowadays, everyone is on Facebook — well, nearly everyone. As the Daily Mail points out, two notable abstainers are James Holmes and Anders Behring Breivik. While in and of itself the statement is relatively meaningless, there seems to be a growing trend of viewing a lack of overshare as a sign that you are hiding something, or assuming that the only reason a person would decide not to have a Facebook account comes down to concealing a false identity.
The British paper quotes Slate’s Emily Yoffe, who makes a social media-centric comment about Facebook and identity that is nearly chilling in its myopia — according to Yoffe, if a person is not present on the social network, you should suspect they are not even telling you their real name:
“If you’re of a certain age and you meet someone who you are about to go to bed with, and that person doesn’t have a Facebook page, you may be getting a false name. It could be some kind of red flag.”
Of course, Manjoo fails to note that if you are on Facebook and of a certain age, you probably recall what it was like to go to bed with someone based solely on their interactions with you and without even the benefit of an Instagram account to scan first. Those were dark times, little grasshoppers.
But it’s not just potential dates who might see a certain distaste for Facebook as suspect — according to the Daily Mail, hiring managers will just assume that if you’re not on Facebook, that anything you could have possibly been doing or saying there was so horrific that you had no choice but to excise yourself from the party that is Facebook, because why else would anyone not want to use Facebook except to hide their psychopathy?
Like with all things in life, the takeaway lesson here probably has little if anything to do with Facebook itself — and it certainly doesn’t mean that a person who prefers to live their life away from the constant glare of a computer screen should be seen as a potential “psychopath.”
Instead, we should probably just be warned that making judgments based on one aspect of what we know about a person, like the fact that they just don’t like Facebook, is probably a silly idea and fosters paranoia. While lack of open Facebook use could mean a person is hiding something, it is far more likely to mean they just don’t want to spend hours rejecting CafeWorld requests when they could be reading a book or drawing a picture.
Do you feel that people who keep their lives or relationships off Facebook are “suspicious” or potentially hiding something?