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June 08, 2010

Comments

Robin Goodfellow

Hi Margaret,

I really empathize with you here.

I only ever joined Facebook for similar reasons: to keep in touch with class mates. But now that I'm done college... I'm finding the site more and more vapid.

I too would rather just spend time doing simple things with genuine friends, instead of going out and getting drunk, to then post the results on Facebook.

What really frustrates me is that it begins to suggest to someone that this is what normal people "do", and you feel alienated when you're not like that.

You don't have to feel alone, though. I found myself going back to church (not the same one I group up with, though, I wanted something I could relate to for myself), because I just wanted to be around people with good hearts. I'm sure a mindful person such as yourself can find a local group of some nature that will provide you with a sense of kinship.

I will say this, though, in defense of Facebook, and other forms of online networks: when a connection isn't local, it does help you stay connected and "involved" in someone's life. I've had friends travel around a bit, and the only way I could say hi to them was online.

Sometimes I think even this forum is just that, an online forum (so much is lost to just text on a screen). But it's still the most accessible option for the most part.

Account Deleted

I, like Robin, have found Facebook to be helpful to me in maintaining friendships. For instance, while I'm at college, I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends at home, and vice versa. For several years two of my best friends lived in Mexico, and one of the only ways I could maintain communication with them was via Facebook.

With that being said, I've found that Facebook can distract me from maintaining the flesh and blood relationships that are right in front of me. For instance, following the summertime adventures of a college friend might distract me from talking with my mom when she comes home from work or inviting a friend to get coffee. There is definitely a fine line between the benefit and harm of Facebook.

Carrie W.

I just got rid of my Facebook account yesterday. I, too, used Facebook to keep up with my high school friends when I went away to college. I used it to stay connected with both my old friends and my new friends. It seemed like a great way to keep in touch with people.

After a while, though, it began to seem kind of impersonal. Most of the "status updates" I got from my friends were either quiz results, comments on the status updates of people they knew and I didn't (FOFs), or "X became a fan of 2am runs to Taco Bell". I became painfully aware of the fact that most of the contact I had with these friends consisted of these short, meaningless blurbs that were sent out to everyone on their "friends" list. It was kind of depressing.

So, I did what I had to do. I sent out an email to each of my friends telling them where they could contact me if they chose. Then, I decativated myy account.

As it turns out, Facebook still keeps all you data saved after the user "deactivates" the account. So, I had to go back, "reactivate" it, and delete all of my data manually. After that was done, I deactivated the account for good.

Social networking may seem like a good idea, but in the end it seems like a really impersonal way to maintain a friendship. Each message you send to your friends is a carbon-copy, and it's not geninuine. Perhaps some people may benefit from using social networking sites, but too much of a dependence on them seems to take the personal level out of a relationsip (be it friendship or otherwise).

Melissa May

I too have found myself longing for a deeper sense of community. I agree with the other posters that FB has been very helpful with long distance relationships and for that reason, I keep my account going. I've been tempted to call it quits, though, too. Or at least make it "long-distance only".
Fortunately, I live in a neighborhood with lots of friendly families and have been able to put down roots here. I find that FB interferes with relationships in the sense that it offers the illusion of connection, but in reality, it's mostly very shallow linking-up.

Julie

I completely agree with what you are saying, however I do feel that if used properly, Facebook can be used for incredible things. The moment we start wasting our time "stalkng" our "friends" to see what they were doing over the weekend is really where the problem begins. Often, I use Facebook to organize events with friends, exchange information for school, or even just to catch up with someone I haven't spoken to for awhile. The difference between this and the scenario that you are describing is when the relationships end there-at the computer screen. As long as there is a balance, I think Facebook is a phenomenal tool.

Sana

:)! I think there are different forms of communities for different people and everyone has to make one for themselves.

I hope you find what you are looking for!

Cady Driver

You know, your post got me thinking. Just the other day, I posted a "thanks, Mom" on my mom's facebook site b/c she watched my kids for me. Before facebook, I would have called her or written her a note.

I think that facebook has made me lazy with my relationships. Really, how much lazier can I get when I post "Happy Birthday" on someone's page instead of going out, getting a card, writing something, addressing it and putting it in the mail?

I'm going to have to rethink this a bit. lol

Maybe make an effort to go back to old fashioned snail mail.

~Cady

Jasmine

I am in agreement with the other posters that find Facebook incredibly impersonal. When I deactivated my account, not one of my Facebook 'friends' emailed me. That tells you who your true friends are.

Getting back to the basics of communication is always a good thing. At the very least, if you have something to say, it shouldn't be so hard to type it in a message as a email, instead of having the author's connections reading it in their news feeds.

Lisa Nash

It could be because I joined facebook after I was done with college life, but I have found it to be good, in moderation. The people I am friends with on facebook are my friends in real life as well; we use the tools to send messages to meet up for playdates, to share links to relevant news stories and happenings around our town. Interestingly, I even stay in better touch with my own family since we all got on facebook -- I can have a brief conversation with my brother and his girlfriend and a few more of their friends who I have not met yet in person -- and the next time I actually see them we have more to talk about, more to reference.

My life is hectic, and as a work-from-home mom, I find it to be an invaluable tool for staying connected to my community and learning about local events. My instinct would be to say that facebook itself is neither good nor bad. Much like the telephone, it could be used for good or for evil, for gossip or for encouragement, for spying and jealousy or for cheering up a lonely person.

All that aside, I do periodically force myself to go on a week-long "facebook fast" when I notice that I am spending time minding other people's business instead of taking care of my own.

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