‘No profile on facebook... doesn’t mean I’m a psycho’
For those of us with facebook profiles, hearing about somebody who doesn't have an account is usually a shock but it can also quite refreshing.
We dream of the days before we felt the incessant need to update our statuses. Or the time before we felt compelled to click through the holiday snaps of a former colleague we didn’t even like, rather than actually doing something productive with our days.
But fear not facebookers. Despite the arguments that too much time in cyberspace is bad for you, just having a presence on facebook could prove you’re not a psychopath.
German magazine Der Taggspiegel recently pointed out that James Holmes, the man accused of shooting dead movie fans in a Colorado cinema, has something in common with Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik - neither has a facebook profile.
Forbes.com didn’t go to that extreme, but it did report that employers are becoming more wary of young job candidates who don’t use social media.
Their concern is that a lack of facebook presence could mean the applicant is so wary of their true character being revealed that they refrain from joining or have deleted their account.
British writer David Roth is bucking the trend of young media professionals in the UAE by refraining from joining facebook. But he insists he’s no psycho, he just objects to everything facebook stands for.
“I’m not into facebook because I object to one corporation having every detail of my life even without my permission - photo tags etc,” he explains.
“Everyone I want to keep in contact with, I do. I find it superfluous to my needs and believe it appeals to the worst in people’s nature - vanity and nosiness.”
An advice columnist from American website Slate.com suggested last week that young people shouldn’t date anyone who isn’t on facebook. However, Dubai engineer Ryan Young says an image portrayed on the site may not be a true reflection of a person anyway.
He says: “Among my greatest fears is that a potential employer might find me and judge me by my profile, which is perhaps the biggest reason to get off the book. I like to be in control of the image I project, and that’s not a luxury facebook allows. It’s also an absolute tedious waste of time, of course.”
Explaining how he’s been “on and off” facebook - now at an off period - Ryan says he doesn’t feel comfortable with all the information out there, and always ends up closing his account. He adds: “Moving to Dubai a year ago was a good chance to start again but maybe I’m off it for good now.
“People say it’s useful for keeping in touch, but anyone I really care about can send me an email. I don’t like being judged for how few crazy party pictures I’ve been tagged in.
“But I don’t like it when I wake up to find I’ve been tagged in compromising positions at last night’s party. It’s easier to just forget it all and close your account.”
Psychologist Devika Singh insists people shouldn’t be judged on whether they choose to have a facebook account or not.
Singh, from the Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre, says the time to be concerned about a person’s mental state is when they have no friends at all, whether online or real.
She explains: “I don’t believe it is possible to evaluate a person’s psychological health based on their preference to subscribe to a website like facebook. There are several reasons why individuals prefer to stay off it, ranging from privacy needs to time constraints, to a lack of technology skills.
“Facebook is one form of creating and maintaining social connections but this need can be met in various ways.
“However, someone who withholds from all forms of social interaction and engagement may be experiencing severe psychological mal-adjustment.
“But there are plenty of absolutely normal people who aren’t on facebook.”