Friday, July 15, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Facebook

As the title says, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

I was first introduced to FB via my younger brother. It was probably 2004? I resisted the temptation to join at first but realized if I wanted to keep in touch with my sibling I’d better plunge in.

Soon I found myself finding old friends and relatives whom over time I had lost touch with. It was great! To reconnect with people I had almost forgotten about. But before I knew it, I had over 300 friends on my list and the messages and notes that appeared in the status bars started to overwhelm me.

Who cares if someone is playing Farmville? And really how many pictures of what you ate for dinner do we need to see? Not to pick on anyone in particular but this is how I began to feel.

I love email. I belong to a wonderful group of online ladies that have been corresponding through mailing lists since the days of E-groups and before. Some of them I’ve known for over 10 years now. Over time Facebook has been added to all our lives. It helped us connect even more. And it was great. But I still preferred the more personal and longer letters written via email.

Lately on FB you have to deal with hackers and spammers. Be wary of clicking on a strange looking video on your friend’s page, or you just may end up viewing something you wished you hadn’t and/or sent the same thing to everyone on your address list.  I check in maybe once a day and always have well over 300 new status updates I could scroll through. I get through maybe 20 a day. So I miss a lot. What exactly I miss I probably don’t want to know. 

Everywhere I turn I’m being told to “like this on FB”, join this fan page or that one. I’m told that if I want to be successful in any of my direct sales businesses, I need to have fan pages and business pages and this-n-that kind of pages. To be honest it overwhelms me. My hat is off to those who can do this. Sometimes I get myself into trouble by making flippant comments like “don’t they have a life?”.  Maybe it’s jealousy on my part. I wish I could figure it out and get into the groove. I wish I could just be assimilated and realize it’s the next wave of the future.  I wish it didn’t take time to have to learn it all.

Everyday I threaten to quit FB. Then, I get a request or see a picture of my best friend from 5th grade. Or my uncle says “hi” and my other friend from high school sends me pictures of her grandchild. And I see the benefits of FB. So I stick around.

And now there is Google+. I’m fighting hard not to be assimilated into that one. But my email box is not as full anymore. My friends are slowly drifting towards these other social networking sites, leaving me behind in the dust. If I want to stay in touch I just may have to succumb. No matter how much I want to stay in a simpler life.

I wonder if this is how our great- grandparents felt when the telephone came and letters were no longer the only way to communicate across the miles?