Facebook is a “social network” but I don’t think people think much about what that means. The first mistake is calling everyone you add to you social network your “friend”. This causes a lot of awkward situations when people invariably opt to “unfriend” people for various reasons, most of them not reflecting any real relationship status. For example, suppose I added someone that I barely knew to begin with or someone that I hadn’t spoken to or seen in 20 years AND after receiving their “news feed” consisting of daily updates on what they’ve had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – I might decide that I don’t really care about keeping in touch after all.
Facebook is basically 1 part novelty, 1 part nostalgia, 1 part networking, 1 part keeping in touch with people you give two craps about but don’t have time to talk to on a regular basis, and 1 part communicating with your actual friends and family. Once the novelty of seeing how your best friend or arch nemesis from high school has been doing all these years wears off, you are left with a hollow feeling because as an older, wiser person you probably care more about real relationships than you did back then. And it takes a while to sink in, so for a while you keep repeating the process because each new “old acquaintance” you rekindle fills the void left by the last one who left you high and dry mid-comment thread.
The other major mistake that Facebook users make is thinking that interacting on Facebook REPLACES maintaining real friendships in the real world. Some people (myself included) need body language and voice inflection or a whole damn lot of chat time with someone to UNDERSTAND what they are communicating. If we don’t have these things, conversations can turn nasty in an instant when people misunderstand one another, ESPECIALLY with people you feel particularly close to. This leads to people being offended by off-hand remarks and differences of opinion, because in the real world, timing is everything, and you’d know when to keep your mouth shut by the look on someone’s face.
|Katrianne (my blood-elf rogue), wearing beer goggles at Brewfest...|
At a certain point, I decided to stop taking Facebook so seriously. I mean, I have tried to “use it” for my own purposes and discovered that it is alive and has its own agenda. So every time I see someone’s status that says “If you don’t want me to delete you from my friends…do this…” or “I know nobody will repost this because you don’t care about children dying of AIDS..” or whatever, I IGNORE IT COMPLETELY. Because, that’s NOT why I am on Facebook… I don’t need to advertize myself because people aren’t going to understand who I really am anyways. I’m not selling myself because nobody is there to buy my product anyways. I’ve already caught up with the 20 people that don’t hate me from high school and I’ve managed to find peace with the fact that one of my ex-best friends in real life “unfriended” me on Facebook and real life because of a comment thread… on, you guessed it, Facebook!
I’m tired of taking it personally when that cute guy that you have a great rapport with in person doesn’t even respond to your personal messages anymore. I’m tired of seeing my friend with a small child post shit on Facebook every day and then turn around and NEVER respond to any messages I send her. I’m tired of family getting offended if I say Fuck on my page. I’m tired of feeling like I have to hide my true personality for fear of offending someone who hardly ever gives me two seconds of their time in real life. And I’m tired of hearing other people complain about Facebook drama.
As someone who has at one time or another felt betrayed, abandoned, ridiculed, misunderstood, and yes… even offended, by people’s public displays of idiocy and carelessness with words on Facebook, I just don’t care anymore. I think I’ll go outside and feel the wind in my hair or maybe even read a book.