Does Anyone Really Like Facebook?

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Not so long ago, I noticed how many people agreed with me when I would reluctantly admit my hatred for Facebook.

They didn’t just agree halfheartedly, mind you, but they began a conversation, which usually went something like this:

Me: Yeah, sorry, I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, I schedule much of what goes there, and I just find that I hate actually being on Facebook. I can’t seem to like it.

Them: You know, me too. I’m just there because {various reason, ranging from grandkids to family connections to addiction}.

Me: So, what do you think about {insert any other topic}?

I’ve found, quite by accident, that many of the people I turn to for advice on how to be “effective” on Facebook secretly seem to detest it.

I’m pretty active by Facebook standards. I have a personal account and six pages I’m pretty invested in–my personal page, my Catholic Family Fun page, the page for my 5th grade religious education class, our parish’s page, the CatholicMom.com page, and the New Evangelizers page.

And yet, the only reason I’m on Facebook is because it’s where everyone else seems to be. This is, in the publishing industry, a lucrative part of an author’s platform. Having a group that follows your every breath on Facebook is arguably a group that will buy your books (or product, if you’re a speaker or some other public person).

I’ve come to a very arms-length approach to Facebook. I will post updates and announcements, share pictures once in a while on my personal account, and schedule various things.

I don’t, however, let Facebook “get” to me. I have enough drama in real life, thankyouverymuch.

Achieving that stance took some time. Once upon a time, I had Facebook comments and messages delivered to my (nonsmart)phone. Once upon a time, I was texting updates to Facebook as often as I was to Twitter.

What I’ve come to realize, though, is that whereas Twitter’s like a lunchroom, where people pop in and out with varying degrees of frequency, Facebook is more like a dining room. There’s still a coming and going, but on Facebook, there is a very different level of intimacy.

We have a brand-new nephew in the family, so I get onto Facebook lately to check for pictures of our new little guy. When I wonder about an old acquaintance, I will occasionally pop in and see how they’re doing via their Facebook feed. I lurk around, when I have time, on my nieces and our various siblings, often just reading, looking, and not interacting.

Facebook always comes after everything else on my priority list. I have way too many online distractions already (Google Reader, anyone?) to let it turn into a time sink for me. (Been there, done that.)

Besides that, I don’t really enjoy it when I’m there a lot. I find myself getting angry over things that, later, I can calmly recognize as being “nothing.” I wonder about someone’s attitude, forgetting that their best face isn’t necessarily showing. I take offense at something that was supposed to be funny or quirky or even seriously none of my business.

Turns out, I’m not the only one with this relationship with Facebook. When you’re done here, amuse yourself by Googling “hate Facebook” and spend some time reading, laughing, and groaning.

This all leads me to wonder, does anyone really like Facebook? Are we all there just because everyone else is? And if so, what’s the point? (That’s an open question. I’d love to hear your responses in the combox.)

I’m not going to be deleting my Facebook presence anytime soon (or probably ever). I’ll suffer through and I’ll even not complain (to you) about it (much).

I have made very real friends thanks to Facebook. That said, I still hate it.

Guess that goes to show just how much good can come from something you hate, huh?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

P.S. No, that’s not one of my kids in the photo. But I am going to totally stage a photo of them doing that, because I’m sure to need it! 🙂

Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard

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6 Comments

  1. So with you on this. I have some friends that it’s just easier for me to follow up with on Facebook, rather than the telephone. But it makes me miss them even more. Also, with trying to market to a larger audience, it seems the quickest way (thought least personal) is by reaching out online. I’ve shut my Facebook down twice within the last year and those were happy times, spent with my children more than in front of the screen. Once school starts up again (homeschool!) I will be setting online office hours to deter me from mindless wanderings….

  2. i don’t really love or hate facebook. it’s a tool to keep track of my husbands and my relations… some days i wish it were more and others less than it is… but it helps. every little bit of relationship building helps…

  3. Rachel LaPointe on

    I LOVE facebook. I do spend a lot of time on there (maybe too much on occasion). But I love the conversation that it generates. Sometimes it’s not “pleasant” but it is GOOD. I love the interactions I have with my family (pictures of events and in jokes), I love the interactions I have with close friends, and I even love the interactions I have with my “acquaintances”. I also feel like it is a HUGE witnessing tool. A lot of my friends who say they are “catholic” are often shocked when I post things talking about church teaching (especially on hot button issues like homosexuality, abortion, politics, NFP and such).

    I really can’t see life without facebook. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  4. Great conversation, you guys! I don’t hold it against any of you who DO like FB (maybe my day is coming for liking it myself–I can hope, anyway).

    Someone emailed me to mention that the distinction for them was sort of a “Facebook is not my boss” mentality, which I think is probably what I was trying to get at in part (and failed).

    And maybe I’m approaching it wrong–I can’t help but think that as I read comments by those of you who seem to love it.

    Or maybe I am just the kind of person who is going to be grumpy about whatever’s popular. 🙂

    In any event, thanks, y’all, for such a great conversation here in the combox!

  5. Hi everybody, this is Cathy and I’m the social media editor for Our Sunday Visitor. Here’s what I emailed Sarah — she asked if I’d post it. Since I’m on social media all day I have a different perspective …
    These are my 2 cents more from a personal standpoint, not so much an work one, although what I do at work colors my personal stuff, too.

    I enjoy Facebook and am not ashamed be admit it. But I think it’s because I know how to use it. For example, I unsubscribe from people with drama-laden feeds (Not unfriend, but unsubscribe. No feelings hurt.). This seems to be a common aggravation—ALL THE DRAMA!

    I love the easy way it lets my family, near and far, share pictures & info, even mundane stuff like ‘took the kids to the zoo today,’ or ‘had a cookout for dinner.’ I love the way it lets me reconnect with friends I thought I’d lost forever.

    Also, I always remember – and this is the one people seem to forget, and complain about the most – I’M the boss of Facebook. It is not the boss of me. I control how much time I give it, how often I check it, how much information I give it. I use the controls and privacy settings in account manager. If I don’t check it, who cares? It’s there when I go back to it. If I check it every 15 minutes, MY BAD.

    Facebook is a tool. How we use it – or not – is up to us. Maybe what people hate is being addicted to it!

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