Marc Hartzman's Facebook Substitute, 'The Anti-Social Network,' Calls For Privacy

12/09/2011 11:23 am ET | Updated Dec 09, 2011

It's time to stop sharing, according to one author. At least when it comes to Facebook's 500 million users and their mundane moments and passing thoughts that he says are better left unspoken.

The insurrection against Mark Zuckerberg's creation comes from a modern Luddite (albeit one with an active Facebook account) decrying how dominant the site has become. His weapon against Facebook's prevalence -- a blank book.

"I'm amazed at the kind of things people do share. Everyone is open with what they do, and they're waiting for instant gratification on the fact that they just had lunch," said advertising copywriter Marc Hartzman. "It's very narcissistic."

Hence, "The Anti-Social Network," a glorified diary reminding people to share the details of their lives and their innermost thoughts with no one at all.

To get the creative juices flowing, the diary offers fortune-cookie wisdom and humorous quips about the digital age on the margins of pages. "Spend less time online and you'll have more to write about," says one. "This book will not suggest other books you might like," says another.

Hartzman -- who is 37, lives in New Rochelle, N.Y., and has also written a book on sideshows and carnival characters -- turned against Facebook after realizing that he was spending too much time on the site.

"It's inane posts and OMG puppy posts," he kvetched to HuffPost. "It's one thing to reconnect once in a while with people, but if I haven't seen them in 20 years, I probably don't care how that specific day is going."

It should be noted that Hartzman is also a HuffPost blogger and was once a freelance writer for AOL Weird News.

The rise of Facebook doesn't exactly equal the demise of Western civilization, he admits. It is useful for occasionally reconnecting with long lost buddies and for professional promotion, which is how he's marketing his book.

But Hartzman said the drop-off in phone calls from friends and family on his birthday is due to the terse shout-outs people give each other on the social network.

Another charge in the indictment against Facebook and other sites like Twitter and Foursquare is that Hartzman has a growing pile of unread books, because he's spent too much time networking.

"I find myself reading people's posts, which don't do me any good," Hartzman said. "I'm not going to be a big evangelist against it, but it's not a daily necessity."

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