Thoughts on Facebook

Confession # 1: I admire people who don’t use Facebook.

Confession # 2: I will probably never be one of those people.

I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve deactivated my account on numerous occasions. But I always come crawling back. It’s the thrill of the snoop, the thrill of catching up with old “friends”, and the thrill of projecting the very best image of Natalie that I can.

I admire people who don’t use Facebook for one simple fact: because they don’t need it. I bet if you surveyed a group of non-Facebook users you would come away with one common theme: they are secure enough and satisfied enough in their real life relationships that they don’t try to get affirmation from the online ones.

I’m not saying that the friends you have online aren’t real friends. But I do have to ask, if you didn’t have Facebook, would you even invest in half of those friendships? Do you even invest in half of those friendships? A quarter? A tenth?

I really believe that those who dwell in the realm of no Facebook enjoy rich and meaningful friendships and wonder why they would add the time and hassle to their lives of “connecting” with people that they actually wouldn’t really choose to connect with.

So why do we do it?

I think it’s in part because it gives us a place to share who we are (just like this blog). But this can quickly transform into a place to share who we want to be. The beautiful one. The smart one. The popular one. The one who gets all the chicks. The one who has the most “friends”, or the one who gets the most “likes”. We start to market ourselves on Facebook.

There is difference between shameless self promotion and sharing something that is actually good and beneficial to the public. I used to always post my new blog entries on Facebook, but the truth is,  I can only count a handful of times when I felt the “conviction” to share what I had written with my Facebook “friends.” The reality is that I loved the way it felt to post a new blog and then see how many likes and comments I could get. I was addicted to checking my WordPress stats.

I have shifted to a place where it doesn’t really matter to me who reads my blog anymore.  I write because I love to write. I don’t write because I get busy. And if I don’t feel like writing, well…that’s a problem that I have to fix. And to those who have remained faithful readers – even after I stopped including blog posts in status updates – thank you!

So even though I may never get rid of Facebook entirely, I hope that my attitude towards it will become like this blog: that I’m not trying to impress and that I am true to who Natalie is. And if that happens, then maybe I’ll actually go through my list and remove those people who aren’t really my friends anyway… ;)

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Facebook

  1. My daughter is 20 and does not use Facebook. She has a very active social life and is a straight A student in college. Her friends admire her for that. I tried Facebook myself but gave up on it after the novelty wore off. People present an incredibly superficial view of themselves and it was unneccessary for me. A phone call or email or better yet, meeting up for coffee is the way to go.

    • Hi Jannet,

      Thanks for commenting. I agree about the superficiality. People present who they want to be rather than who they are, and I think it does more to distance people rather than bring them together. Good for your daughter!

  2. I’m with ya Nat. The only reason I signed up 2 years ago was because people created events or sent emails only through fb and I was getting left out. Sniff sniff. Now I’m in the loop and have my friend count very low to mostly only people I actually communicate with :)

    Love your writing & miss reading them as often! Keep it up … as long as you want & feel inspired!

  3. I don’t know… like anything, I think the issue is more how you use it than what it is. I’m totally guilty of using it, at times, for all the reasons that you’ve listed above. And I’m certainly not saying that it should be the sum total of all relationships. I just think maybe it’s being overly self-critical to use the lack of facebook as a litmus test for a life well lived.

    And as a writer, of course you want people to read what you write. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, necessarily, as long as it doesn’t come become constant self-promotion/self-monitoring. Cooking a meal is always more fun when you have someone else to eat it; making a quilt is more fun when you have someone in mind to give it to. But I guess as writers we’re a lot more introspective than the average cook/quilter, and therein lies the danger. ^^

    • Hey Kat!

      True that lack of Facebook should not be a litmus test for a life well lived, but what I was trying to point out is that when it comes to living a good story, I agree with our buddy Don Miller: those who are living a good story are too busy engaging in it to write about it.

      And that’s where I have a problem with people who “live” in Facebook. The status updates, the likes, and the photo posts are so overwhelming at times that I have to wonder if they are living in the real world. Heck, maybe they are and they just want everyone to know about it.

      All I can say for myself is that when my Facebook becomes less active I can pretty much guarentee it’s because my life in the real world is too satisfying for me to connect to a virtual reality. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

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