He gets quite a bit of flak for being allegedly elistist in his dislike of Facebook and for showing his privilege. I really wish people would stop using “privilege” as the insult du jour on the Internet. I am beginning to dislike the term “privilege” as much as I once disliked “unsozial”, which was the term everybody at my old school who refused to utterly conform was tagged with.
And while I don’t have the same degree of geek privilege as John Scalzi (though I did handcode the first version of this site), I largely agree with him here. IMO Facebook doesn’t offer anything that you cannot get better elsewhere on the internet. I don’t like it and I don’t use it. Part of the reason are intrusiveness as well as the privacy and rights issues. But my main reason for not using Facebook is one that many users consider a feature rather than a bug, namely the whole “connect with people you haven’t been in touch with in ages” thing. Because there are times when you have reasons for not remaining in touch with people and I don’t really want to be bothered by those people on Facebook. I also don’t need the drama of refusing a friend request by someone I don’t want to deal with. And anyone who wants to find me, can find and contact me here. Finally, since I am a teacher, I don’t want to deal with the question of what to do about friend requests from students. Though as far as I know, most of my students prefer the homegrown competitor SchülerVZ.
What is more, none of my elderly relatives uses Facebook anyway, not even the ones who are computer and internet-savvy. When the recent 50 billion deal was announced, I had to explain to my Dad what Facebook was and what is was supposed to be good for. And my Dad definitely knows how to use the internet. I’ve had a similar conversation with my aunt and uncle (not internet-savvy, but computer-users) about the German competitor SchülerVZ, for whom another nephew of theirs worked for a while*. Those conversations always go something like, “Yes, but what is it good for? What does it do?”
There is a new online magazine called Popular Linguistics. Not a whole lot of stuff there yet, but it definitely looks promising. Might also be a useful resource for students, if I ever end up teaching introductory linguistics again.