January 12th, 2017



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.