Suburban Snapshots

Facebook for Haters

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I wasn't an early adopter of Facebook. It seemed like I'd had to move so quickly from Friendster to MySpace that I just wasn't in the mood to create yet another profile, upload more photos, and invent a respectable list of remember all of my favorite books.

Eventually it was the seizure-inducing custom profile interfaces and obnoxious autoplay music people kept installing on MySpace that got me to make the switch, and now I'm comfortable admitting that Facebook is where I get most of my information.

Things aren't always copacetic between Facebook and me. Constant, arbitrary upgrades and shady privacy changes lead to days-on-end status updates about how much Facebook sucks. I've had to friend people I really didn't want to and to unfriend others under difficult circumstances. My, ahem, appreciation for Facebook has caused several household discussions and as many self-imposed restrictions.

But Facebook is probably also the reason you're reading this blog. It was entirely responsible for the explosion in my readership back in June, when this post was shared 60,000 times. It's gotten me back in touch with people I genuinely enjoy hearing from and ex-boyfriends I'm pleased to see balding and sporting beer bellies. Though I'm sure some vague high school acquaintances probably friended me to see if — as they expected — I was a lesbian all that time, a few stay in my news feed because they've grown into funny, snarky people who remind me to let go of old assumptions.

I follow restaurants and bands and bloggers. Posts from my local paper keep me informed of area meth lab busts and Oxycontin hold-ups. I keep in touch with relatives around the country and friends around the world. And when I post I try to be entertaining — I don't expect anyone to care whether or not I completed a run or ate peanut butter for lunch unless there's a good punchline.

Last week my friend Katie said, "I hate Facebook. I don't want to know about people's lives. I don't even want to see it open on the computer." She's not a sociopath or a luddite, and I totally respect that some people want nothing to do with social networking. But if you're on the fence, here are some things to consider trying before you abandon the 'book:

  1. Friend judiciously and clean house monthly
  2. If you can't unfriend someone, hide them
  3. Know your privacy and account settings
  4. "Like" your interests to get deals and info early
  5. Don't take it too seriously
It's not for everyone, but it's been a good match for an oversharing, socializing big-mouth like me. Now I have to go write the status update I'll use when I post this entry to my profile page.

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