Last night, Jess and I joined Facebook, after years — years — refusing to do so.
Today, I woke up to a barrage of questions both on Facebook and on Twitter proclaiming the apocalypse and wondering what prompted us both to do it after so long in the wilderness. So here’s a bit of a rambling explanation.
As you may or may not know, Jess and I both recently moved across the country from Perth to Sydney. Since then a lot of things have happened, including buying a house, my brother Simon getting married, and, most recently in this past week, Jess’ beloved grandmother Doreen passing away quite suddenly.
I won’t go into detail on that, as I’m sure Jess has her own thoughts that she’ll share, in time.
What these happy and sad occasions made us realise is that the only people we were hurting by refusing to be on Facebook was ourselves. There were so many people now that we wanted and needed to stay in touch with, who weren’t on Twitter (where we are both quite active) and who weren’t going to read our blog (where we are, uh, not so active) and who we had basically no way of contacting.
All these people use Facebook.
So basically we ended up with a situation where we were both simultaneously complaining that we didn’t want to use Facebook, and complaining that we weren’t able to stay in touch with the people we cared about. The more we thought about it, the more we realised this was a stupid position to take.
It’s not really fair to shriek at people to “get on Twitter” and ask them to change the way they use their social networks just so we can see what they’re up to. “I don’t know anybody on Twitter,” my new sister-in-law Jane would say when we asked her. And she’s right. She’s absolutely right. And it’s not really fair or cool to ask people to change for us.
So. Here we are on Facebook. For me, it’s about seeing what my extended family are up to, checking in with my international cousins, and keeping in touch with the people in Perth and abroad who I have no other way of seeing. There’s a lot of people across the world who I’ve worked with whose friendship I value that I also just have no way of staying in touch with…
…except Facebook. Which they all use. And have used for years while we have stubbornly refused.
At the end of the day, I guess we value staying in touch with people who are important to us more than we value being the shrieking but highly principled hermit outside the village walls who nobody has heard from in years.
So, find us on Facebook. I can’t promise I’ll be very active, in fact I’m approaching this with all the measure and caution of a bomb disposal squad operation. But I promise that I will relentlessly ‘Like’ my own status updates until you all get sick of me.
Well played, Zuckerberg. Well played.