A recent conversation between me and a good friend at a great coffee shop near down town Phoenix has sparked my interest in looking at the social benefits versus the social detriments of Facebook. I’m by no means an authority on human behavior, but I am interested in a few things as is he.
Addicted to Facebook
I too am addicted to Facebook. It’s been a great place to re-connect with people I have lost track of. I can see what they’re up to, how many kids they have, where they work, where they go on vacation. In the course of one year, I have reconnected with over 200 people that had some sort of influence over my life either recently, or in the distant past, some significant, and some not.
Brandon Stark, (scouterblue.blogspot.com), writes:
We have created an Open-Door policy to our lives. We exploit ourselves…posting all the details of our lives on our carefully crafted page, giving people no reason to interact by other means. In many ways it eliminates the need for real relationship.
Too Much Information
For me, the truth of the matter is, I don’t want to know that much detail without having the opportunity to sit with you and connect, for real. As I update my status, staring at the wall trying to think of something nebulous to spew across the system, I can only wonder whether or not I’ve forgotten that 100+ people that I normally wouldn’t say anything to are going to read it. When I post my status, my initial thought is that those who I see weekly, those who I hold valuable to me for one on one quality time, they are the ones who have become the object of my silly status updates. The rest of the “friends” that I have on Facebook are so far distant, so far removed by a long, lonely gap of inactivity over many years that what comes out of my mind becomes of no use to them at all, yet they still see it, and they still know what I’m up to.
Reliving the Past
At first I thought Facebook was a great place to gather your friends. Then I started to chalk it up to a place where I can quickly catch up on where people are, simply to satisfy that curiosity, to answer that occasional “I wonder where they are” question. In the past, that question typically went unanswered as we quickly reminisced about the past in a few seconds, and then filed it away for another day. And you know what? We were okay with it. Now, the answer to that question has become, “I’ll find them on Facebook and then I’ll really know.”
Yes, you’ll really know. You’ll soon really know how cluttered your life can become with the plethora of social networking that has become the “norm.”
“You mean, you’re not on Facebook? What’s wrong with you. It’s the greatest thing since…”
Since what? It’s only 5 years old and it dominates our every social situation. Just like anything else on this planet that we experience, there’s a good twist to it, and a bad twist to it. If used productively and wisely, the twist you experience might just be a good thing. But don’t let it twist you out of control.
On Blogging for the Right Audience
The very fact that the word blogging has become a verb drives me as mad as the word ‘texted.’ Texted isn’t just a new word, it’s poor english. However, I’ll use it, because our language is alive, organic, and ever changing. Blogging is writing. Writing is something people can do or cannot do. If you can’t write, don’t blog. But, if you happen to enjoy writing, then stick to it and spend time creating meaningful information for the world to see. If you’re too personal, you’ll lose the average reader as they probably don’t care about the fact that your cousin visited last night and made the best sweet potato pie you’ve ever had. However, if you write about the experience in a manner by which every reader can find value, or at least every reader who is interested in the general topic, then you may find success in publishing. Otherwise, why in the world would you publish such personal information in a public location?