First you are coerced to join. Peer pressure. Enticed by all your friends who are having the time of their lives. So, reluctantly you join. You publish a status update or two and you get likes and comments. How affirming! Friend requests appear from all points of your past and beyond. Some of the profile pictures on these requests require you to closely examine them and on occasion reference a high school yearbook to determine who is friending you. On each request you think carefully but you relent. No one wants to hurt someone’s feelings, right? Even a possible stranger’s feelings.
Then you discover privacy controls, or at least the first set of them. You are relieved that your profile no longer shows up on a Google search and only friends of friends can friend you. Yet, the friend requests keep coming and now you are sending them. You figure after 15 years that guy you dated briefly in high school will be cool with you being friends now. You find every family member, distant and immediate, and list them on your page by their relationship. It becomes evident that some people are just trying to accumulate friends. You indignantly opine to others how selective that you are on your friend requests. Little do you know, at this point, all those friend requests that you are responding to by clicking “not now” can see your profile. Yes, that is right, if you leave those requests in limbo they might as well be friends. So much for being kind. I am sure that you know that no good deed goes unpunished.
Your social network now takes over your phone. It is constantly at your fingertips. You are never out of the loop.
Now, you have 600+ friends. Some friends are people you met for five minutes at a social gathering, at the beach on vacation, or at a friend’s wedding. People you will never see again. You have gone from posting something once a week to regaling all 600 of your closest friends with what you had for lunch, pictures of said lunch, your child’s grossest behaviors, how tired you are, and how long the line is at the grocery store. You are happy it is Monday and also when it is Friday. Or you are miserable all the time. You click on the word “like” no less than 50 times per week and every one knows you are disappointed in the Republican primary race. You take pictures of yourself in the front seat of your car, in front of the Grand Canyon, or at a concert and post them. You are checking in at home.
You realize that people who hate you, have been mean to you, or people that you were once married to are on Facebook and are friends with your friends. This, of course, means that they can see your stuff when your friends interact with you. Now, you have to block people. It is getting complicated.
Please let me welcome you to the Social Networking Vortex. Where productivity and peaceful thought go to die.
I am guilty. Guilty of most of the atrocities above. However, I am proud to say that I have never participated in any game on Facebook. I have to maintain some dignity considering at one point I had nearly 400 pictures of nothing but food on my page.
Facebook started as a way to keep in touch with the Cosmic Sisters after I moved away from them. However, when I left home on my Midwestern adventure Facebook took on a whole new value. I was able to constantly communicate with the good folks at home with pictures and witty status updates. In this first year I have to say that it has helped bridge the gap and help maintain a connection to home. However, I have recently realized that of the hundreds of friends that I actually only communicate directly with a few handfuls via other means. Making one wonder – if we only talk on Facebook then are we really friends or are we just spying on each other? If I have to ask this question then do I want to spend excessive (I would not want to know how much time I have logged on Facebook over the last year – it’d be scary) amounts of time reading about you, your family, your dog, your misery, etc.? Then why am I doing this?
Ruby’s tween spawn RG posted the following on his page:
“The notion ‘to friend’ on Facebook makes no sense, I mean, when you are a kid, you keep it down to your FRIENDS, but then, when you become an adult, you have to ‘friend’ your crazy co-workers, complete a-hole boss, so, can’t I just click a “know” button?”
Out of the mouth of babes.
So, despite my enjoyment of Facebook and all its help to me during my move I am backing off, at least partially. My life needs to be lived wide open. Experiencing things without the need to constantly keep 600+ people informed of my every move might be liberating. Also, God has blessed me with lots of things to do and a super rad hobby that I love – this blog – and I am going to leverage those things to the max.
The compromise is that I am going all-social-media with this lovely bloggery. It is Pretty is now on Facebook and Southern Girl is putting her personal page in park. So, if you are feeling up to it and I have not offended you please click Like for the 51st time this week on my blog page. A thousand thanks.
I still refuse to tweet. No.