The last person not on Facebook

That would be me, freelancer STEVE NETSKY reports from the future

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Maybe I should have signed up at the beginning when a friend sent me an invitation and I responded, "Steve has decided not to join Facebook."

I think she may have been mad at me for a while, but I just wasn't sure I'd be comfortable embracing a parallel existence in a world of my old and new pals where I'd be under constant pressure to be doing something fun, positive or worthy and then to describe it, as if I am hovering just above myself keeping track.

Don't people find themselves stretching the truth? Wouldn't I be lying right now if I said anything but "Steve is staring at his computer wondering where dust comes from."

But then Facebook took off and I watched, dumbstruck, as children, bosses and even dentists joined the club.

And now it's come to this. I'm the only person on Earth who is not on Facebook.

Back in 2010, they signed up their 500 millionth member. One thing led to another and now they are just short of seven billion.

One short.

Me.

Do I feel left out? Well, maybe a little. There are times when my unaffiliated status can become downright unpleasant.

Just this morning, my wife said to me, "So, what are you up to?"

"Uh, making a cup of coffee," I responded innocently enough.

"How am I supposed to know that?" she snapped, without looking up from her screen.

But there are still so many reasons not to join.

First of all, I really don't want to be friends with Robbie Towner. He pushed me around in kindergarten and how can I be sure he's matured? And yet, I don't want to offend Robbie or anyone else by denying them my friendship.

Then there's the problem of who to let peek into your life as it unfolds. Don't people worry about children, bosses and even their dentist reading about all of the wild parties they might attend, all of the liquor they might imbibe and those wacky things they might do when a jovial mood overcomes them? OK, that's not much of an issue for me, but I did play the grownup version of Apples to Apples once at a family gathering.

One more thing -- I don't want to sully my reputation.

You see, I've already made an appearance on Facebook. Apparently there's no rule against other people mentioning the other human being who lives here, on our planet. Someone sent me a picture that had been posted that shows me working with a guitar student at a summer camp where I once taught. I look young and confident, and there's a nice comment about me. Why mess with that?

If I were to join Facebook and start sharing all of life's mundane activities with my on-line entourage, I might quickly dilute my image. Call me antisocial, but I'd rather be known as a dashing young guitar player than as "the guy who makes coffee."

Of course, I realize that some of the people reading this -- make that all of the people reading this -- are Facebook members. I may not know what you're doing, but I know what you're thinking: He's never been on Facebook -- he has no idea what it's really like.

Yeah ... because you won't let me see what it's like unless I join.

But, like a "nail house" in Beijing, I intend to stand tall against the onslaught of excessive modernity. I'll go it alone, without a friend in the world. But if you want to join me, I could make you some coffee ...


Steve Netsky is a writer who works in the music industry and lives in Cambridge, Mass. ( stenet10@comcast.net ).


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