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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13 comments:

Michael said...

Luck!

So much of what you say I can agree with. I admire you for trying this.

I confess that there are even a couple of games on Facebook that bring me to it. I suppose even greater time wasters. But I've way long gotten over watching my friend number grow and I haven't the faintest idea what it is presently.

Maybe I can try something like this... I've tried limiting myself with some success but it still at times feels like too much. So, I do wish you luck. And maybe when you've succeeded for a couple of months and the ice hasn't cracked and you fallen in. Maybe some of us will slowly walk out there and follow your lead. :)

Kells said...

Michael,

I'm on week one & so far, so good! I must admit, mostly what I'm finding is I have all this extra time!

Sometimes when I work, I just absentmindedly check in to FB. Now I find myself either staying focused or just doing something else (usually more productive!).

Weird thing is that I haven't missed it. I just feel as if I have more time!

I'll keep updates on my blog.

batteredhive said...

What I hate the most is when I accept a friend request from someone I don't know and they immediately recommend that I become a fan of their separate fan page profile!

But as one of those unknown friends on your page, I would just like to point out that I've enjoyed your blog (though I can no longer recall how I first stumbled onto it) and one of your posts mentioned that you were posting pics of an event (that you were blogging about...I think it might have been some bizarre Emily Dickinson party) over on your facebook and I wanted a look. So that's why I ended up sending you a friend request.

But let the record reflect that I have never once used your wall for my own propaganda or infected it with farmville.

Kells said...

BH-- Omg, I never even mentioned Farmville! That's a whole post on its own!

Actually, this was just a cranky confession Tuesday. Even if people do promote themselves on my wall, I keep it up. Live and let live. ;-)

Glad you found me in both places (Blog & FB!)

djvorreyer said...

A noble goal. I was on Facebook a LOT over winter break, and now that I am back to work, I don't check nearly as much. And I don't use any application/game on Facebook - that way, I am checking in with friends and then I'm off.

I don't have very many friends and I laugh when I see things like "You may want to be friends with" ads for someone like Robert Pinsky pop up in my sidebar. I'm going to guess that he doesn't care if some poet/middle school teacher from the Midwest friends him or not.

Thanks, as always, for your wonderful blog - maybe I'll see you on Facebook FridayS

Eric said...

ok...as per my wife I am going to have to adopt your Facebook Fridays...I've never been "big" into it anyway - it has been a nice place to keep contact with family and close friends though most of my friends are the writerly/poety types that I've met online and am thankful for the interaction it has offered...wonderful post...

Anonymous said...

I like everything you said about Facebook. I was slightly challenged by FB today, and I think I know what I can do with the issue after reading your inspiring post. Since my daughter is on it, I must stay tuned, but I am thinking of toning down the tuning and making time for more writing. Thanks for your blog, Kelli. I come here when I need inspiration and you always provide it. I love your poetry, and I love your blog writing, too!

Peter said...

Great post, Kelli. I love the idea of just Fridays. I hope it works for you. One day a week might be a way I could come to terms with Facebook. As is, I must confess I pretty much avoid it--there just isn't enough time in the day! And sometimes it just doesn't feel "real" enough to me (my joke with Dean is that it should have been called "Fakebook" and "asocial media."). *grin*

Instead, of Facebook, Dean and I are planning to start a "game night" with friends and neighbors one a month. To get some real facetime. :)

Kathleen said...

Indeed, good luck, and I share some of your FB woes and those of some commenters, so I understand! I am glad we are blog and FB friends, with poetry in common.

cornshake said...

ugh! i confess it drives me BATTY to get a friend request from someone I dont know with no message attached. And I guess I just use it differently...since I put so many kiddie pics (lots of girlfriends from college are on it with me and i love checking in on them from time to time)...i just don't accept requests from someone I haven't at least had extensive correspondence with. it just freaks me out to have complete strangers look into my life...i fear though, that people might get mad when i don't 'friend' them, and that makes me feel guilty...le sigh! ;)

Midge said...

Kelli,

I love the idea of Facebook Friday too -- and while I planned to adopt the practice, I ended up posting a photo on Monday. (This is why I usually don't make any New Year's resolutions.)

But now, I hereby pledge to stay off until Friday -- only two days at this point! Surely I can manage that. :)

Thanks for great & inspiring post, as always!

Kells said...

Donna-- Yes, I've laughed at the people they "suggest" for friends. I'm sure Robert Pinsky has been holding his breath for me too, just waiting until I *Friend* him. It's pretty amusing.

Eric-- let me know if FB Friday works for you (-that sentence kind of sounds like it was stolen from the Hairclub for Men or some infomercial).

Peter-- I love *Fakebook!* I know some people who really try to present only the very best of their lives or show themselves to the world as their ego would like. Sort of like, "Kelli is sitting on her yacht wondering what she will do with her big bank account of money. Champagne anyone?" ;-)

Kathleen-- yes, you have been someone I am thankful to have met through the virtual world.

CN-- This is why I keep a secret acct for family and friends I know personally. You may consider something like this - your first name and your husband's last name-- so you can keep your personal from your creative writing life. It hasn't been too hard for me to keep 2 accts.

You can also make a list of Limited Profile if you ever want to just add fans of your work and just make sure to tag all your kid/family pics so they can't see them. I know a few other poets/writers who do this.

Midge-- I haven't been on FB all week, so if you snuck on, I didn't see it! That's kind of funny as I never thought the person who isn't breaking the resolution has no idea if the other one is! ;-)

I'll post on your wall Friday! ;-)

Thanks so much for all these great comments!

Kim said...

Kelli- I think we can all relate to this. I am trying to come up with a plan to erect some social media boundaries as well. Perhaps shutting my computer down each night and not turning it on again until after lunch the next day. I'm impressed by your plan, though I'm not sure I'm there yet:) Good luck!

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