Happy Friday, Dear Readers!
You know those people who are always over-sharing? The casual acquaintance that blurts out that her husband cheated on her, proceeding to cry on your shoulder; the new parent who can’t stop talking about her infant’s (or god forbid, puppy’s) bowel movements at the dinner table; the co-worker who ensures that everyone knows the nasty little details about everyone else’s life?
Well, Facebook can be a lot like that.
I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I know I spend too much time on it–precious, valuable time that could be used for more important things. But as a writer, working in a department of one, I love how connected it makes me feel. I’ve met some amazing people on Facebook, and reconnected with old friends. It also lets me get to know new friends much faster than I would have without it. The support network that Facebook can generate is incredible. It’s like a gigantic “word-of-mouth” machine.
I once dated a guy who hated Facebook. He didn’t like how much it revealed about people’s personal lives, how invasive it was. And to my argument that it helps you get back in touch with wonderful people, his point was that if they were that wonderful, you wouldn’t have lost touch with them in the first place. (Interestingly, after our break-up, he dived hardcore into Facebook and is now busily collecting Friends, I assume.)
Facebook has definitely caused some dark days for me. I’ve seen photos I haven’t wanted to see, heard some pretty ugly news, and witnessed a lot of people behaving badly. Remember that support network? For some people, that is license to air whatever dirty laundry they choose, writing something awful in a status update that they’d never say face-to-face.I particularly loathe passive-aggressive updates: Tina hates it when her friends aren’t loyal, etc.
Still, all in all–its time-wasting potential aside–I would say Facebook has been a good thing for me. It’s how I met The Boy and discovered our many shared interests. I reconnected with the little sister of a dear friend who passed away in high school, and that alone has meant the world to me. I am able to “meet” the new babies of friends who live too far away, and watch them grow up, and easily stay connected with friends on the other side of the world (or the other side of the city). As much as it’s difficult to learn of that seemingly happy couple’s divorce through a status update, without Facebook, I would never know and could never say I’m sorry for what they’re going through. In light of all this, the dark days seem a small price to pay.
What do you think, Dear Readers? Has Facebook become too personal? Have you ever over-shared, or has one of your Friends made you uncomfortable? Is Facebook a positive or negative force in your life?
Thanks to Dr. Graham Young for suggesting this post.