I decided to get back on Facebook. This is my third attempt. The first time a few years ago resulted in a serious addiction to Farmville and its various relatives. I was away for eight months and came back “clean”. I lasted a couple of months and got bored. So I went away again. I started feeling bad about asking people to read the blog without showing any interest in what they were doing. I thought it might help if I went back and started reading their posts.
It wasn’t difficult getting back it. I’d been getting emails every day (it seemed) that I had “notifications” waiting. The notifications usually seemed to be someone inviting me to a game I had never heard of. After going cold turkey a couple of years ago, I’m afraid to even look at another game. What if I fall prey to a dancing cookie or something?
The other type of notification was someone asking me to “like” some obscure page. While I have no issue with the “Don’t Bludgeon Baby Animals” type, I have no appetite for the “Like Dr. Smith. He Has the Answer to All of Life’s Questions.” From what I can tell, if I like something it goes up on my wall for everyone to see. It also goes on that crawl on the right side of the screen, although things pass through there fairly quickly. What if the world knows that Dr. Smith has just been arrested for fraud? Will my “friends” still “like” me? Will they respect me in the morning?
About those “friends”. I forget how I originally started, but a lot of my first friends were people I had known in high school. The last time I was back, my daughter taught me how to “un-follow” people without “un-friending” them. It worked really well. When I came back there were only a couple of people in the feed who I really didn’t know. One of them, I have no idea whatsoever who she is or where she came from.
The last time I was on, I got a feed question from someone thinking it would be interesting to find out where she met her “friends”. Oddly enough, I had been trying to figure out who she was for a couple of weeks. I responded with that answer. I don’t think we’re friends anymore. (Am I missing the point of Facebook in only connecting with people I actually recognize?)
Now that I have winnowed my feed to the people I actually know, I have discovered that the vast majority of my feed is from the same few people. Some of them have lives that are interesting enough to fill the space. A few search the web for pictures and quotations they like. A few seem to use it as a way to share every thought they have.
I don’t have a problem with any of that. I just don’t know how to join. My life is not that interesting, and I really don’t have any fun pictures to share. Does anyone really care that I almost ran over a bunny yesterday morning (not really)? Or that the cats have caught three mice in the last week (really)? Things that would be a throwaway in person seem to have an increased sense of importance when you write it down.
Worse yet, I really don’t get the “liking” idea (I have the same problem on WordPress). I haven’t fully accepted the concept that people have no idea whether or not I have read what they have written. “Liking” is not required to avoid hurting their feelings. Conversely, I guess I could write whatever I want since very few of my “friends” would see it anyway.
When you “like” someone’s post, do you actually have to like it? Is it like nodding your head to indicate that you are paying attention to what the person is saying? Or is it full buy-in for whatever they are talking about?
If someone “likes” my comment does it mean that they agree with me? Or do they just like the way I said it?
How many cute pictures of their families do people really think everyone wants to look at? On a daily basis? Do people ever think about their audience?
If someone sends me a link that doesn’t work, do I tell them? One guy sent me a link to like his company. When I followed the link it took me to a page for something else with a pop-up to go to the page to like his company. I didn’t like the company that much and left.
I didn’t give them much personal history to use for advertising. My location matches the information I gave them for high school and college. So I’m not really getting personalized ads companies want. I’m just getting a lot of them scattered all over the place. My friends and likes are pretty esoteric too. I am not a marketers dream. I’m guessing that the longer I’m on, the more the ads will standardize. I can hardly wait.
The one thing I do like about Facebook is the chatting. It’s great to be able to actually “talk” to people I never get to see. However, being on at 3a seems to have cut down on the number of people I can find to chat with. I need to get some friends overseas.
So I’m friends with people I don’t know and like things that are merely statements of fact. No wonder they call it virtual reality.