2011 called — it wants its blog post back

facebook screen grab

Do I feel outmoded writing about Facebook? More than a little, yes. Because really…who cares anymore? Well, I guess I do. You see, I started using Facebook in 2009 at the behest (and request) of a very dear friend.  It was still all over the news then as the “new” (though not really) and “hottest” way to keep up with all your friends. What has it become since then? A social media giant? An advertising mecca? The “new” and “hottest” thing to quit? I really don’t know anymore.

I think my use of Facebook is follows a pretty common path among, at least, my FB friends – it has definitely ebbed and flowed with the times. When I first signed up, I updated my status every day, I quickly responded to requests, and I sent and accepted friend requests without a moments hesitation. I enjoyed reading through the feed to see what people were up to, from close friends to those with whom I had lost contact and were now connected. I “participated” as people got married, bought houses and cars, had kids, and grew up and into life. It was fun, interesting, and it really felt social.

Things changed about a year into my escapade, and it had nothing to do with one of a bazillion layout/privacy/accessibility changes that would eventually happen to Facebook over the years. At work, discussion about the use of social media began to happen. In the course of talking with other, older colleagues about using Facebook, I was often asked, “why do I need to use Facebook?” To keep in touch with people – that was my standard answer. And the standard pseudo-arguments arose about how “young people” didn’t know how to interact with others anymore, about the death of taking pen to paper to write someone a letter, about how social networking was destroying people’s productivity.

Eh. Those arguments were nothing new and they never would be. But the discussions did make me think about why I was using Facebook. Did I really need to be part of its “always connected” scenario? Did knowing about people’s cats and kids and commutes to work make my life any better? And just when I thought that maybe Facebook wasn’t worth the effort, I got a request to play a game.

Hmm…a game? Yep, you guessed it. A number of my FB friends had been bitten by the game bug, and they intended to infect me too. Now I’m not a social gamer, but I didn’t resist the surge. First it was Mafia Wars, and then it was Farmville, and then it was another “Ville” game, and then it was Poker, and then it was Empires & Allies, and then it was any number of slot machine games, and then it was hidden objects games, and then it was …STOP!!  It was all too much. Look, I had fun up to a point, but after awhile, when the games started demanding that I needed help from X number of friends to progress, or I needed to “purchase” X number of objects from the store to get a necessary item, I simply had to disconnect.

But I never really disconnected.

Though I stopped playing most games on a regular basis, I didn’t stop trying to connect with people as best I could. And then things started getting…different? Weird? I’m not sure of the right term. I have a decent number of Facebook friends, but only a few of them actually use the site regularly. (This seems to be pretty common among those that use or lurk on Facebook.) My feed became engorged with memes and family pictures and political tirades and cries for help. I know that there are now ways to parse out your friends so that some statuses appear more frequently than others. And I know that I’ve probably screwed around enough with the sites settings that some people I think might have deleted their accounts are still really there, but I’m just not catching their updates in an around all the gunk. It’s very jarring to see status about someone’s bout with depression followed by an ad from Macy’s about the latest fashion fads followed by someone’s rant about bad drivers.

My Facebook has become a desolate landscape of mostly blog posts and the occasional cat and/or garden pictures, and rarely do I use it to say something about myself because, frankly, I just don’t know what to say anymore.  I try every now and then, and people do respond, which is always nice, but it’s not like it used to be. Facebook has become a useful tool for keeping up with other blogs and sites, but honestly, it’s so much easier for me to do that through Twitter. I used to have fun checking my feed each morning to see what people were up to. Now it’s an exhausting slog through a parade of propaganda. Maybe I should take more time to mess with those settings, see if I can’t hide some of those less-than-savory items from my feed.

Or maybe I should just use that time to put pen to paper…

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Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play and United We Game.

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3 thoughts on “2011 called — it wants its blog post back”

  1. You know – I deactivated my facebook in March and have not gone back once. I don’t miss it either. And when I tell people, they automatically defend themselves by saying, “But I use it to keep in touch…I have friends and family across the world…I want to know what people are up to…”

    You know what? My entire extended family lives in Australia so I used that excuse too. But their posts soon became the same as everyone else’s and I really didn’t get anything new or different in terms of updates. Facebook became a mud bath of people posting things to show you how AWESOME their life is, and leaving me feeling like I should be doing some more and telling everyone about it. It’s really sad, and in a sense, pathetic. I think a lot of people post for the thrill of having people say their life looks so fun and interesting.

    I recommend deactivating it for a while and just see what happens! You’d be surprised how easily you can live without it, especially if your life is not changing too much. For instance, if I was starting up going to grad school in a completely different city, I might reactivate it again. But not now. Not when I’m stable and doing the same thing every day and I know who my friends are.

    Anyway – good post. Hope my thoughts give you something to chew on.

    1. Great comment — you make some excellent points. I won’t lie, the thought of completely deactivating my FB account makes me a little nervous! People might think I had died! But seriously, I know that when I do actually post a real status update, I pretty much know which handful of people will respond. In part, they are the ones preventing me from leaving Facebook entirely. I don’t have many local friends or family, so it really is a good way for me to keep in touch with others. But I won’t argue with the fact that it’s not a very pleasant place to be anymore, so I’ve limited my regular visits. If I REALLY need to know what’s going on with someone, I’ll pick up the phone. 🙂

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