It’s time I went public with this: I totally do NOT “get” Facebook. In fact, despite having giving Facebook plenty of chances, I find it to be the most boring, tedious, horrendous time waster that I’ve ever encountered.
(Right about here I duck under a table to avoid the flying objects -virtual flying objects, of course – hurled by all of you who love Facebook.)
I joined Facebook a few months back because of the library. The library has a Facebook page to announce teen events, so I figured it would behoove me to at least put in an appearance as a “fan” of the library. And I’ve become a fan of my favorite tea company, my favorite online clothing store, and Mother Goose on the Loose. I’ve even gained a few friends – a very few friends. And most recently, I’ve joined the alumni group for my college class, since there is a class reunion coming up this spring. But I’m still bored.
Here’s what I dislike about Facebook (prepare to be pissed off, you Facebook lovers):
It minimizes human contact, so that people are communicating via little badly written blurbs and comments. I like talking to people, face-to-face and on the phone. I don’t like trying to sound clever and cute in a one sentence update on my life.
It brings people back into your life who have long since moved on, and who have moved on for good reason. Many friendships have a shelf life, and once the friendship has expired, it’s in everyone’s best interest to let things go. I probably don’t have much in common now with the friends I had in my late twenties. But I have new friends now with whom I share quite a bit.
It encourages a highschool popularity mentality, even when you’re resisting that trap. I’m way past highschool, and would like to think that I’m mature, but when I see that both of my siblings have over a hundred friends each, and I only have five friends, I start to feel my ego shrink and my posture change and I feel again like the braces-ridden runty highschool freshman that I once was. No thanks. I don’t need that.
It’s an absolute time suck. If I were to become a Facebook junkie, I would lose valuable time that I could spend reading, creating, socializing, blogging (yes, I know, I need to be more consistent with that), or taking an afternoon nap on a weekend. Or cooking or cleaning or volunteering or planting a garden or getting in shape.
But I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a techno-dud. I have a favorite Facebook alternative: Goodreads. Goodreads allows me to see what some of my favorite authors are reading (Gabrielle Zevin, Neil Gaiman), and what those authors think of the books they’ve just read. Gabrielle Zevin gave 5 stars to that book, and says it’s the best thing she’s read in years? I think I’ll go find a copy and read it, too. Goodreads also keeps me in touch with my friends who are voracious readers, and I can read their ratings and reviews on books they’ve read. Peggy slammed that book, giving it only 2 stars? I trust Peggy’s judgement, so I think I’ll skip reading that book. And, Goodreads keeps me accountable for what I read. I find that I forgo television or watching a DVD more often now so that I can settle down and read a book and then post my review on Goodreads. I don’t want to look like a literary slacker, after all. And guess what? I have more friends on Goodreads that I do on Facebook.
So now I’ve got two questions: How long can something as inane as Facebook survive? And how many of you are mad at me right now?