Man, does this topic ever make me look like a fuddy-duddy crank. Obviously, Robert and Dagmar were right. And it was less than a year after I opened this topic that I started managing the social media of the research center I worked at, including in some of the exact ways Dagmar had been describing here. Ah well.
Among all the cranky stuff I wrote, though, there's still a couple of things I mentioned that I still find kind of weird and vaguely unpleasant about Facebook when I stop to think about them - it's just that I do them now myself as well, and I don't generally stop to think about them. Basically, it's the whole one-to-many communication thing. Yes, as Robert pointed out, I had a blog before and that's one-to-many as well. And it's very useful for businesses and organizations. But the way we (i.e. many of us, by far not everyone of course) habitually use these one-to-many tools to communicate about our private life still seems a bit odd.
I mean, I totally enjoy seeing photos of beautiful walks friends make, or lovely places they visit. Even when they're not really friends. I smile when someone shares a witty observation. I appreciate it when someone shares an interesting link. And in general, I am glad to know, in overall terms, that people I like, but not in a good-friends way where you communicate directly a lot, are doing well. And to have the possibility to encourage or commiserate with them when they are not doing well, and I would previously never even have known. Well, all the kinds of things that people like Soz and Dagmar and Robert and Patiodog were already telling me in this topic seven years ago.
(Also, I have a lot less patience now for writers who, as Dagmar pointed out about the piece this topic started with, really like to hear themselves talk. And for myself, when I start writing like that. Like in this comment.)
But I think this is still kind of true, once I strip out the hyperbole like so:
Seems an odd way to communicate, somehow. Like, here -- I dont really have the time or inclination to actually write you an email, so lemme just include you on my broadcast-to-all about [what] I'm doing.
I mean, it's a great way to feed [one's need] to share - not with one or the other person individually, but to a hopefully fascinated and impressed audience - and I do have a bit of that in myself too, but it's hardly something I'd want to be encouraged in.
It seems like, I dunno. It's like how people sent these group e-mails from wherever they were, to keep all their friends at once up-to-date with what they're doing. Which was always kind of tasteless. But then writ large.
It's just that, thanks to Facebook c.s., I do some of this now too. Stuff I would have recounted to someone specifically, I now sometimes just post on Facebook. Why? Part laziness, and specifically a kind of non-committalness. Like, you can share whatever it was you wanted to share, without necessarily getting into a conversation. And part vanity - thinking that hey, who knows how many more people might like this; and why settle for sharing it with one person when you can share it with (and perhaps be appreciated by) a bunch of people at once?
Vice versa, too - I mean, I like to see how people are doing. If they're doing fun stuff I'm happy for them, if they're not doing so well I sympathize. I don't have this snobbish disdain anymore about people sharing photos of trips and holidays and parties etc and other people liking them; when I click 'like' it's cause I'm genuinely happy for them. But as an introvert, it does make me lazy. Once I've clicked a few likes and left a few appreciative or empathizing comments, I feel I don't really need to write that email or start that chat anymore; I've done my part, so to say.
All of that combines into kind of an ugly side to my personality, and it's not necessarily much comfort to see that it happens to be a pretty wide-spread ugly side...
(God, this was needlessly long.)