Monday, October 21, 2013

In Defense of Facebook

There are a lot of blogs and vlogs and Youtube videos and such out there that make fun of Facebook. One of my favorites is this one:

I've recently read a few "lists" of things people do that are most annoying on Facebook, etc. Some of these lists are very funny. Others are just high-horse criticism. 

If you use Facebook, you probably ought to be circumspect before being critical. If you don't use it, you probably shouldn't be too critical either. It's not for everyone, but that doesn't mean it's not for anyone. My husband used it on and off for a while, but just never really got sucked in. He decided he didn't like it and closed his account (as far as Facebook allows anyone to "close" their account, which means it's still there, just dormant. Inactive.) 

I, on the other hand, rather enjoy Facebook. It's fun. It's a quick, easy way to keep in touch with many people I'm interested in and care about. I get to hear their good news, rally together when there's bad news, share and see funny things and there are frequently excellent articles posted by people I know. I keep up on entertainment news and it's a fun social outlet. 

Facebook is like the old "Annual Letter" that some families used to do. Mom would call all the grown kids, Aunts and Uncles, and find out what everyone had been doing for the last year, then type it up and copy and mail it to everyone. You got to know hear about what your relatives were doing, even though you didn't get to see them very often. (My family never did this, but I knew people who did).

Or it's like a church or neighborhood newsletter. Instead of everyone contributing their news and one person having to get it all published each month/quarter/year, anyone can read and keep up on anyone else that they want to. I like it. I'm an unashamed Facebook user. 

I enjoy people poking fun at Facebook. Sometimes they are hilarious. But I think it's a little silly to sneeringly talk down about it. Granted, 
I do see posts that make me roll my eyes or cringe. I don't care for the cryptic mystery posts such as "I am just SO done" or "Well, that sucked!" These kinds of posts feel manipulative, so I just ignore them. If you want my attention, tell me what's up, don't make me beg for details...

I also don't care for long monologues about someone's perfect husband/life/job/children/house. Short bursts of happiness are awesome, but lengthy, drawn-out paragraphs actually make me doubt the validity of the claims. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

But the majority of what I see is nothing like these issues. And Facebook makes it pretty easy to avoid posts you don't like. I have a couple of friends whose posts don't make it to my newsfeed. I was being inundated with things that I wasn't interested in. 200 posts of your favorite college football team every day, for example, aren't interesting to me. And I have unfriended a few people over time, after I decided I wanted to limit my Facebook profile to people I actually wanted to share my life with. Not that I'm judgmental of people with thousands of friends-- to each their own. 

In the end, social networking is about sharing tidbits of your life with others. It is narcissistic in that sense. I post things about me. About my life. If you aren't interested, that's okay, you can either unfriend me, scroll past my posts, or block them. I won't care. Back in the days of newsletters, I wouldn't care if you skipped my section, either. Nor would I ever even know. 

So, to the Facebook haters I say this: Relax. Live a little. Take it easy with the throwing stones. It's okay for people to like different things than you... but if you're on Facebook and use it regularly, don't be ashamed. It's okay. Life is good, the internet is a miracle, and Facebook is just one fun way to communicate with those outside the walls of your home. 

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