Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FACEBOOK. The Great Divorce.


Many of my friends have been recently shocked by my sudden departure from Facebook. Here I am using the word "friends" in a purely Facebook sense, for that social network's understanding of the term does not rely on actual physical acquaintance; neither does it contain the certainty of affection, or root, or history, or common cause. No, Facebook friends may be one or some of these things (and many of mine were) but the concept has been manipulated to mean anyone who agrees to join a personal network. Thus a person may boast of having over five hundred "Facebook Friends," even if that person does not, or has not have any other personal connection with these people. To another, maybe an objective thinker, this might be classified as trophy collecting.

I joined Facebook about two years ago, mainly as an offshoot of the fun my (then) 7th grade daughter was having with her "friends" who also, as they discovered the network, became my "friends." That naturally changed as they de-friended (awful assault on the English language there) and I weeded them out. And time went by...

About a month ago I realised that I was becoming more and more irritated by Facebook culture. It was one of those days when I was able to sit back, say nothing, and look at what my "friends" were posting. I did so in a completely non-judgmental way, for I had already decided that I was a part of all of this. And it was completely, totally, utterly egocentric. Often puerile. And, rightly prompted by my wife (who was also irritated by some inappropriate and self-serving comments) it became clear to me that despite my jolly postings, (and, oh, how they loved them!) Facebook was not really my natural way of communicating and networking.

Since my sudden departure ("He didn't even say goodbye!") I have exchanged so many wonderful emails with my true Facebook friends, and in a sense have rediscovered the superior value of "long-hand" communication. It is a sense of liberation, and I invite others to do the same. If any of my Facebook "friends" read this, and want to actually write to me in an email, I will respond. Much more can be said, and I will certainly "like" it! In the real sense of the word.

1 comment:

Saintly Ramblings said...

My Facebook connections involved logging on about once every week just to check what my limited number of friends are doing. And all bar a couple of the contacts I have are actual people I know and have met. But I agree with your comments about cyber-friends and the numbers that some people "collect".