“I am old-school in the personal touch way,” said Tomek Kott, who lives in Silver Spring and has outsourced many of his digital communication duties to his wife, Anne. “All my friends from high school have also met my wife, and they’re friends with her; my wife ‘friended’ them or whatever it’s called.”

Kott and others like him are social networking refuseniks: people in their 20s or early 30s who have gone off the grid, eschewing the ecology of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like. In Washington, refuseniks are not exactly operating in isolated, Luddite worlds: One is in a dance company, another is a rapper/hip-hop singer, another is a Georgetown undergraduate…

Yet even as the refuseniks assert a lofty stance on privacy and cling to precious — perhaps enviable — face-to-face communication, they inevitably rely on friends or relatives who are members of the very sites they protest.

Anne Kott said she is happily married to the man she met at Bucknell University, where she first joined Facebook. However, she cannot help but feel as though she is in his employ.

“I am his Facebook secretary,” she complained.