I've done it. I've caved in. I'm on Facebook.
Like it or not--OK, I don't like it--I realized that it is more or less necessary that I join the social network. If I'm going to be on it, though, I'm going to do it on my terms, as long as I can figure out all of the fine controls and settings that I need to set. For the time being I have it in a relatively locked down mode, I think, and I've posted minimal information about myself. (For now I'm not including anything related to religion, politics, and relationship status.) We'll see what horrors I discover as I get familiarized with the site.
I do not intend to connect with work colleagues or students. It may sound like a harsh line to draw, but I'd like to keep my place of business separate. (Alumni will be on a case-by-case basis.) As far as I can tell, Facebook doesn't allow one to distinguish between "friends", so the easiest solution is to abide by a blanket rule. If it's something I have to explain to these people, so be it. Honestly, the potential infringing of my privacy by these groups is the primary reason why I've resisted joining in the first place.
I do not intend to friend anyone and everyone from my past. I realize that's how most people operate on Facebook, as though they're collecting former classmates and acquaintances like baseball cards, but that doesn't feel like a way I'm comfortable with doing things. Will I make some people angry? Perhaps.
I don't intend to publicize my presence on Facebook, and at least for now I don't intend to search aggressively to find people on there. (Yes, I realize there's an inherent contradiction in me blogging about it, but how many of you know who I am?) I will fess up to being curious about how many or few friend requests I receive. I suspect it will be toward the lower end of the scale, which would probably be a relief rather than having to make a bunch of judgment calls. As for my family, we'll see how long it takes them to find out I now have an account. I'm not going to avoid them there. I just want to take my time with it. If family members want to friend me tonight, that's fine.
I'm not even sure how often I plan to post anything. I go into this very uncertain and skeptical about Facebook. I don't plan to post much in the way of photos, especially of me. I've disabled the tagging and face recognition options, not that there's much to recognize from my Mad Men-ized cartoon avatar.
I imagine this all sounds very passive-aggressive and controlling. Look, I've signed up for it grudgingly, and I'm trying to get these gripes somewhat out of my system rather than spew them on Facebook. I can see how quickly the site can produce massive amounts of inferiority and complicate who knows what. Aside from staying off of the site completely, which I'd done until today, the only things within my power are the information I provide and who I grant access to it. I intend to be vigilant in both areas for my own sake.
Or to put it another way: I really prefer Twitter so much more. Make whatever sense of that as you please.