I was made to be sucked in by Face Book. In college, I was the one who made excuses to go to the student mailboxes to see if I had any “campus mail,” even if I had checked less than an hour before. My husband and I got e-mail at home in 1993, and even then, when there were so few people who had e-mail, I had to check it every time I walked by the computer. I blogged before everyone had a blog, and I have always had to check the comments at every opportunity, too. A bit OCD? Perhaps.
So, along comes Face Book. For a long time, I resisted the nudge to join. I thought my blog was enough for me. Finally, about 6 months ago, I jumped on the FB bandwagon. Now, I can’t get on my computer without checking my FB account. After the initial newness wore off, I quit using all the extra applications, and that cuts the FB time way down, but I still waste way too much time there. Why is it so important for me to know what the an acquaintance from 20 years ago had for breakfast this morning? Why do I care what my former co-worker’s kids look like? Is it just curiosity or is it genuine interest? Are there any elements of Face Book that are more than cursory glances into the lives of others, or is it one giant land of small talk?
The world of Face Book is just like the real world–you have acquaintances with whom you make small talk, and even enjoy a joke with. And, you have real friends with whom you send personal messages–sometimes private ones using the facebook e-mail application.
Face Book feels like a phenomenon that will wear off eventually, but in the mean time, is it making us more friendly, or is it making us more self-absorbed? Is it an ongoing Christmas letter in which nothing bad ever happens, or is it more real with people showing at least a few of their warts? How many warts do any of us really want to see anyway? What is the right balance of reality and PR one should use on FB?
This is just me thinking out loud. Until I have the answers, you can befriend me on Face Book. I’ll be changing my status every day and checking my newsfeed every chance I get!