Thursday, February 17, 2011

Facebook hiatus

I have to go on a Facebook hiatus. I realized yesterday morning that in the previous twelve hours that I had checked Facebook several times, I was increasingly discontent with what I was reading all over this social giant that has really revolutionized how we connect with the world around us.

First of all, this isn’t a blog bashing Facebook. I think it is an incredible tool that has tremendous benefits. I love it. I probably love it a little too much which is one of the biggest reasons for my little hiatus (if I last!) I don’t find that checking Facebook frequently keeps me from getting necessary things done during my day, but it has started to interfere with how much time I spend doing other leisure activities such as reading and writing. And I know myself, quite well. I know that if I get an urge to do something like check my Facebook page in between household chores or first thing upon waking up in the morning, that is probably not the healthiest thing in the world.

OK, but back to the good things. Facebook has reconnected me with friends that I have lost touch with over the years. It has made new connections for me, some of which have turned into treasured friendships. Since leaving work to go on a medical disability a little over two years ago, Facebook has provided me with a social network that has proved invaluable to me. Everyone on my friend’s list is someone I know in person (with two or three exceptions) and many times I have been unable to get out and socialize with these people due to health reasons. Facebook has provided me with a tool to be able to do that from the comfort of my bed or couch…a sanity saver at times!

So, what is the problem then? What is it about Facebook that is currently driving me crazy? The following things are what drive me crazy and I am going to warn you, the reader: the issues listed below are based not only on my experiences, but on experiences told to me by other people and/or events I have witnessed on other people’s Facebook pages. Don’t try to figure out if I am talking about…you will drive yourself crazy and more likely than not, you will be wrong!

1. Don’t send important messages through “inbox” that require a timed response. Don’t assume that someone is checking Facebook every hour or so, even if you know they usually do! We have regular e-mail, cell phones, texting, etc. Hell, it is 2011 and we still have home phones too (most of us anyways). Use them!

2. Some things should just stay private. I have been guilty of this (along with probably every other Facebook infraction mentioned in this blog), but it might be more than helpful to think twice before you hit the “comment” button. Your Facebook wall is yours and you have a right to put whatever you want on it, but use some common sense.

3. If someone on your friends list is just plain annoying the hell out of you (and you don’t feel comfortable “defriending” them) either with their incessant ranting about their adorable puppy (ahem…lol) or their 9,000 photos of the same thing while on vacation, chose the option to hide them in your newsfeed.

4. Consider boundaries with those on your friend’s list. If you are going to comment on every single word uttered by someone else, you should be relatively close to that person; although to be honest that could be annoying too! I know that communicating with someone on their wall can be a way to strengthen interpersonal relationships but don’t be someone who acts like they want to be your best friend online and then ignores you when you try to talk to them in person. Superficial relationships are an easy trap to fall into online and true relationships require more effort in person.

5. In the same vein, don’t be a Facebook stalker. Even if you are just bored or seeking to make new friends, it is very disconcerting to see that someone is taking inventory of your photos from months/years ago or following/commenting your every move. Enough said about that one.

So in all reality, my little break from Facebook will last probably all of two days if I (and the rest of the world) am lucky but hopefully I can make it longer than that. Just since coming off the Facebook bandwagon 24 hours ago, in between things I have “had” to do, I have already had a lengthy phone chat with a friend, finished a book, and taken a hike with my dog. I will admit, I definitely have an urge to check and see what people are up to in Facebook-land, but if I REALLY want to know, I can just well….pick up the phone and ask them…

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