I never thought of my choice to abstain from Facebook as “media refusal,” but after further consideration, that’s really what it is. However I feel my reasonings are a bit different than the ones mentioned in the three-part Flow articles. When I did have Facebook a number of years ago, it would regularly be the second tab opened up on my browser. As much as I hate to admit it, perhaps I was addicted to that social networking site.
More than the time-wasting aspect that Stacer brings up in her articles, my problem was taking in too much information that I neither cared about nor wanted to see. In fact, a lot of the stuff I would take in on Facebook would just get me down in addition to waste my time. I did what I knew was best for my own sanity and got off. Some years later I got hooked on Twitter, but there at least, I enjoy what I see.
In these and different types of virtual worlds, there are various interactions that take place, as each has its own specialty. Facebook is a lot of personal life promotion from what I recall. Like a “Summer ’09, how I miss you!” with a bunch of beach and sunset pictures of friends, or other photos from social gatherings—a kind of proof that says, “Yes, I have an awesome social life.” In addition, I feel Facebook caters this kind of interaction that encourages people to share information about their personal lives, with specific sections in the profile to fill in favorite movies, books, quotes as well as where one attended school, works, and a relationship status.
Shifting gears to another virtual world like that of a forum (I don’t know how popular these are anymore, but I remember there was a time when people I knew were quite into it). Forums existed for niche groups to talk about their interests, whether that be a specific sports team, television show, video game, etc. On forums, people could be totally anonymous and no other soul on the forum would know of another’s personal information.
Or even take a look at the world of mommy bloggers. Some might keep their and their children’s identities a secret, while still forming relationships with other mom bloggers across the web. If there was ever a big organized offline meet up for all the mom bloggers in a particular location, the identity would become known and perhaps effect the future online interactions between people in that virtual context.
The virtual world is vast and has much to offer to all kinds of people. We all just need to discover which niche of the virtual world fits us and our needs best.