Anyone that has known me for more than a minute knows that I have rather great disdain for Facebook.

It's not that I dislike people. I certainly have nothing against social media as a concept. I enjoy sharing my thoughts (albeit not in rapid-fire, sometimes nonsensical status updates but, rather, in actual paragraphs). I love to write and take photos. I've also worked exclusively online for a good number of years and have hired, supervised, and communicated with work teams exclusively through websites, forums, instant messaging and the like.

All things considered, I should have been beating down the door from day one in my haste to create a Facebook presence.

Nope. Not for me.

The one thing I value more than anything is my privacy. Facebook has more than a sketchy reputation where privacy is concerned and that grates on my very last nerve.

Facebook was also squarely at the root of a failed relationship. He found it a convenient way to try to hook up with "the one that got away."

It's good to stand by one's beliefs and principles and, to date, I've done that. I've remained strong as I've been asked at every turn, "Are you on Facebook?"... "Can I find you on Facebook?"... "Can you Facebook me that information?" I've gotten some pretty interesting blank stares when I've said, "No."

But, lately, what bothers me most is that I am out of the loop on a number of family matters - and some of them include my daughters. I find things out LONG after the fact. Example: My older daughter is scheduled to attend an open house where she hopes to go to grad school. Being that the university is many hours from where she currently lives and works, she needed a place to stay the night before. She put out a blast on Facebook, asking if any friends or family might be able to help. Turns out both my ex-brother-in-law and one of my cousins offered to let her stay with them. Both live too far from the university for it to be feasible. She will stay with a friend she knows from school. Great. Plan set.

HOWEVER. I have not seen my ex-brother-in-law since he left my sister after waking up, a year and a half into their marriage, saying "I don't want to be married." I have not spoken to my cousin since she was "too busy" to visit our maternal grandmother before she passed away - leaving us to watch her crestfallen face as we told her daily, "No, we don't have any news from her, Gran... we're sorry."

I just don't need or want to have contact with some people. I admit it. The people I love, the people who share my life, are never far from me -- whether I see them in person or contact them through other electronic means. I've just never interacted with them on Facebook.

Now, I feel like I'm caught in a sort of cross-fire. These folks are contacting, discussing or otherwise communicating with my daughters, my sister, my brother-in-law. Part of me thinks I should get involved and at least be better apprised of what is going on, who is saying what to who... that kind of thing.

Then, my privacy meter goes off full-tilt and I feel that overwhelming desire to keep to myself and maintain whatever amount of "personal space" any of us has left in this wired world.

So, tell me... what's better in regards to Facebook, in your opinion: the devils you know or the devils you don't know? Do you maintain a profile just so you can know what's going on within your own circle of family and friends? Do you share your life with them, in return, or are you more of an observer than a participant?

I really need to work through how I feel about this ... and how I should handle it going forward.

+Facebook | +Social-networking | +Social-Media | +Family-contacts | +Keeping-in-touch | +Privacy | +Lack-of-privacy | +Personal-Space | +Out-of-the-loop