Back away from the Facebook. Back slowly away.

I’ve been checking Facebook a couple times a day in recent weeks. I had been reluctant to get involved in it, then my friend Cindy got me interested again.

I dunno, folks. I think I’m about ready to walk away – again.

Have you noticed how many people seem compelled to publicize every action they take on the site? I have a friend whose mother was beaten when a burglar broke into her house. She hasn’t written about it on Facebook, but I’m seeing posts there about this awful occurrence – directed to my friend – including one from a mutual friend telling her she’s sorry she missed her call.

Sorry she missed her call. Okay. Well, I obviously don’t know if they’ve been playing phone tag for awhile and Friend #2 posted the message in addition to leaving phone messages. But to what end?

You call. You leave a message. Why post it on Facebook? And earlier, if all these friends were concerned about my friend and her mother – why didn’t they call her instead of posting on Facebook? (I finally came to my senses and just called her; when did I enter a world where that wouldn’t occur to me first?)

I have good friends who are married who occasionally leave messages for each other on Facebook. Is it just because they’re younger than I am and therefore more au courant and hip? Another friend spent a couple days posting names of old songs by the Temptations (or one of those old Motown groups) he must have seen recently in concert. To remind us of how good the music was? To point out the poetry or depth of the sentiment in song names? Now he’s posting numerous random quotes each day. No idea where he’s getting them – or why he’s posting them. *

The whole Facebook thing is starting to feel weird to me. So for me, at least, I think it’s time to lift my fingers from the keyboard and slowly back away from my desk – to walk away from the Facebook Wall of News, or whatever it’s called. I’m done.

And I didn’t even go into how I feel about the people sending each other hearts and flowers and playing games with farms, fish . . . .

Just walk away, people. Just. Walk. Away.

* Disclaimer! Did it sound like I was criticizing my friends? I might take it that way if the shoe were on the other foot. Facebook is a phenomenon that I’m questioning. There’s something about it that is making me feel a little queasy. But you know what? That’s just me. How others perceive and use Facebook is their business. I would just say – to ALL of us – let’s always be aware of when it makes sense to “post,” and when it’s better to make that personal contact. And sometimes you might want to ask yourself, is this something I really want to share with my friends, or am I just making noise?

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4 responses to “Back away from the Facebook. Back slowly away.

  1. I liked the comment in the NYT article about fb:

    “Facebook is the chatter of a big party, the performance of public cleverness, the facades and fronts and personas carefully crafted, the one honed line, the esprit de l’escalier; in short, the edited version.”

    The article itself is more about how phony facebook is, but for me fb was a great tool for organizing my 30th High School Reunion. Apparently, it gets more hits than Google. I like it, but I appreciate your point of view. The person on facebook is not the person. Merely an affectation.

    Here is the article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/fashion/15Culture.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=global-home

    • Thanks, Dave – great quote. My enjoyment of Facebook actually might increase if there was more “public cleverness” and less of the mundane. You and Cindy present a bright spot in what is usually a fairly uninteresting and disjointed dialogue.

  2. Cindy "BootyLove" Lum

    Yes Kate, I think you’re right. You ARE old. And I mean that in the kindest way, a way that supports your decision to dislike Facebook. No one should feel compelled to embrace every trend that sweeps the nation. What would our lives be like if we all had electric dishwashers, push button phones, and computers (remember how silly those trends were, Kate)?

    If you do change your mind and want to develop an appreciation for Facebook, let me know. Facebook allows me to publicize my garage sale, find my daughters babysitting or dog walking jobs, connects me to colleagues to discuss potential jobs, and keeps me in touch with my rather large network of friends and family through a single written paragraph rather than 47 phone calls which I don’t have time to make. Not to mention how Facebook allows me to peruse photos that remind me of good times past and learn more about friends of the present. On a very practical level, it allows me to instantly get a message to my husband when I cannot text or call because I am at work.

    Maybe what you need is a better network of people to be Facebook friends with. Might I recommend my buddy Larry Collins who is forever making me pee my pants with his posts or Barbara Billings whose literary challenges keep my brain sharp. Then there is also Ken Ilg who let his daughter talk him into dressing up as Lady Gaga to win a radio contest. He organized his campaign on Facebook and we all got to play. Facebook in my life can be just downright amusing.

    Whatever you decide, I am here to help. You can start by “hiding” people in your news feed who post about going to the john. Cheers, my friend. I’m happy to visit with you in the 20th Century anytime.

    • Ouch! Darling, I am a Luddite, indeed. Push button phones and microwaves . . . !

      But now that you mention it, maybe the quality of the posts really is the issue since I must admit, they are very rarely entertaining. I would far prefer hearing about someone’s quest to impersonate Lady Gaga over the news that the blueberries are ready in a town I never heard of in Michigan, at the home of a classmate I only knew vaguely 40 years ago. By all means, go for it and make pies and muffins and jams and have a ball. I wish them happy pickings and glorious baked goods – but do I care? Not so much.

      On the other hand, I don’t even have to know the guy in drag to be interested in the outcome of the contest.

      For the most part, the people posting on my page of news are people I certainly wish well – but I’m just not interested in what they’re saying. You and Dave are interesting, but it’s like listening to one side of a conversation. I almost feel like a voyeur sometimes.

      And – I guess i just don’t have many other real friends who use Facebook. Or like me, they’re lurking in the background, reading other people’s posts, and not sure what to do with the barrage of mostly random information thrown out there.

      Maybe I should get on and just start posting my own weird shit and see what happens. In the meantime – love you lots and I’ll see you tonight. Lemon squares are in the oven . . .

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