Continuing on from my previous post entitled, ‘The Book of Faces (Facebook): Some debate whether it’s worth it.’ I am going to further explore why many people (including myself) have adverse feelings about the giant social networking website that is Facebook.
Facebook is supposed to be about connecting with your friends. The idea is to get in touch with all of the important people in your life. This can include your family, friends and people you hope to network with for business purposes. In many instances I found this to be helpful at first, but then the type of communication between these different kinds of relations and their ways of ‘speaking’ caused many questionable lines to be drawn and then crossed. In the end, confusion and disenchantment reigned supreme.
For example, there’s the inane chatter of the ‘News feed’. Status updates from people you don’t know well, or who never shut up, or whom you don’t really relate to, can get quite infuriating. It’s called a ‘News feed’, but when you write in it you are asked, ‘What’s on your mind?’, and then you fill out the update. What’s on your mind, or on my mind for that matter, is not News!
I’ll give you a few examples. There’s the close teenage relative who you ‘Facebook befriended’ because you are family, and for a family to function well we all need to communicate. However, this teenager writes every single thing that happens in her day. In reality, she’s actually communicating to a very few close teenage friends, but because she’s on my ‘Friends List’, I get every word she says on my News feed. I love her, but I don’t want to hear about how much she loves her friend that day, and how they should ‘text meee!’ If a business colleague were to have a look at my Facebook home page, they’d see a whole bunch of crap about how cool the new Twilight vampire film is going to be, even though I didn’t write about it, or even comment on the topic.
Then there’s the self-obsessed partner of an old friend. I’ve known the old friend for over two decades, but his wife was added because we now ‘know’ one another. The thing is, I don’t believe we actually like each other at all. It’s about being polite, and so I accepted her ‘friend request’. Funny thing is, she’s never said a word to me on Facebook, and every time she does a status update, it’s an internal monologue spoken out loud to the world. I’m just not interested in hearing weekly updates about her pregnancy and how happy she is about it.
Last but not least, I’ll discuss the ‘friends’ who aren’t actually friends at all. These are people who befriend you via the ‘Suggestions’ link, or just because they see you on one of their friends’ ‘Friend’s Lists’. The Suggested friends link is a Facebook algorithm designed to regularly and automatically ask you if you’d like to add a person to your Friend List simply because they know someone you know. I can imagine this being handy on occasion when an old friend is discovered after aeons of separation, but generally speaking it puts you in touch with people you knew long ago through school or old jobs.
There’s a reason we leave these people behind and move forward in our lives. After you ‘become friends’ with these old acquaintances you find that’s it. There’s nothing else to the interaction; no one ever actually communicates! It’s almost as if they’re saying, ‘you’re on my list, if I ever need to talk with you I will, but I don’t need to right now.’ If you’re not going to say hello, why get connected? I’ve bothered trying to write letters (I am a fan of the traditional letter in the post) to a few of these old friends, and all I got in return was a one-sentence reply.