Monday, August 2, 2010

No, I Did Not See What He/She Did/Said/Broke Up With on Facebook...

Facebook and I are in a fight.

I got facebook not too long after it started (I was "oh so lucky" to go to a college that got access to it early on). Needless to say, my friends and I were totally into it but it was really pretty silly back then. All my "friends" were people that I went to school with and the few friends from high school who also had access to it. I would read status updates from my roommate saying "boo, working on my psychology paper" and laugh because I could hear her typing away through the thin walls of our apartment. It was mostly useful as a place to share pictures from sorority formals and random nights of Karaoke Thursday.

As time went on more and more people were on facebook and it was actually kinda exciting to reconnect with people I went to high school with. And by reconnect, I mean either add them or have them add me as a friend and read their profile and say "oh, so that's what they're doing..." It got to the point where every day I would have 3 friend requests, all of which I said yes to because what was the point of being selective - it was just a silly website. And how I loved facebook, especially through my years of graduate school where I would spend countless hours during class or while studying for finals looking at people's status updates, pictures, etc. It even became a fun game of "facebook stalking" with friends and we'd all giggle at some of the ridiculous things we saw. Not something to be proud of, but we needed easy entertainment and this fit the bill.

I've noticed recently that what used to be a place to post info has now turned into a way of life. At least once a week I get a call or email saying "omg, did you see that he/she broke up with _____ because he/she hooked up with ____ when he/she drove down to _____. It's crazy, the whole thing is on facebook." I'm not going to lie, it's easy to get drawn into the gossip and gasp when you hear these stories. But the problem is that where I used to hearing about big life changes about people that I was "friends" with on facebook, I'm now hearing about engagements/pregnancies/cross country moves of my real, close friends. The conversation that results often goes as follows:

Betty: Holy crap, you're engaged/pregnant/moving to France?!
Friend: Yes! How exciting is that?!
Betty: Totally, how come you didn't call me?
Friend: Oh you know, I didn't want to make someone feel bad by calling them first, so I figured I'd just tell all of you at the same time.
Betty: Right, I guess that works...
Friend: It's crazy, I actually changed my status update before I called my mom!
Betty: Wow...

It's more than just life changes. When people used to call and catch up, it turned into emails to say hi and now it's facebook messages or wall posts. I even had my father, who I no longer talk to, send me a Happy Birthday facebook message because he was "sure I'd see it". Now you actually have to look at the series of excessive status updates from people that you haven't talked to/have no desire to hear from and postings of people planting trees, buying cows, or whatever they do when they play farmville to read a message from your friend. And no matter how many time I change my privacy settings, people who I don't like or talk to find me and then question when I don't accept their friend request. I'm not a fan.

Several months ago I decided to take a facebook vacation. I'm a firm believer in "if you don't like it, don't read it". While it has been nice to avoid the stuff that annoys me, I have missed some important stuff from friends. Fortunately, Veronica keeps me in the loop of all our mutual friends, but I just can't stop thinking how ridiculous it is that refusing to sign on to a website can cause me to miss so much. And that deep down, I do miss the facebook stalking.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

It makes me miss my pen pals from 3rd grade.




andygirl said...

I can't even respond in a small comment box because I have a HUGE opinion on this and it's complicated. social media is (was? before I quit...) my career and so I have to roll with the times. but I think it's a necessary evil. people live on the Facecrack now. but in order to maintain your sanity, it's necessary to use moderation and block the farmville, mafiawars, fishtank bullshit. I also block anyone (not as a friend, but from my newsfeed) who posts Bible verses or preaches about anything really. also, I've stopped accepting requests from anyone and have taken myself out of public searches. it's necessary.


Jennifer said...

I don't have a facebook. I used to have a myspace but it was kind of a waste of time. And who really has a myspace anymore anyway? So I'm sure I miss out on some juicy gossip and such, but my sister fills me in.

leymilne said...

Ugh I'm the first to admit that I'm a total social media junkie. It's a terrible addiction, and I'm totally guilty of updating my status when there is no one to talk to.

Ugh, that sounds depressing.

I have feel no shame in blocking people from my news feeds, and I have at least half of my friends list on my limited profile--mostly because I don't EVER want my boss to end up finding out about my blog. Or any of the statuses where I'm bitching about her or my job...

It seems like a necessary evil though--my sister-in-law didn't send out paper invitations to her bridal shower or stagette, just facebook invites. Plus, there is no need to send birthday cards if you post a message on their wall! Yes, I'm that cheap.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of facebook; I use it to see pictures of my friends weddings & their babies and that's pretty much it.

I refuse to share big news on FB (not that I currently have any) until everyone I know and love gets to hear it first! That just seems fair to me.
Like you we had access to FB early on and okay, it was cool... then. Before everyone and their mom had it. (Not that i mind that my mom is on FB, but still!) I'm over it.

Christen April said...

Oh my gosh I love your blog! This is so true I get so tired of people publicly announcing their problems and personal things on social media sites it frustrates the crap out of me!

DSS said...

My very best guy friend (who lives in my city) got engaged, and I found out on FB. His fiancé posted about it. I've never quite recovered from that. AND...I refused to be "in a relationship" on FB. Is that silly? Probably. I just don't want the whole world knowing if we break up before I have a chance to tell everyone. BUT...I can't live w/out facebook. Honestly. I can't. What else would I do during boring hour long conference calls at work????

i used to drink perfume said...

I was just complaining about people telling facebook before telling friends...Facebook is contributing to the decline of common social decencies in my opinion. But then again, it's so damn fun to stalk people and get some gossip going of "Did you see that _____ wasn't at her wedding? What's up with THAT?"

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