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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life, Minus Facebook

I have been posting quite irregularly in the past few weeks here, but that's nothing compared to how often I've signed into facebook. Yesterday was my first login in... months? I think? There was apparently a huge redesign that I completely missed.

I was too overwhelmed to sit and take in the new design, I did note that a few couples I know have gotten engaged recently. This leaves me wondering what happened to good old phone calls of "AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! HE PROPOSED!!!!" ??

Of course, this all leads to the important question of the Facebook era: When did facebook take the place of actually telling your friends about the important events in your life? Even a mass email seems more personal than just happening to see online that a particular friend is engaged or preggo or just ate a whole box of milkduds or whatever else big is going on in their lives.

I know, I know, facebook is great for catching up with old friends. But is it really? I was pretty iffy about facebook for quite a while. It was getting to the point if I got another invitation from someone I barely know to join their entourage or become the top friend of my former roommate's ex-best-friend, I was going to quit facebook for good. And finally someone I couldn't even remember meeting sent me the fatal invite to join a zombie war. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I. Quit. Facebook. Okay, I didn't actually delete my profile yet. But that's coming, when I get around to it.

The people I actually do care to hear from have managed, somehow or another to get in touch with me and vice versa in the past few months without facebook. And the ones I don't care about? Well, I've been doing fine without being spammed by updates about their life.

I have been finding that I have more than enough to keep up on when I attempt to follow an insane number of book blogs because of the amazing bloggers out there with fabulous blogs. (My Google Reader gives a groan).

And there is of course writing, and reading, and occassionally getting my lazy butt to the gym. Really, between all of that, it's incredible that my husband gets any attention from me at all.


Trish said...

Even texting bothers me because I wonder--why can't the person pick up the freakin' phone and call rather than have this weird back and forth short talk. I know, I know, sometimes you can't help but text, but my sister (16) can text with her eyes closed. So impersonal!!

I'm not signed up for facebook. I was on Myspace for about 2 weeks before I ditched it and started the blog. While it was mostly for me in the beginning, I feel more connected here than I did with the occasional "hey" on Myspace.

I hear ya!! Loud and clear.

Chris said...

I gave up on facebook loooong ago. I was all into facebook and myspace for awhile but they just got old for the same reason you're saying. It just diminishes relationships. I might check my facebook every 3 or 4 months now....and yeah, i was totally shocked by the redesign too...and I hate it, lol.

Andi said...

I don't love Facebook, but I do find it a great distraction from things. And since my students use it like we use letters, I stay on it to keep up with them in fresh ways. That said, it is a real time suck.

Lauryn said...

Today, as with most days, I read my Facebook feed before I read my good friends' blogs on my Google Reader. Your post makes me think, "Why DO I love Facebook so much?" It's true what you say about being able to interact with your "real" friends without needing the medium of Facebook.

I think I'm most drawn, though, to the ease of interacting with people I can't or don't have time to really spend time catching up with. I find Facebook messages more personal than text messages, so that's what I like to use.

Also, Facebook is by far the easiest way for me to share photos and view other people's. For example, this morning I got to look at and comment on the photos of a friend who recently moved to Fargo. A few days ago I was able to experience a tiny piece of what it was like celebrating Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house via the photos a cousin had shared.

I even use Facebook for work! Working at a college, Facebook is frequently the most efficient way to connect with students and alumni. My only challenge there, though, is maintaining the line between personal and professional interaction with a lot of them.

Thanks for making me think, Kim. :) Hope to see you offline again soon!

Nymeth said...

This reminds me of the reason why I quit Livejournal. I so regretted giving the link to some of my "real life" friends. Not because I didn't want them to read it, but because they'd read it, not comment, and then casually mention in a conversation a piece of information about my life they only knew from reading my posts. And while I think they felt they were keeping up with me, to me it felt so cold. I got no response, no reaction, no human warmth at all.

Anyway, I'm not on facebook either, and though I have a myspace account I only log in every 6 months :P I think social interaction sites and personal journals can work just fine, depending on how they're used. But there is the risk they'll give you the illusion of keeping up with your friends when no actual interaction is taking place.

Kim L said...

trish-I hear ya on the texting! I have it shut off on my phone because it was wasting too much of my time. And I agree, I feel more connected with other bloggers than I do with the random acquaintances who are my friends on facebook.

chris-plus, blogging takes up time, and it just feels more rewarding doesn't it? You can actually make new friends that way I think instead of just hearing from people who never actually see.

Andi-tell me about it! It can easily take up so much time. I can understand if you want to keep up on what your students are up to, though.

Lauryn-thanks for such a thoughtful response... I was curious what your opinion would be. I can understand working in a college that it would be more useful to be on facebook.

I think I'm most drawn, though, to the ease of interacting with people I can't or don't have time to really spend time catching up with.

I know this sounds harsh, but in some ways, I don't really want to catch up with a lot of those people very badly. Because then I start feeling bad that I haven't put any work into a friendship and I hardly know them anymore... I don't know, it just seems easier to not really keep up at all.

Yeah, I don't know what to say about the picture thing. I guess I've been sharing the pictures that are important to me on my blog so far.

And yes, let's get together online soon.


But there is the risk they'll give you the illusion of keeping up with your friends when no actual interaction is taking place.

I couldn't have said it better. I feel like when I catch up with certain people on facebook that I haven't really seen in a long, long time, it is just an illusion. And it kinda bugs me to have this fake interaction.

I'm sure you are like me... I feel closer to some of my blogging buddies than some of the people I did know in college and don't see any more.

Alice Teh said...

OK people... don't bash me up. I LOVE FACEBOOK! *eeeeps!*

Through Facebook, a global conference organiser found me and invited me to speak in their upcoming conference in March 2009.

Through Facebook, I stay connected with my former colleagues all over the world (I worked in multinationals before joining my current company).

Through Facebook, I organised my photoshoot outings, etc.

But of course, I 'tuned' the privacy setting a little bit so not every single piece of stuff I did there was broadcasted.

I stopped accepting applications and ignored most of what was sent to me. So I stay clutter-free and see only what matters.

So ya, I love Facebook... and LinkedIn, and Twitter, and of course, my blog... :D

Marg said...

This isn't the first post I have seen in blogland talking about the things that we choose to spend time on.

For a while there I was always on Facebook. These days I log in irregularly at best, but every now and again. I need to declutter a bit, but I will get to it eventually.

Because I am conscious that I do need to be careful of overcommitting I haven't joined Twitter, and I do need to go through and reduce the number of feeds that I read to try and gouge some time out.

Interestingly one of the things that I find is suffering is my own blogging because I tend to read everyone elses posts before I get to my own, but often I am too tired or it is too late and so I don't end up finishing off the review I am working on or whatever!

I guess it is all about priorities and doing what works for you in your own life!

Kim L said...

Alice-I totally can understand some of the upsides for people to use facebook. I know it is a huge networking tool these days, but it does take a lot of tuning (in my experience) to get to the stuff you actually want to use without getting inundated with junk stuff.

marg-I know how you feel. I try to write my posts first, and then visit other blogs so that I have something left for my own self.

Alice Teh said...

Understandable. It works beautifully for me though. :D

farmlanebooks said...

I used to love facebook, but I am getting bored by it now. The one thing I use it for now is visual bookshelf - it is great for sharing book reviews with non blogging friends, and it comes up with some good suggestions of books to read in the future.