Before you read any further, please note: I over-think things.
How is this for crazy: Facebook feeds my curiosity, egotism and paranoia, while simultaneously leaving me feeling bored. Though I log on to Facebook daily, I find my interest waning. The lure of this social network is losing its luster. I long for the days of handwritten notes, direct emails and instant messages. I long for the days of actual friendships, not virtual ones. And yet, through the waned interest and lost luster, I continue my Facebook feeding frenzy.
Curiosity. I enjoy looking at pictures on Facebook, especially recent pictures taken while my friends, family and relatives were enjoying the summer in Amherst Shore, Nova Scotia. [Hurry up, Ms. Jill! I’m waiting!!] And, I enjoy keeping up with relatives and friends living out of town. Facebook makes it easy to stay in touch with a friend, who’s Mom is battling cancer. I try to make her smile each and every day, by stopping by her ‘Wall’. One day, I’ll actually show up on her doorstep. She knows this, too.
I became addicted to Facebook the instant I joined. Logging in to see who was online, what was taking place in the lives of others, who said what to whom, etc. I became so addicted, I would snap at the kids and Rob, if they interrupted me. So, in an effort to save my family (and myself), I actually had to cut the Facebook-cord for several months. However, with my family’s permission, support groups, and threads, I was able to reactivate my account and step back into the Facebook zone safely. Hmm… I started eating ice cream on a regular basis after dropping Facebook the first time. Could it be? Did I replace my Facebook addiction with ice cream? Dun dun duuun! I digress.
Curiousity and Egotism. I seem to spend more time on Facebook clicking the reload/refresh button to see if anything interesting has been posted on my Wall or included in the News Feed. I’m curious to see if someone responded to my comment about something said by someone else in response to another person’s comment about this, that or the other; or, did someone just “Like” my comment about something said by someone else in response to another person’s comment about this, that or the other? Oh, and here’s an interesting article, I must share; after all, if I find the article interesting I am certain others will find the article interesting, too. Inquiring minds want to know. Right? I must click ‘refresh’ one more time.
I’m genuinely interested in my Facebook friends, but after you’ve said hello, found out how folks are doing and checked out the photos, what more is there? It’s as if Facebook reaches an uncomfortable silence of sorts. The real friends are off interacting in the real world, while the virtual friends are left hitting ‘refresh’ and ‘reload’, looking for interaction and waiting for updates. As I have already admitted, I spend time clicking ‘refresh’ and ‘reload’. And, as I have already noted, I over-think things.
Paranoia. You find yourself chatting with the same group of people over and over again, when suddenly the frequency is reduced. You become concerned that you may have said something to upset someone in the group. However, this is Facebook, and you don’t truly know all of your Facebook friends. What do you do? And, why are you becoming obsessed – yes, obsessed – about people you don’t really know?
You don’t want to risk upsetting the apple cart by unfriending a Facebook friend or two, because that is not proper ‘virtual friend’ etiquette. Then again, you’re not invited to their reindeer games, so why stick around and see the fun that is had while you’re not around? And yet, you find yourself wondering why you aren’t invited to their reindeer games. You begin to feel your friends have excluded you and/or dislike you, but why? Wait. Why even let yourself feel this way when you don’t know the virtual friends of Facebook? Paranoia.
This past weekend, a friend of mine shared how a Facebook friend of hers posted pictures from a trip they had recently taken. The rub? Her Facebook friend was only a few miles away from her house, yet the friend did not stop by or let her know they were in town. Humph. That stings.
Expectations exists within true friendships. Friends expect their friends to be there for them in times of need, celebration, etc. Facebook seems to cloud the meaning of true friendships. Some Facebook users hold their Facebook friends to the same standards they hold their ‘real’ friends. Some Facebook users simply enjoy the ability to be a fly on the wall of their many Facebook friends. And, of course, there are other types of Facebook users who enjoy it for what it is – but what is it? And, what makes Facebook better than handwritten notes, personal emails and instant messages?
I enjoy Facebook. I do. And, there are people I’ve connected with on Facebook that I may never see again in the ‘real’ world, but I enjoy hearing from and seeing them in the virtual world. Plus, if you are having a bad day – just update your status and let folks know. The number of Facebook friends that will visit your Wall and try to lift your mood is an amazing thing to watch and experience. Plus, when it’s your birthday, assuming your birthday is listed on Facebook, your Wall becomes filled with birthday well wishes. My curiosity, egotism, and paranoia will continue to be fed by Facebook, but I think I am overdue for making a greater effort to find sustenance through the real world.