I have 199 friends.
That is, if you checked my Facebook account today.
I haven't called most of them....ever. And I haven't emailed or messaged them in a long long time. Some of them are friends from high school, some from college, some relatives, some acquaintances, and some are people I actually, physically, hang out with regularly!
I love the idea of Facebook and use it regularly but there are positives and negatives to this social media phenomenon.
Here is my list of reasons why I like Facebook (FB):
1. You can keep up with people you used to spend time with and see what's going on in their lives with little to no effort at all. I like knowing about the new baby, the job change, and my favorite college professors' Saturday plans. Maybe FB has conditioned me to find this interesting, but either way, I like it.
2. You get to interact with people with which you wouldn't normally get to interact. This could be for various reasons; distance, schedules, the fact that you only met them twice because they used to date your 3rd cousin - but now, you have an awesome online friendship! We "like" the photos of each others' kids, comment on posts, give advice when needed, etc. and it's great for that!
3. It gives a sense of connectedness to people when sometimes you are lacking that in your daily life. There are days when you feel like no one is "getting" you, or something great, or awful, has happened an no one is around to tell. Well, problem solved! Write a status and tell your Facebook friends and you'll have people congratulating you, giving advice and encouragement within the hour!
4. Mom crap (or just mundane life crap). As stated in one of my previous posts, I love mom crap. And I love talking about my kids and parenting in general. However, I know that the same four people I spend all day every day with do NOT want to talk about mom crap nearly as much as I totally could. On Facebook, a large number of my "friends" are moms, or are about to become moms. So, if I want to post another picture of my kids or a story about them for the third time today, I will get 12 "likes" and 5 comments and maybe even a message with some other mom's similar story... and I will think, "Yes, they get it!" because you know what? I am going to like their photos and stories too.
Now, reasons why Facebook bothers me sometimes:
1. You can keep up with people you used to spend time with and see what's going on in their lives with little to no effort at all! I don't have to call anyone or schedule a time to get together to find out what's going on. While this was one reason I love Facebook, it is also one of the reasons I hate it sometimes. I SHOULD get together with old friends to catch up. However, this is quite the Catch 22 here: if FB didn't exist, I would probably never communicate with some people I used to hang out with all the time, but are now far away, and so, I would never think to call them up, on a number I don't have, and schedule time to see them.
2. Its misuses by kids (who shouldn't be on it anyway), teens, and young adults. All I have to say is:
No, you should NOT post another picture of your 19-year old self, in a bikini, drinking from a bottle of Jack, as you ride your bike into a pool of Jello, titled "YOLO."
And let's not forget the cyber-bullying that is running rampant in this country. Such an awful use for something that has such great potential to be good.
3. Two words...time suck. I'll admit, I get sucked in to posting things, commenting on posts and photos, liking things, and feeling like I need to see all of my news feed up until I hit posts I've already seen. FB can suck your life away, so be careful. Make a vow with yourself only to check it at certain times...maybe lunch and after the kids are asleep (or when you get home and they're napping) - said the woman who is finishing this post while feeding one kid and watching the other play next to her. I really AM fairly good at limiting my screen time, but I wanted this done before dinner :)
I must say, though, the positives of using Facebook, for me, outweigh the negatives and I will continue to use FB to keep up with and communicate with all those people I have chosen not to "unfriend" thus far.
Note: It's a great idea to sort through your friends and get rid of / unfriend ones you don't actually want to know about or talk to - and I don't mean that in the same way a 7th grade girl might ("OMG, Becky, I am SO unfriending her when I get home!"). I just mean that I would rather have 200 friends and relatives whose stories I actually care about or who I know I might need to get a hold of at some point, then keeping a huge list of friends who probably don't want to see my posts anyway.
What are your thoughts on Facebook? Amazing communication tool? Or huge social mistake?