Inspired by Sara’s post.
I joined Facebook back in early 2005; my first instinct was to snark on the site because the only people on there were my former high school classmates, and I wasn’t ready to “care” about what was going on in their lives. Then more of my friends started joining, and people I hadn’t seen in 13 years started contacting me. Soon it was the place to make plans, and keep in touch with my friends. I was even more excited when the UK hoped on the bandwagon because it meant I no longer had to write individual emails to my friends, all I had to do was update my status and write “how are you?” on their wall. Voila, a way to “maintain” a friendship.
I was also won over by the addition of applications and quizzes. Let’s face it, I think it’s important that people know I’m most like Elizabeth Bennett, and that if I were an ice cream flavor then I would be mint chocolate chip. One Facebook friend complained that these quizzes were about procrastination and a waste of time. It’s possible that those are some peoples’ motivations, but I think it all boils down to narcissism.
At this point, Facebook has become about showing the world who we think we are. We’re selling ourselves trying to prove to our “friends” that our lives are pretty damn good. Example: I know people who are constantly telling their SO via facebook that they love them. In reality, the relationship isn’t so good. Another example: a friend, wanting to show what a good step-daughter she is, posted a Mother’s Day message to her step-mom(who doesn’t have a Facebook)This resulted in a number of “likes” and showing of approval from various friends. Why not actually call the step-mom, the person it would actually mean something to? Well, the direct call doesn’t show the world that you are amazing for caring about someone you really don’t have to.
Maybe that’s unfair, maybe people do care, but I do think we’re getting pretty lazy when it comes to showing affection/interacting with people outside of Facebook. What happened to actually emailing/writing friends to fill them in? What about calling them? A few weeks ago I had a friend message me via FB instead of calling me to tell me she couldn’t make it to our lunch. Just a few years ago she would’ve called, left a voice mail and I would have known sooner rather than later that my plans had changed. Maybe I’m one of the few that doesn’t have instant access to FB, but honestly, a call seems more personal. It seems like your actually participating in a friendship.
Maybe it’s time we back away from the computer, call up one of our friends and see if they want to meet for coffee. Maybe we actually make the effort instead of letting FB do the work for us. Maybe it’s time we get back to the “real world.”