Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Facebook

I have been using Facebook for nearly 3 years now.  I was initially apprehensive about joining Facebook because it is a 'Social Network' type of an application and I am not very social.  And also because of all of the privacy concerns I had heard so much about.  And while there have been some things about it that I have not liked, by and large I am glad that I made the decision to give it a try.

The biggest plus for me is that it allows me to stay somewhat connected with friends who no longer live nearby.  I am not a letter writer, or phone talker, and so prior to Facebook these friends pretty much fell out of my life.  For the most part I had no idea where they were or what was happening in their lives.  But Facebook has changed that, at least for those friends that I have found on Facebook and who are somewhat active on-line.  We may not often talk with each other, but I still can see what they are up to and that is pretty cool, allowing a certain amount of connectedness to continue!

Facebook also allows me to stay somewhat connected to people who are local.  Remember what I said about being social; I am not.  Chit chat is not an art form I ever mastered.  Just because I see someone occasionally does not mean that I know much about what is going on in their life.  But I can eves drop in on their Facebook posts and discover a lot of information that I would otherwise have been oblivious to.  Now I must admit that much of that 'information' is of little value or interest to me, but there are enough little nuggets thrown in to continue to make it interesting and valuable.

There is a third group of people that I have enjoyed on Facebook, people that I have seldom, if ever, talked with in person, but have gotten to know at least a little bit through this media.  These may be family members of friends, friends of friends or just a familiar name that Facebook recommends to me.  While not many, there are a few of these that I have developed some form of relationship with where there would not have been otherwise.

All in all Facebook says that I currently have 242 friends; and that is way more than I would currently have contact with otherwise.  So Facebook really does serve to open up my limited social circle.  Never the less, there are some things that I don't like about it.

The biggest issue I have is that it can be difficult filtering through the clutter to find the kinds of posts that I am looking for.  I do not play games on Facebook and don't really care about what your high score is or what animals you need for Farmville.  It has taken a while but I believe I finally have much of the game stuff eliminated from my News Feed.

I have yet to figure out how to eliminate all of the 'I know most of you won't re-post this' or 'Make this your status for one hour' status updates.  I won't re-post or make your cause my status for an hour.  Nor do I generally even want to read them since they tell me nothing about what is happening in your life.

And I generally don't care that Tom is now friends with Larry or that Sally is going to bed for the night.  Some of that I can tell Facebook not to show me and the rest of it I just have to ignore.  But I am getting pretty good at speed browsing, scrolling through the unwanted clutter to see the types of posts that are of interest to me.


I do find it humorous how many good looking young ladies want to be my friend.  That is really quite flattering to an oldish and socially awkward guy like me.  But so far I have resisted the temptation to respond to them.  I just have this sneaky suspicion that I would live to regret responding positively to their friend requests :)


I am generally indifferent to the periodic changes that are made to the Facebook interface.  I see some as real improvements and others as mostly change for change sake and of little value.  But I can generally easily figure out how to continue doing with Facebook what I want it to do.  And so, in spite of the periodic uproar over changes, I don't see what the big deal is.

All in all I like Facebook and the service it provides to me.

2 comments:

  1. great post ed! i use facebook for so much of my pastoral ministry. it helps me stay in contact with my small groups, message people prayers, and, i might add, check on how people are doing by viewing their status.
    i could do my job without facebook, but it is a great tool, but it can also be misused.

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  2. I like you have enjoyed Facebook for the opportunity it gives me to keep somewhat in touch with people that I don't get to see often or not at all. This includes you dear friend whom I must say was shocked to see you on Facebook and a runner also! You have certainly widened your horizons. Facebook also gives me insight into what my relatives who live far away are up to. Lastly, it gives me a pulpit at times for my Christian views where otherwise I would not have access.

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