So, a couple of things. My apologies to my two, maybe three readers who are so kind to follow this blog- this is my first post since January when I vowed to post at least once per week. Yes, one-half year ago. To this I will just say that outside of cyber space I am hugely reliable, so I am sure I have spoken with you on the telephone, had lunch a few times, and no doubt have a regular text thread happening with you as we speak, so thank you for sticking it out. Also, this post comes at the end of a long, super fun weekend that I swore I would be exhausted from (it’s way past my bedtime) but, I drank a diet soda at 7pm and yep, wide awake. Lame, I know.
I recently joined Facebook. This is goes completely against my years-long stance on not joining Facebook. Deep. Sigh…
Here’s the thing about it, now that I have been on it a mere 30 days, give or take a few, it is all the things I suspected it would be and most of its aspects are exactly why I said I would never join.
It keeps me up past my bedtime and delays my morning routine. (Something may have happened while I was sleeping!)
It shares everything that everyone you Facebook Friend shares, posts, likes, and dislikes (maybe you can’t actually dislike something, as I said, I’m new). What’s more? If you tag someone, you become privy to all of their Facebook Friends’ likes, comments, blah, blah, blah even when they aren’t your Facebook Friend.
It suggests you Facebook Friend Facebook Friends of Facebook Friends. (Just read that slowly one more time.)
The people I am Facebook Friends with are my actual real friends and have been pretty much my whole life. (This is where it is useful and fun for me-I like learning about what’s happening with faraway friends and family.)
You can unfriend your Facebook Friends by clicking, “unfriend”. That’s just, ew. Ew. I mean, how many people have actually been hurt by Facebook Friends that they confused with actual friends who decided to “unfriend” them because they post too many cat pictures? Or what about the people who are your actual friends but then after they become your Facebook Friend you see a side of them that is kind of unexpected, but unexpected in a strange and unsettling way? (FYI, this has yet to happen to me because I choose my Facebook Friends very carefully, much as in real life.) I am thinking about the people who rely on a community of strangers to validate anything from a clothing choice to parenting styles, to belief systems. Those folks who take social cues from people they have actually never been social with. In my nearly 40 years I have seen friends come and go, all at the necessary times throughout my life- the friends who have “gone” aren’t my “unfriends”; rather they are just friends I used to know. I would happily greet them in a chance meeting, or look forward to an impromptu reunion. Imagine running into someone you used a button on, and by clicking it you made them your “unfriend”.
My Facebook experience has been limited, I get that. My social network is not as broad and sweeping as my handful of Facebook Friends and maybe I am just behind the curve on this one. I mentioned before that it provides a real connection to actual friends you are limited to see in real-live person. This is important. This is real. But for me, it is easy to make a distinction between the necessity of real human interaction with friends and the snippets of virtual moments that are shared through a photo memory, blog post, or news article. I remember dial-up for goodness sake! My children, however will/do live in a much different place, surrounded by virtual interactions and memory sharing. As a family, we encourage lots of playtime with others, plenty of hand-written thank you’s and FaceTime calls with our long-distance friends and family. We talk about the internet, how we are using it and what it means to do so.
No doubt, the instant gratification that comes with a “like” or a ” friend request” feels nice. The reassurance that comes with a kissy-face emoji might make the difference between a good morning and a bad one. But, for me, I think it will just suck when and if one of them are unfriended.