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WHERE AND WHY AND WHO
I've been very much enjoying the return of several "old" friends to Livejournal lately, as I just mentioned to one of them in a comment. She talked about returning to online journaling and why, and her thoughts about Facebook prompted me to think about how I feel about social media in general and Facebook specifically.

I suspect many people feel the same way as I do: Facebook is not the place to share anything substantial. It was fun and trendy and rather like walking into a party where all the people you haven't seen in awhile were gathering, in the beginning, but now? It drives me a little crazy.

Of the 676 Facebook friends (!) I currently have, I probably see 20 or so. I have hidden hundreds of people because they post nothing but memes and links and stuff I'm completely uninterested in. At least a couple hundred of them, if not more, never post anything at all. Some of them, like my son, for example, only use Facebook as a photo album on occasion. I hide ads. I hide memories. I hide my friend's memories. I hide game suggestions and page suggestions. I hide political arguments and mean-spirited posts. I hide the stupid Facebook anniversary notices (You've been friends with so-and-so for 3 years!). I tell Facebook constantly to STOP SHOWING ME posts from this page and that page, and that page too while you're at it, OMG Facebook, STOP SHOWING ME ALL THE CRAP. And yet, it never ever ends.

My Facebook friends include people I went to junior high with in the Netherlands, people I went to high school with in Germany, people I went to college with in Michigan. They include people I knew in Chicago, people I have previously worked with or current colleagues, former boyfriends, best friends, family members and distant relatives. They include people who sing in my choir, neighbors, teachers or parents of kids my children went to school with or the ACTUAL kids my children went to school with. Many of them are former or current AWC members. Some of them are people I met right here on Livejournal or are bloggers I have read for a long time.

Some of them are people I see all the time but most of them are people I never see, who live far away, and Facebook is excellent for keeping in touch with them as much or as little as desired, at least on a superficial level. It's a great way to message people, to put up events, to share information, to remember birthdays, and much much more. But it doesn't fulfill the need I have to write about what is really going on in my life. It isn't the place where I want to share the kinds of things I share here. I don't write there for posterity, the way I do here.

And it's not the place to make NEW friends, the way blogging and online journaling are, or to really find out what's going on with someone. What they think or feel, what they genuinely care enough about to WRITE about.

I'm eternally glad that I started this journal so many years ago, and that I keep at it, despite writing slumps and hiatuses and the desertion online of so many, many bloggers and good writers. I hope even more of them start trickling back and stay to enjoy the real intimacy and camaraderie that can be found here. I'm grateful for ALL my friends, but the ones I've found through this platform are definitely keepers.
 thoughtful
mood: thoughtful
music: David Bowie—Heroes


Comments

But what about your LJ friends who post those dreadful vegetable puns? Lettuce ban them!

I wrote an essay sized comment on your last post about this, so I won't repeat it, but I share some of your feelings about the instant gratification aspect social media as well as the darkside (so many posts that need to be hidden) and what one can get out of a journal/blog that is much more intimate and satisfying.

I'm delighted to see some smart, articulate regulars return and I hope they (and you) continue to post.

Even if I take breaks once in a while I can't imagine stopping posting here!

(Anonymous)

My first inclination was to give a one word reply such as 'yes' or *hands clapping* agreed!, and dare I say...'like'but I remembered the freedom that this medium offers and that is to use our words to express our thoughts. And with that I say, write on, girl!
~sherry

hah! Yes, I know the feeling...it's so easy on FB or Instagram to give a like that one rarely takes the time to comment further. We're all VERY BUSY. :D

It's strangely comforting to know that I'm not the only one that does this and feels this way. You're a little more aggressive with hiding than I am but I was trying to be delicate about how I phrased things. Also, I only have 250 friends or so, which helps. I try to enjoy it for what it is but sometimes I wish it could be... different.

I suspect if people knew how much I hide/delete, they would be offended...but if they're not also doing the same exact thing (and to me, as well), then I'd be very surprised.

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

Ah, yes. Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I am one of your friends that hardly ever posts. I don't share pictures there. I don't put updates in. I rarely "like" people's posts. I sometimes share articles or interesting things, but mostly that is so I don't lose them, or so I can share them easily with others who I think would like to read/look at them. I used to go on to Facebook all the time and it was exactly like a reunion, reconnecting with people who I hadn't seen in YEARS. It was really fun! And then it became such a time suck, that I had to give it up. I still go on, but it is mostly to read articles from the New York Times or The Atlantic or other things that I have "liked." I appreciate that when I click on a certain theme, Facebook will pull other articles that are similar. This is awesome for my job. I can gather readings so much faster, many of them extremely relevant and up to date.

As for connecting to people, Blogs are best. They are the shit. I hope others come back as well. I know I am not the best role model, but I still like to write. And there are times when the pull is so great, it doesn't matter how busy I am, I just have to do it!

I am so glad you are better at this then me. I benefit from reading your words every time you post!

Re: From Megsie

Aw, you are too kind. I just throw all kinds of random stuff at this blog, and am always amazed that anyone bothers to read it!

This morning I’m reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, and there is a passage that touches on the subject of FB and how the character would use a post to give a boost to her unstable mood. The character is walking on the beach contemplating . . ."She could go back to Blue Blues, buy a coffee to go and then take an arty photo of it sitting on a fence with the sea in the background and post it on Facebook with a comment: Work break! How luck am I? People would write, Jealous! If she packaged the perfect Facebook life, maybe she would start to believe it herself.” And this passage had 562 highlighters on my kindle: “She could shrink her fears down into innocuous little status updates that drifted away on the news feeds of her friends (highlight ends). Then she and Ziggy (her child) would be normal people.”
I’ve been accused of being cynical by my ex when the subject of FB was mentioned, but I have a feeling there is more to it than just being socially connected. By far, blogging brings out a true representation of a person and there is no packaging perfection in that. There is instead a perfect packaging of honesty that is relatable and gives a greater sense of connection.

This morning I’m reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, and there is a passage that touches on the subject of FB and how the character would use a post to give a boost to her unstable mood. The character is walking on the beach contemplating . . ."She could go back to Blue Blues, buy a coffee to go and then take an arty photo of it sitting on a fence with the sea in the background and post it on Facebook with a comment: Work break! How luck am I? People would write, Jealous! If she packaged the perfect Facebook life, maybe she would start to believe it herself.” And this passage had 562 highlighters on my kindle: “She could shrink her fears down into innocuous little status updates that drifted away on the news feeds of her friends (highlight ends). Then she and Ziggy (her child) would be normal people.”
I’ve been accused of being cynical by my ex when the subject of FB was mentioned, but I have a feeling there is more to it than just being socially connected. By far, blogging brings out a true representation of a person and there is no packaging perfection in that. There is instead a perfect packaging of honesty that is relatable and gives a greater sense of connection.

February 2017
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