The Last of the Facebook and Twitter Holdouts

The Last of the Facebook Holdouts

They're a rare breed, some might even say an endangered species.

But as social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter continue to build populations surpassing those of many countries, the last of the Web 2.0 holdouts remain proud to be freewheeling free agents.

Day in and day out, the invitations to join the social network nattering pour in.

But, especially as members gripe about Facebook's new facelift, its terms of service controversy and, now, Twitter's tendency to buckle under the strain of a swarm of new users, the unfriended and tweet-free are relieved to be independent.

"I receive emails from friends and family, requesting to join these networks almost daily. At first I did feel pressured to join but I quickly got over that. I now reject every invitation to join and I don't feel bad about it," said Oscar Salgado, 37, a social worker from Honolulu.

Danielle Carter, 29, an office administrator in New York agreed.

"I certainly see the draw and the appeal from everyone around me who's a part of Facebook, but I appreciate that I don't have any of the problems they can bring," she said.

Web 2.0 Teetotalers in the Minority

According to a March report from research firm Nielsen, two-thirds of the planet's Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites.

Across the world, activity in "member communities" accounts for one in every 11 minutes spent online, the report said. In the United Kingdom, the average is one in every six minutes. In Brazil, it's one of every four minutes.

Given such ubiquity, the nonconformist anti-networkers could seem like curiosities to the people accustomed to sharing every detail of their lives online. But the Web 2.0 teetotalers just don't understand what the fuss is all about and couldn't be happier on their own.

"Some of the great joys in life are meeting new people in person and people watching and spending time with my kids and writing," said David Vicker, a 37-year-old freelance media producer who lives in the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo.

Privacy, Personal Relationships Too Important to Sacrifice

Given his profession, Vicker said he "should be as socially networked as anybody."

But though he's been told time and again how he might find more job opportunities online, he said he's not buying it. He said he's actually attempted to set up social networking accounts but quickly abandoned them.

"I value personal relationships to build business. I want to know the people who hire me," he said. "I've also run into an elitist attitude about social networking -- that you have to set up your account in a certain way and create a certain 'presence' to be taken seriously. I got over cliques in junior high, thank you."

Others say it's simply a matter of valuing their privacy.

Katie Koch, 27, and her husband, Paul, are both pastors in their small Minnesota community. Although they often feel like they're out of the loop because they're not members of any social network, Koch said they feel like they're in the public spotlight enough as it is.

"Our lives are very public. We're always up in front of people," she said. "If we put all of our lives up there [and] pictures of ourselves, then suddenly people are going to be able to see it and we won't have any privacy."

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