Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Facebook Confusion

I often find myself feeling confused by Facebook for a variety of reasons:

#1: Like or Dislike
When someone announces something really big, I feel like I should like/dislike it.  However, this gets confusing.  "Satan sucks."  Does marking "like" mean I generally don't like Satan or does it suggest that I am sacrificing animals in a secret cult gathering?  Or what if it's more personal?  "My brother past away. He will be missed."  I "like" the update and want to lend support.  However, I don't like the fact that your brother past away when in fact that is pretty damn tragic.

#2: Fringe Friends
I have no problem with people I know only vaguely leaving comments.  However, I often fear that leaving a comment on a co-workers page can be the online version of a close-talker.

#3: Former Students
I allow former students to befriend me.  We're not friends, though.  It would be creepy for us to go hang out at the mall together, which is why when I'm on Facebook I feel like I have to be extra-non-creepy and therefore I end up being standoffish toward former students.

#4: Lack of Context
I can't be political, since I have some pretty extreme left and right friends. Unlike a real social situation, I can't figure out the rules.  I know that it's okay to take a crap in the woods, but totally socially unacceptable to do so in a church service.  I know that I can cuss at a pub but I can't cuss around my wife's extended family.  This lack of context makes the rules of Facebook that much more confusing.

#5: I Don't Use It Correctly
I don't find funny stuff online, take cool pictures or do pretty much anything that you are supposed to do with Facebook.  My lack of a cell phone hurts me here, because it actually takes some effort to find and post pictures.

#6: Lack of Body Language
I can't smile without using annoying emoticons. I also can't be funny, because my humor can be dark and sardonic when there's no twinkle of an eye or smile.

#7: I Feel Guilty
When I'm on Twitter, I think of all the cool ideas to share.  It's about a conversation.  On Facebook, it's about a connection - often times with people I haven't seen in months and some of whom live in my city.  That can make me feel guilty when the distance is often mutual.

So, why do I stay on Facebook?

It's the language we collectively speak.  It's a horrible medium, but it's the only way I find out who is getting married or divorced or dying or having more kids.  It is where we post our life cycle for others to view.  So, I stick with it, even though I honestly can't figure it out.

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