I’m always taken aback by how powerfully we feel about Facebook… the proud proclamations of its futility, the dramatic resignations from membership, the love/hate expressions of addiction.
It’s as if we were shoved to join, pressured to accept “friends,” and forced to read all their posts and “like” them. (Weren’t we?)
Then there are those on the outside–the ones who look down on the rest of us for succumbing to this foolery; and also those who reluctantly sign on for a singular purpose–to market their cause or take a peek at photos of their grandchildren–while mocking the full-hearted embrace of the rest.
There seems to be something about this expanded connection that both threatens and lures us.
Yesterday, a husband commented on my rumor, a world without Facebook, saying that he thought FB was HELL. Apparently, he lost his wife to it. She’s found the connection and love she always needed there. (It wasn’t clear if there was another man involved.)
For some of us, the issue is privacy. We’re worried that our comments about the weather might be read beyond our intimate circle of 300.
For others among us, it’s our distaste of mundanity. We don’t want to know about your pets, your kids or your recent medical procedures.
Still others prefer that we limit ourselves to just that. We like our water cooler talk “light”–away from politics, theology and anything else that requires a level of engagement beyond politely nodding our heads.
In a way, joining Facebook exponentially enlarges your family. Suddenly hundreds of people have insight into your life (as you do into theirs) and with that comes expectation, obligation and responsibility. Many of us are overwhelmed as our friends list grows.
One reader of a world without Facebook commented that she left 4 months ago because Facebook irritated her so much. She considered playing the TwoFacebook game (where you whittle down your friends to your favorites), but she couldn’t face the politics of that. After she signed off, an old friend contacted her husband just to make sure she was still alive.
This struck a chord with me.
If we leave Facebook, do we still exist?
(And what about our friends? Are they gone too?)
Kelly Salasin, Full Moon of February, 2012
Love/Hate Facebook is the second in a series on the meaning of the social network.
Click here for Part I–a world without Facebook.
Stay tuned for Part III, The Fecundity of Facebook.