Saturday, December 20, 2008

Facebook and I Are On The Rocks

Facebook and I have been out twice together, and frankly, our relationship isn't working out very well. It may not last.

I took the initiative, of course, going to and setting up a profile. But Facebook came on strong right away. Once I'd let it slip what university I'd happen to go to, Facebook inundated me with information. Look! Here are all the people you went to college with! Here are their thumbnails! Click here for more!

I was like, Whoa, easy there, fella! A quiet living girl like me isn't ready for this kind of tsunami of memory, nostalgia, and mixed feelings. Let's take things a little more slowly. K?

OK. So I went back and deleted my university information. Then I deleted, um, pretty much everything informative, and I set my privacy settings to "Nobody should even know I exist, ever."

Having set the proper tone, I was emboldened enough to start participating in Facebook. Baby steps. I added a friend. I checked out the little apps like "bookshelf" or whatever it is where you can list the books you're reading. I considered what photos would be good. I read my friend's "wall."

But even at this pace, Facebook was too much for me: too indiscriminating, too much, too light and heavy at the same time.

Honestly, thinking about all the people I am sort of friendly with, or have been friends with in the past, or sort of like or find interesting, or have liked and found interesting in the past, all put together in one place where I would put information about what I am doing -- well, it just wigs me out. Thinking about it would be like a full-time job for me.

Also, there's the problem of friend requests you don't want to fulfill. Everyone I know on Facebook says the same thing about this: you just don't answer, and the person never knows if you decided to reject them or if you just didn't get around to answering or even if you're still on Facebook.

Really? Because this is hard to picture. I'm thinking everyone knows when they've been "declined." I guess people just don't mind it too much. I don't know.

Anyway, after a couple of months I tried again with Facebook. I added a new friend. I looked at the new friend's cute cat pictures. I read the first friend's "wall."

But it just wasn't happening. I'm just not up to encountering all this information all at once.

If Facebook could be a little quieter, a little gentler, a little more circumspect, we might have had a good thing going. But you know what they say. People don't change. You gotta take them as they are.

I'd check out his brother myspace, but I have a feeling he's just more of the same.


chris said...

I think you're missing Facebook's good points. E-mail has become pretty personal. And Facebook is a fairly impersonal alternative.

There are different expectations for a "wall" post, and an e-mail. A wall post can be small, and really casual. On the other hand, an e-mail should be more than two words or two sentences, and formal.

I could never write an e-mail that only says "happy birthday", but I could write that on Facebook, no problem.

Also when you write someone an e-mail you expect a reply. Facebook isn't like that, which is kinda nice. I don't want to start a dialogue when I'm wishing someone a Merry Christmas.

And Facebook is good for irregular contact. Every now and again I want to say "hello" to an old friend. But I don't want to put the effort into an e-mail.

And who isn't curious what old friends are doing?

Admittedly, Facebook is pretty boring. And all the applications suck. But it's a nice way to drop someone a note.

Patricia said...

Fair enough. It is less personal than email, I am willing to grant you that.

I like the "page" aspect of Facebook. It's the "social networking" aspect I can't handle. Or, rather, let's be precise: it's the networking aspect of the "social networking" I can't handle. I'd like a Facebook that has no "friendship" but just "pages."

So, like, something totally unlike Facebook.