Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Confession Tuesday - Facebook Edition




I confess it's been a new year since I've last written.

I've been trying to organize my life, make sure my use of time is in sync with my priorities and what I realize is that I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I confess I both love checking in there and don't. I love meeting new people, but I dislike the amount of time I can spend there, a poet lost in the words of others...which is sometimes okay, but mostly, Facebook, we need to talk.

So to start off the new year, I think I'll confess all my Facebook sins (or maybe they are complaints) to get them off my chest, so Facebook and I can have a healthy relationship revolving around respect and consideration.  Though Facebook says, "I am breaking up with you" - or maybe I'm saying that...

To the 2011 confessional --


I confess I currently have 28 friend requests awaiting confirmation.  And when I say "friends" I mean, "people I haven't met yet."

I am slow at this task, as well as reading the many suggestions sent my way.

What I like best about Facebook is statuses.  Or links to something writerly.  I also like putting a face (and sometimes an entire family or someone's living room!) with their name.

~

I confess confirming someone as a friend has become a little harder for me.  When I first showed up on Facebook all sparkly-eyed, I was everyone's friend.  I went to every wall, caught every hatching egg and sent them back, I danced the watusi with whoever asked.

But then I realized, some of my new friends weren't really interested staying up late with me to watch the moon appear from behind the barn, but s/he just wanted a bigger number on their own friend lists. (I have a different issue though, I've actually hid my friends list because I was self-conscious that it was over a 1000, I thought that seemed weird as if I was just trolling for friends.)

But back to some of these new friends. I thought they liked me for my snazzy profile pic, my poems, they might have read my work somewhere, but some just wanted to sell me something. And some were just creepers lurking behind a cute kitty profile pic.

So now I check profiles to see what we have in common.  Oh, you're a writer?  You're someone who loves libraries?  You love books?  Welcome friend.  You are in school getting your MFA?  Friends!  Your list "Poetry," "Reading," "Writing" as one of your activities?  You're in!  You seem normal.  Welcome!

But you, over there in the corner with the profile pic of a slaughtered cow, not so fast.  You there, the one in the Where's Waldo hat whose favorite sport dancing nekkid for your ex-frat brothers and MILFs...move along...  

But I guess it's a little disheartening to become a friend with someone and having them immediately promote their book/agenda on my wall or by private message.  C. Dale mentioned this too the other day, so I'm guessing it's annoying to some. Or most.

And it's not that I mind someone sharing their work, book, life with me, (I do want to hear if you've got a book published, that's great news!) but not so immediately.  We haven't exchanged hellos, I have no idea who they are and they aren't asking, "How are you?"  but instead exclaiming, "Here's how I AM!"  I think it's a manners thing really.

I confess I want my first correspondence with someone to be an authentic conversation not to realize I'm just a marketing target.  We can move to targeting me later, but first, just pretend, you like me, you really like me.

~

I confess I like it best when someone writes a personal message to me when they ask to be friends and if they have a real profile pic of what they look like. 

I love it when someone writes: "Hi I read your blog," or "Or I'm friends with _______ too and wanted to be friends with you," or "I saw you read at the Frye Museum" then I understand why they choose me as a friend.  It helps me sort out the future friends from the current creepers.  Of course, a creeper could read this blog and friend me, but honestly, it's just nice to see how someone knows me or why they choose me as a friend.  One person wrote, "We have 459 friends in common, I think I should know you..." Good enough!  At least I know there's someone on the other side of that profile pic.  Someone who can write and respond.  (I confess I worry about robots.)

Though I confess I have asked a famous poet to be my friend, but not written a personal message because I was feeling too shy.  Because of this, I don't not friend someone in the FB friendship world because I know it can be hard to figure out what to say.  I know poets can be self-conscious or shy.

I confess once I friended famous poets only after a glass of wine (as I was too afraid they would reject me!)

~

I confess even with all my above complaints, I have "met" some incredible people, poets and writers who I wouldn't have met without Facebook.  And I like learning and looking a little more into their lives. It helps me get a better image of someone than just a name (I'm very bad at names, but a name with a face helps me so much more!)

As for new friends, I have two friends that I know because one has my exact maiden name and one has my father's exact name.  What's interesting about these two is that they both are in the military - and they are 2 of the coolest people I have met through Facebook. 

~

But truly, I confess the thing I most dislike about Facebook is the amount of time it takes away from things that really, are more important.   Of course, I've volunteered my time to be on it, it's not as if Facebook is arriving to my home and putting me online.  It's a choice I've made to use my time there.

So because of this I've established "Facebook Fridays" for myself this year, my New Year's Resolution.  (I will only check Facebook on Fridays.)

I was amazed how many people said there was no way they could just check in on Friday.  Though I kind of think that's like saying you can't give up your TV or your favorite show as once you do it, you don't miss it.  

What is wonderful about this New Year's Resolution is that if I fail, I fail publicly.  Public humiliation is a fine motivator.  

~

I confess the only day that's not a Friday I want to (and just may) appear on Facebook is Sunday, January 9th, my birthday.  Facebook birthday wishes are probably my very favorite part about Facebook that and meeting new poets.  Though I confess my shallow part would say it's seeing what my high school friends look like now- the second reason I find Facebook fun, a virtual reunion complete with family photos.  

To Facebook Fridays...wish me luck!

Amen.



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