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Facebook: a response

Posted by Robin Abrahams  May 1, 2009 07:04 AM

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Oh, the wheel, the wheel, it spins faster and faster. Let's start addressing those Facebook issues, shall we? I'll probably do this in a series of posts because, obviously, that "write a single big one" idea didn't work out too well. I've got to cleanse myself of the notion that every piece of writing I do has to be some huge manifesto. You'd think blogging would have gotten me over that by now.

Anyway, one question our Facebook Dissenter (FD, we'll call her) has is this:

What do I say when people ask why I fell off the cyber-stalking bandwagon? I know...I know...I could simply say, "It's just not for me." But that belies the real reason and doesn't give credence to my true feelings.

And that, my dear, is precisely why it's the correct answer. You can write and publish and preach and vote and donate time and money and what all to make the world more the way you'd like it to be, but you don't moralize on people's choices in your personal life.

Otherwise, you risk turning into one of these people:

"Are you going to Casino Night?"
"No, I believe gambling is a sin and has addictive potential and destroys families, and I'm appalled that our company is making light of it."

"Do you want to go get pedicures this weekend?"
"Um, thanks, I have better things to do than let a woman of color kneel at my feet and groom me to please the patriarchal male gaze."

"Please pass the salt."
"If you'd quit buying that GM mush and get organic produce from the farmers' market, you'd see that real vegetables actually have a flavor and you wouldn't need to salt them so much."

We all know those people.

And the problem with those people isn't just that they're rude, it's that they are a bad advertisement for their cause. Also, they are hilariously predictable and eventually their friends and colleagues will stop actually communicating with them like you do with a person, and will start avoiding, or for the mischievous, feeding in phrases that are guaranteed to set off a rant.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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