Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Facebook "Friends"

It seems the internet is becoming more and more our social hub. As we baby boomers were getting out feet wet in the blogging world, our children were building their next generation internet universe on Facebook. As Facebook became more popular with people of all generations, I shied away. Partly because I didn't really get it, and partly because I know my children snickered about any adults being on Facebook. I know they felt like it was their cyber space.

I opened an account about a year ago for one reason. My niece Amelia asked me to so I could see the photos she posted there. OK....I welcomed the avenue to keep some kind of tabs on her, so I signed up.

That was that...until just recently. I got a couple of very unexpected invitations to become friends with people I know from real life. These were people who I'm very fond of, but don't communicate with near often enough. I waded further out...I posted a picture of myself and started checking my page more regularly. The whole "wall" concept still was odd to me, and posting a declaration of "what I'm doing now" just seemed kind of stupid. However, I couldn't resist searching for other people I knew but had lost touch with. I found a few, to my delight. I also learned that a few of my AOL blog buddies are also on facebook. Now that we're Facebook friends, I feel more connected to them than I have since I was forced to move from AOL to blogger.

I'm up to 21 Facebook friends now and I'm starting to get it. I still don't post "what I'm doing now" too often, but I do appreciate getting notes from my friends on my wall and it's easy to quickly write a one or two line note to them in response. Or, if someone writes on the wall and I want to respond in private, it's one click to an email.

I have to laugh when I encounter someone who has 629 friends. How can that possibly be? In those cases, I do wonder about the point of it all. I'd expect that a good number of those "friends" are strictly internet connections. And, I don't think that new relationships can develop via Facebook the way they did when we first started blogging. Those short one or two line posts are great for exchanging information with someone who knows and understands the poster. But, I can't see that you'd ever get to know someone that way...certainly not like we did by reading each other's heartfelt and/or very opinionated blog entries. To me, it's sort of like walking down the street in Manhattan, randomly handing out your cell number saying "please, be my friend"

I recently heard a discussion on NPR about Facebook, and how it is beoming an important business/networking tool. It will be interesting to see how it all evolves. You'd sure have to be careful about what you post. I would imagine that adults will use it in a very different manner than our kids do. We should know the perils of posting information/images that show our "wild" side. I'm afraid the kids may have to learn that the hard way. We grew up with a notion that we needed to protect ourselves from the possible prying eyes of Big Brother. The kids seem to be happy to fully expose themselves (figuratively and unfortunately, sometimes literally) to any or all who surf by their Facebook page. We were never going to trust anyone over thirty. They seem to trust everyone.

So, I officially admit, I'm cautiously on Facebook. If anyone wants a Facebook friend, I'm there. Part of me dares not reject it. Slamming to door on what is undeniably part of the wave of mainstream culture seems to be a first step into old fogeyism. I have no interest in going THERE.

But Twitter???? Now, what the hell is that?


alphawoman said...

I have been involved in Facebook the past several weeks due to my crazy friend from FL and it opened the door to all these other crazy friends we have from "the good old days" in college and it is so much fun. Pretty soon FAcebook will not be cool anymore because all teh Babyboomers will take it over. Ha!!
Look me up, Lets be friends. Ha!


Haha. Hey! I'm friends with 614 people right now on Facebook and I talk to every single one of them. Of course not daily but I make a point to keep in touch with them all. I think the only one who doesn't talk to me is my mom, she refuses to reply to my comments :P

P.S. I don't really get the whole Twitter thing either, it seems a little too much but my friend who's a journalism major loves it cause she can keep up with things. It is pretty interesting to see some celebrities entries sometimes, since it's more personal, but at the end of the day what's the point?

Lisa :-] said...


I guess I have to step right up and accept that old fogeyism prize.

I HAD a facebook page for awhile. I hated it. I didn't understand it, and didn't have hours and hours and hours to sit and fool with it. I'm sorry...for me, internet "friendships" are (were?) about people I met blogging. I can only invest the time, right now, in communicating with friends--not with a jillion acquaintances. At Facebook, I spent 90% of my time trying to wade through all the little games and crap, and only about 10% of my time engaging in any meaningful communication.

So...I cancelled my Facebook account. Bowed out. Un-friended. The only one who came looking for me was my niece (who was the one who got me on Facebook to begin with) and I told her that anyone who wants to be my "friend" can email me or find me on one of my blogs. She was fine with that, and so am I.

I guess I can only deal with riding the crest of mainstream electronic culture up to a point...

♥♥♥ said...

Hi Kat,
Thank you for writing an interesting thoughts about FB. I am on FB, but I missed the journaling part too(reading and writing.)
I also signed up for Twitter just few days ago, and I have not been back ever since! and I don't think I will. That site confused me! worse than :-)

600 plus friends? wow....
There's someone who have 2000+ friends on FB. but she's a celebrity! (singer.) I'm one of her "friends" but in reality is actually these are fans of her, not her friends ....She just keeps accepting friends requests. :-)

sunflowerkat321 said...

Lisa -

I am 100% with you about the stupid little games/awards, etc. I clicked on one ONCE and it was so full of advertising it downright scared me. All I could think is that it was probably dumping cookies all over my computer. Who needs that?!?!

It definitely serves a different purpose than blogging. I don't see it as a place for an exchange of deep meaningful ideas. But I feel like it lets me gently reach across miles and years to people I care about. If you ever try it again, I'd love to be your FB friend.

Kathy said...

Kat, you can find me on FB as well. I started much like you ... to keep in touch with a younger generation family member and ended up with about fifty friends. Some are actually prior coworkers and classmates that I'd lost touch with and the rest ... blogging buds.

The apps drive me a bit nutty, but I go along with them as time and interest allows.

I do wish the younger generation would learn that their reputations precede them in the 'grown up' business world and understand that their devil-mare-care attitude about what they post for pictures and what they say WILL FOLLOW them wherever they go, for say, the rest of their lives. As you say, they may have to learn that on their own.

Interesting that you posted this just now ... our local reporter just did a piece on his FB experience.

You can find that link on my FB page. (hehehe)

Kathy said...

Lisa ... I didn't go looking, because you sort of mentioned you were not enjoying the experience and I fully expected you to cancel FB.

Like all new technologies, there is that learning curve. I was able to make it through this one to some extent, but Bebo? Twitter? Not so much.

I'm on Bebo now too because I've been invited by 'old' blogging buds, but I'm not sure I'm going to open that page again any time soon.

FB works well enough for me for its entertainment value, but my true communication tools are blogs and e-mail.

What? No snail mail? Sure, on a rare occasion I send a piece out. ;)

Lisa :-] said...

Kathy--I wasn't meaning to whine about no one coming to look for me. I knew my blogging friends pretty much figured out that I was disenchanted with the experience. And, truthfully, I hadn't developed much of a list of "friends" beyond people I blogged with, so I figured I was wasting my time on Facebook, anyway. I never had a large group of friends with whom I have lost touch...never had more than one or two friends at a time in my entire life (yes...we're talking real lifelong introvert, here.) So the aspect of reconnecting with old friends was completely absent from my Facebook experience.

So, anyway...I'm glad you guys enjoy it, but it just wasn't for me. Just hand over my walker and my hearing aid, and I'll head on over that hill... LOL!

TJ said...

It's Twitter I can't figure out...

Sunday Scribblings has a wonderful prompt for this up coming week.
You should check it out!

If you don't have the link it is in my entry.