The Problem With Facebook

If you’re looking for an essay about how Facebook leads to people feeling poorly about their lives because everyone else’s life looks beautiful, look elsewhere. If you’re expecting a commentary on how Facebook leads to self-absorption, self-congratulation, and self-everything else – well, maybe you can write that one yourself. However, if you’re just a bit curious about one person’s (my) ongoing saga with all things technical, read on.

I recently announced that I have a publishing contract, having kept that news to myself for a couple of months. Knowing that people in this business want you to have an online presence, I have gradually set up mine. This wouldn’t be my choice otherwise. I like my privacy, and I prefer to regret what I say in public in private and pray that others will soon forget any gaffes. To have that option taken away is alarming. God help us all.

I am on Linked In and Pinterest (a few in my family were slightly embarrassed I pinned long dresses “for the Sunday School Ball”) and have more than one email account. Don’t get the wrong idea. I can learn computer-ese. I just don’t love it. Every time I’ve begun something new on the computer it’s led to holding my head in my hands and sometimes pacing. I know many of you readers are in wonder about someone who feels this way. Maybe you are a techie by nature or maybe by nurture, but please have mercy on those who are neither.

Enter Facebook. It was time. I followed the directions. Then people started asking me to be their friend. I was adrift. I didn’t really know these people that well. A few I didn’t know at all, but knew through someone. I couldn’t have a dialogue about this with my husband who has a Facebook, but refuses to have any friends. At all. The conversations between my children and myself led me to grudgingly conclude I was overthinking it and I shouldn’t take it quite so much to heart. To top it off now I need a separate Facebook page for my book. I added the word ‘author’ after my name on this page, because to use my name without a title as I preferred would lead to confusion about just who was involved, me or . . . me. You’re welcome. This is all a preface to the following conversation. I will not name names.

1: “Is what I post on my author page also on my personal page?”

2: Looking at me and blinking

1: “I’m afraid if I post on my author page it will be bothering people on my personal page. I don’t want to clutter things up.”

2: “If you post as an author it’s on your author page and if you post as you it’s on your page.”

1: “But I posted as an author and it showed up on my personal page!”

2: “Because you liked your author page.”

1: Unconvinced and wishing it would all. Just. Go. Away.

1: “And then what if I post and delete because it got posted wrong, then post again. I posted the same thing 3 times today because the picture didn’t post with it. What if it showed up 3 times on everybody’s whatever they call it – timeline or whatever it is?”

2: “If you delete it it’s deleted.”

1: LIES!  “But then why do people write the little asterisk and change a word in their comment rather than just retyping it correctly?”

2: Puzzled look.

1: “You know, how people say – like – ‘he’s a good boy’ – then they change it because they typed the wrong thing and have *girl?”

2: Puzzled look continues.

1: “If someone puts something on there and then they comment again with a correction of a word?”

2: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

3: Entering from another room having been frustrated by overhearing the conversation and knowing from the past it won’t go away. “She means when people have a typo.”

2: “They just do that to change a letter or word rather than retyping it.”

1: mother voice “You mean they’re too lazy to delete it and retype it correctly?”

2: Half-nod

1: Look of alarm and disbelief

2: Hesitant yet slightly amused laughter

1: “I can’t believe that. I thought it was because it would show up twice: once incorrectly and once corrected.”

1: What is WRONG with people?! It’s not like they’re in a hurry – they’re on Facebook, for Pete’s sake! 2: She needs to let it go – lapses into silent song of same name.

Pondering silence

3 calls 2 to look at something on the computer (or maybe as a rescue effort). 1 turns on the T.V. because Castle will be on any minute and she wants to escape the current turmoil.

Please know that if I fail to respond to you on my author page or don’t respond to a request on my blog, it is probably because I haven’t yet figured out how to do so and have been working for quite a while to find something, anything that will point me in the right direction. Hey! Like me on Facebook! Tell your friends! I’ll respond. Whether you’ll get my response is anyone’s guess.

6 thoughts on “The Problem With Facebook

  1. Connie, I have a facebook account because my son thought it would be funny to make me one without my knowledge. He did it with the consent of the rest of my family, who all found it uproariously funny because I would hassle them about what a waste of time facebook is. I had an account for several months, with about 70 friends, and had posted several things, all without my knowledge. When I eventually figured it out, I was over my daughter’s shoulder while she was on facebook, and noticed that she was “friends” with me. Life is an adventure, huh? Thanks for the amusing post (or whatever it is) 🙂

  2. Oh Connie, this is funny. When you become a published author you are no longer a private person, you are a public person. Fortunately, I took Journalism 101 at San Jose State University decades ago where I learned not to say anything in print/online I would not like to see as a newspaper headline. So there is that. But there is also the fact that social media hijacks what we put out there and now we have a virtual life that conducts itself without our presence. If that’s not a challenge to be our authentic selves I don’t know what is!

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