AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Facebook is Unofficially Officially the New “Normal”

Posted by tarynbunger on August 7, 2012

Meeting a person without a Facebook profile is a rare occurrence these days, particularly in our chosen field of communications.  But recent reports are suggesting that people without Facebook pages may be more than holier-than-thou resistors, extremely productive individuals or just folks with IRL priorities: they might be “suspicious.”

Several outlets including Forbes, The Daily Mail and Mashable have reported on the emerging consensus among employers and psychiatrists that Facebook abstainers are disengaged from the new normal of healthy social behaviors.  And the opposite of being “normal,” of course, is being “abnormal,” which is indicative of a kind of social ostracism that has come to be equated with suspicion.

It seems that if you don’t have a Facebook profile, society might think you’re weird, employers might think you’re hiding something and psychiatrists might think you’re crazy or worse, dangerous.  All three articles point out the rather extreme observation that two of the most notorious recent criminals, the shooters from the tragedies in Colorado and Norway, did not belong to Facebook.

This makes me uncomfortable, partly because a Facebook profile is voluntary and mostly because it is a business.  Regardless of how inundated our culture is with a particular service or brand, it seems so very Orwellian to automatically assume that abstainers are suspicious or dangerous, occupying the unhealthy fringes of our society.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, because I just creeped myself out with that last paragraph.



4 Responses to “Facebook is Unofficially Officially the New “Normal””

  1. jmillili said

    I think it’s an interesting take on social abstainers, but I agree that you can’t just automatically pin those avoiders as dangerous. Sometimes people just need a break from the digitally-crazed society we currently live in so if someone decides to stay off FB, Twitter or whatever other social platform I wouldn’t necessarily generalize them in such a dark category or go so far as to say he or she is a threat to society.

    • bn2954 said

      I agree! I really do not think its fair to categorize people so extremely for not using social media. I can name quite a few people in my life who don’t use it. The prime reason being that they just do not see it as authentic. They would rather focus time on real relationships not digital ones. I admire it actually. I think a lot of people stay on Facebook, Twitter etc., Because of FOMO.

      • jorogrady said

        One of the interesting things I noticed about the coverage of the Aurora shooting suspect, James Holmes, is how many news outlets commented on his lack of social media in a way that made it appear that not having a Facebook, or really any online footprint, was indicative of a larger issue in Holmes’ psyche. For example, CNN tackled the issue head on in an article called “Why did Colorado shooting suspect avoid social media?” ( The quote below struck me as particularly interesting in terms of relating not using social media to being “not normal.”

        “We could ask the same questions about the lack of Web presence that we could for anyone who isolates themselves. Was he socially isolated in all senses?” asked Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center.

      • bn2954 said

        Did you see the recent news buzz about the “Holmies”? These are very active social media users – spreading their ideas publicly. Scary.

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