Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's Up with Face Book?

I have been an inactive member of Facebook now for about 18 months. By "inactive," I mean I do not have a picture, a status, a friend, a wall . . . anything. I'm just "there."

But the other day, I noticed that I had a ton of new friend requests; like something had notified a bunch of people that I am "there." Until a couple weeks ago, I would get maybe one or two friend requests a month. Maybe it's that all you could see on my profile was my "recent" activity which was joining. Since there's no date, it might seem like I really have recently joined. So I deleted the part that said I joined, so as not to confuse any more people. Oh, and also the part that says I joined a network, so that people wouldn't think, Oh, yes, that's the Sarah Cowart and then click "Request Friendship." (Horrors! That would be awful.)

Why I'm only "there" on FB (or what I like to call "In-Your-Face-Book") is a complicated subject, but has to do with me trying to wrestle and hash out the relational and other ramifications of such technology (blogs have some of these ramifications, too!). My sisters know all-too-well my Facebook aversion, as I continue to pepper them with annoying questions about how it works and if it's risky like I think it is.

And the way some people seem to use Facebook is a real turn-off for me (as I've heard it is for others as well). Kinda like I don't appreciate blogs that only put the wonderful side of life out there along with the suggestion that this perfect side is all that is there. Or the "life is harder for me than for anyone else" posts de drama And I have to admit, I believe my posts probably have both of these general tones at times, but I hope people understand that I often use my blog as a diary to decompress and share things I won't probably tell most people in person, but in no way does it represent the entirety of my attitude or activities . . . but back to my point about FB . . . , I really don't want to use it as a way to show off or complain (Are you thinking, "yeah, right!"?) or make it a popularity contest (Hmmmm. Just how many friends can I have?) or a blow-by-blow of every event in my life.

When I do become an active member, I won't be posting about my 5 a.m. morning run or my 3rd loaf of stone-ground whole-wheat bread I've just pulled out of the oven while playing the harp and teaching my advanced-for-her-age child French and Algebra (she has such thick hair, by the way!) or that I'm taking a break from my doctoral thesis to fly (on wings I just weaved on my silk loom) to Angola on a mission of mercy.

Nor do I hope to post every time I have to clean throw up off a piece of furniture or other surface, hose off a blow-out, wash a dish, drink a cup of coffee, scrub a toilet, trim a hangnail or check Facebook. (Though now that I think of it, it would be kinda fun to keep updating my status, day after day: "Checking Facebook" and "Updating my status.")

Until I am completely comfortable with the Pandora's box that will open by my becoming "active," and what exactly my point will be in doing so, I will continue to just be "there" on In-Your-Face-Book. And since a great deal of my dilemma has to do with accepting friends (so many to choose from. . . and all of them seem to be saying, "Pick me! Pick me!". . . I'm totally exaggerating. I don't have that many requests.), I will wait to accept even one friend until I am fully prepared to deal with the consequences of my truly "joining" the community. (It should not be offensive to any "potential friends" that I have not accepted them, since clearly on my profile, I have none to begin with, right?)

I wonder if there are people out there who share my caution in joining such a consequential community. I have my reasons. Am I alone?


Karin said...

We have already talked extensively about FB, so I won't re-hash all of that here. But, I will reiterate how I think FB has been more of a curse than a blessing in my life. For months I have considered getting rid of my account (within weeks of having created, ironically), and I think I would be the better for it. However, the one reason I have enjoyed it is it allows acquaintances (which may turn into friendships) to form much more quickly, which I appreciate at this time in my life. I like that I can meet someone and feel a mutual connection with them, and then we can find each other on FB and arrange a meet-up within a matter of days. Acquaintanceships like this tend to be much slower to form when relying on phone and email, because there is a certain level of relationship most people want to get to before we will exchange phone numbers and email addresses. FB by-passes all of that, for better or for worse.

I think that if you are having this much of a debate about it and for this long than it is probably best that you do not take that step to go public - I think you, in particular, will regret it, and will for months or years struggle with whether you should keep it or get rid of it.

Love you!

Karin said...

YEA! NO MORE FACEBOOK! I have a life again :)

Sarah said...

Congrats on your freedom, Kar! I feel even less of a pull to join, now that you're not there!