Friday, September 10, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship with Facebook

Every time I think Facebook simply cannot get any more annoying, it manages to surprise me. Going from a comment field to a like/dislike button was almost the fatal step in our relationship--now we can all communicate without words, hooray for us.

But...I live thousands of miles from my family and friends and what I often miss most are the small conversations and details of daily living. Facebook gives me that. I just read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen because my bookselling friend Laurie mentioned it so often in status updates when she read an arc of it this summer. And Laurie and I, although we worked together in the states quite amicably, have forged a friendship based upon what I think is a year of playing Facebook's version of online scrabble. Another woman with whom I have had an acquaintanceship for a couple of decades has become someone I have an affinity for based upon a shared passion for obscure corners of Asia. My sons and I can have the off-hand comments that usually only occur when you share a physical space. That is worth a lot of collateral silliness from Facebook--the farms and mafias and pokes--as far as I'm concerned.

Today I was able to see a photo of Seattle performance art that some friends are taking part in, seeing it at the minute it was occurring, thanks to Laurie, and have albums upon albums of family photos to look at whenever I like, without having to lug them around the world in a suitcase. I can hear music that people I love are listening to and can have weird, disjointed little conversations in almost real time on Facebook chat.

It's an imperfect form of communication but overall, I *LIKE* it. It is, I've decided, a personalized version of People magazine, full of people whom I really care about. Facebook, you're a keeper.


10 comments:

Bouwou said...

i could not agree with you more. face book is almost my primary vehicle of keeping in touch with the entire younger generation of my family. my initial motivation to join was exactly that.

as more and more of my generation found their way onto face book the same relationships started to develop there.

it serves its purpose of making one feel included magnificently.

for older gipsy's like me it works.

you have a wonderful talent of formulating all that should be obvious and putting these thoughts in writing.

janet brown said...

Thank you--I think...

Kim said...

Appropriately, I just posted a link to this on my Facebook page!

janet brown said...

And thank you, Kim--I treasure the fact that we established our friendship the old fashioned way--pen, paper and Pinot Noir! (Well, any sort of red wine seemed to do, but I had to have the alliteration.)

Tokyo Ern said...

It's still weird that I knew you before your son became one of my best friends. Thanks to Facebook, I don't feel that the Big Pond gets in the way of our friendship - and yep, I know I haven't been writing any book reviews recently, I shall try to get off my butt on that!

Katia said...

I totally agree... I would also add that for someone working from home, it's a great way of "going out" without having to go anywhere. I cherish my Facebook breaks. I get to read about my friends, see what they're up to, get on an impromptu chat with my brother in Madrid, and then, I can get back to work feeling happy and refreshed. Overall, I love Facebook much more than I hate it. And all the silliness, mafia war, farm and what not, I simply ignore.

thehamstress said...

The peace of mind bestowed upon my mother by my constant travel status updates is not something to be scoffed at. I agree with your feelings about Facebook. I almost wish that there was a way for me to exclude my friends that live nearby, and only have access to the ones far away!

janet brown said...

Katia, doesn't it feel like Facebook is our own private People magazine, populated only by people we like/love?

janet brown said...

Hamstress is a fabulous nom de blog! I wish my mother would get on facebook--and I would rather read a status update on FB than a postcard--more immediate, more honest, more indicative of the person who posted it.

Katia said...

Yes, Janet, that's another good way of describing it. Our own People Magazine :)