A question from my sister yesterday about how I use Facebook got me thinking.
I guess I’ve been on Facebook for almost a year. I don’t remember when I joined, and I’m not interested enough to go back and look it up.
It’s not what I expected when I joined. It’s more like a series of big noisy cocktail parties than small, intimate dinner parties. Big, noisy cocktail parties with an invite list of an interesting mix of people from my past and my present – people I’ve known since I was born, people I’ve known for 20 years, people I lost touch with, people who’s offices are currently very close to mine (close enough to hear me typing.) Most times, I stop into the party for about 10 minutes to see who’s there, and chit-chat with several people. Other times, I have longer “conversations” with people, looking at photos, reading notes, looking at quiz results, taking a quiz here or there.
Some of the people I have the most interaction with on Facebook are people I didn’t know very well in high school, but I’ve enjoyed getting to know a bit better through our “conversations.” Some of them are people I lost touch with from college and grad school and am so grateful to have in my life again, even in this limited way. Some of the people are people I know in real life today, but I find out things about them on Facebook that I wouldn’t find out through our off-line interaction.
I have my own set of rules – I rarely send flair, gifts, drinks or flowers (and I ignore them when people send them to me.) I don’t enter into conversations about politics or religion (the Episcopal church, yes. Religion, no), as those topics are too complex to discuss in this forum. I try to keep my updates and comments positive. I try not to be mean, although I’m probably a bit too snarky sometimes. I don’t have arguments with people. I don’t share intimate details of my life.
With a few exceptions, I’m only friends with people I’ve met in real life. I usually accept friend requests. I enjoy reading comments from people whose political and religious views are different from mine, as long as their comments are respectful (they usually are). I have unfriended people who appeared to be mentally unbalanced and/or had nasty, public arguments, or who shared things I wasn’t comfortable hearing about in this public space.
I’ve had a few disappointments. Some people whom I was excited to reconnect with quickly disappeared, or don’t participate much. Some people unfriended me, and I don’t know why. (And it’s really, really bugging me!!) I fear that I offended them in some way, and I wish I knew why. My biggest frustration is that I’d love to have more in-depth conversations with people about some of the things they post (or just about life in general), but it’s not the forum for that.
But overall, I enjoy it. Very much. Thanks to all my Facebook friends – I am grateful to you for participating in this interesting cocktail party that connects my past to my present.
What are your thoughts about Facebook? What are your rules? What has surprised you – good and bad?