So, why do I have a Facebook account if I don’t do anything with it?
That’s an easy question. I have a Facebook account because some of my students kept pestering me to set one up. Apparently Facebook is absolutely essential to high-school life. And several other Weston teachers are on Facebook; why shouldn’t I be?
So I gave in. Being mildly concerned about privacy issues as a public-school teacher, I set up some limitations: I don’t show my birthday, my political views, or my religious views; I don’t post my address or phone numbers; and I don’t check “Friends may post to my Wall.” I’ll accept friend requests from current and former students, but I won’t initiate them. These restrictions seem excessive to my students, but I’m comfortable with them.
The problem is that I don’t know what to do with Facebook! I already have a blog (you’re reading it now), and I am totally comfortable with email and IM, having used both since 1978. But the whole concept of a social networking site like Facebook eludes me. One thing that students tell me is that they use it to send messages to classmates — when they’re organizing a class party, for example — and that use makes sense to me. But why do they want all of their “friends” (hundreds of them, in some cases) to read personal messages that might apply to just one person or at any rate might not be public information?
Some day, perhaps, someone will give me a clear explanation of what I want to do with my Facebook account. In the meantime, there it is, and I check it every two or three days…
For other opinions, see Would you track your health on Facebook.