Poll: Do you use social networking sites?





I ask because I am quickly becoming the only person in my family without a Facebook account. It’s becoming a bit of a joke—here I am the big web guy, and I’m the one that looks like the Luddite.

But here’s the thing: I have a pretty specific and (I think) good reason for not having one.

A little over eight years ago, I was doing pretty much the same work. CF4.5 was just out, and I was merrily tromping along writing CFX tags for everything that CF couldn’t do natively. No Java. No components. CFX was the only game in town. One of them in particular happened to be a wee bit on the controversial side. It got taken down and put back on the DevEx by Allaire and Macromedia staff more times than I could count.

I hadn’t intended it to be a big deal, but some people really got their Underoos in a wad.

Fast-forward a year or so. I was now working for a different employer and no longer had a need for that particular CFX. I still got the occasional email about it, but for the most part is was pretty much abandonware.

Then I go on a trip to NYC to meet some guys that my current employer was going to do some contracting with. It’s all fun and games until we sit down in front of a workstation to have me help them with some code integration issues they were having.

At which point they get this really funny inside-joke look on their faces and whip out a stack of NDAs. I’m a little taken aback by this, as our companies already had a working agreement, but this is the middle of the DotCom era, so it’s not surprising. I ask what’s with all the extra paperwork.

Before you came up we did a bit of searching for your name. It turns out you are quite the hacker.

From the tone, I could tell that he wasn’t using “hacker” the same way I would, and it was intended to be a not-so-subtle insult.

Tells us about this tag you wrote. And why you think we should trust you with our code.

Not so subtle. Very much an attack. It was made crystal clear to me that my actual reasons for writing that tag didn’t matter in the slightest—all that mattered was the picture they had in their heads. Long story short, since then I have been ultra-conservative and paranoid about my online presence.

(And, quite frankly, the trappings that come with social networking make me want to poke out my eyes with pointy sticks. The inanity of one-sentence communications makes me weep for the future of our race. One of the only things that got us out of the trees to begin with was our ability to pass knowledge on to generations so that each new person didn’t have to learn everything by dumb luck. And yet, here we are, throwing out our cultural inheritance of storytelling because no one can be bothered to pay attention for more than 60 seconds.)

Thus, I am just about the only person in my family without a Facebook page.

But, given the attitude shown two paragraphs ago, that may be a good thing.