Like it?

Confession: I rather like facebook.

After careful study I’m happy to announce that it’s not the next Babylon; mostly it’s a quiet place where people talk about the weather and their health. I could dispense with some of it. (And I do. Shh.) But I like seeing pictures of faraway people I love, I like meeting up with old friends, I like hearing what the community is up to. I like quite a bit.

The part I understand the least about it, quite frankly, is that {like} thing. I’ve been back on facebook for eight months now and I still can’t figure it out. As with all polite phrases—“How are you?” and “Where is the bathroom?”—people use it with such varying levels of meaning and non-meaning. And urgency.

Shari Zook likes your photo. Joe Shmoe likes your post. James Smith likes what you said to someone else, though he can’t explain what he was doing on her timeline. Matilda Bluebottle likes something you said back in the 1900’s, and she wants you to know it.

Sometimes it simply means I was here.

Sometimes it means I read your comment. Got the info. Thank you!

Sometimes it means This interchange is over. I don’t have anything else to add to our mutually enlightening conversation, so—{like}—Bye-bye.

Sometimes it means I agree with you. Ya took the words right out of my mouth. I would’ve said it myself if you hadn’t been so doggone fast about it.

Sometimes it means I don’t like what you said, but if I don’t {like} it you’ll know I don’t like it, so—{like}.

And sometimes, surprisingly, it means I like what you said. It brought me joy. Made me laugh. Brightened my day. Encouraged my heart.

I {like} stuff as often as anybody, so no complaints there. I’m just learning the language. And noticing the conspicuous absence of a {don’t like} option. You really couldn’t have it, could you? It would be devastating. Shari Zook’s photo album has 3 {likes} and 5 {dislikes}. Yes, two options (black and white) would definitely be old-school and narrow-minded…

I wonder how we thought we could escape narrow-mindedness by reducing the options to one (white)? I wonder if in some future day we will look back on our brief obsession with social media and puzzle over what kind of society could’ve crammed all of life’s emotions and responses into such a small box.

?

Oh well. As long as we all {like} it together.

*****

How do you use your {like} button?
What do you NOT {like}, on purpose?

Watch this facebook philanthropist for a frown and a laugh.

Facebook!

You guys had good thoughts. Thank you! Renee asked an excellent question (“What do you hope Facebook could be for you that it wasn’t before?”) and Cheryl described most clearly the qualms I felt myself when I was in it.

Here is why I hated facebook:

  • Competition
    • You can slant yourself any way you like, and the one who looks coolest wins.
  • Pressure
    • Stay tuned or you’ll miss something. Say yes please please pretty please to five friend requests. Care about all these people. Think of something great to say. Update frequently so others can watch your life over your shoulder.
  • Triviality
    • Conversation is reduced to the most short, silly, and meaningless. Lol.
    • And connections aren’t always as deep as they seem. Ouch.

Here is why I would think of rejoining:

  • Presence
    • I can think of two family relationships that my presence there could significantly improve.
    • My husband is a sort of virtual widower. I’d like to show up so he can be married to somebody. With a tag.
  • Network
    • Sometimes I miss important pieces of communication because people relied on facebook and I wasn’t there.
  • Influence
    • Walking away rarely changes anything—how much less standing back and throwing stones? If I care about my people, why not make the investment of actually showing up in the places they do? Could I join those who fight the pressure/competition/triviality from the inside?

Hmm. If I rejoin, there are several policies I’d have to have in place for sanity’s sake. First, my sister has to join too. Hi sis. The pressure is starting already. Second, if I recognize your name you can be my friend; no more agonizing over degrees of intimacy and personal interest. I can customize my feed to focus on real-life friends. Third, I keep my blog out of it. I love when you guys share my stuff there, but I don’t plan to myself. I think it would split your input in two, and I so much prefer your thoughtful comments here to any number of laconic “likes” there. Fourth and finally, anytime I am given a chance I chose real life over virtual. Yes to a ladies group, yes to a prayer meeting, yes to coffee with a friend, yes to sharing in Sunday school about the things I face. Connection happens best in tangible places.

Enough said. I’m thinking on it… but probably not for long because my hubby says Go.

Help!

(Which brings me to another question. Do you always do what yours tells you?)

Facebook?

Confession: I’m thinking of joining facebook.

Or perhaps I should say rejoining facebook. I had an active account for a year or more, and then suddenly realized I hated it and quit cold turkey. (I still have lung damage.)

I heard some wise ladies say last summer that instead of standing back from the “river” of technology throwing stones at it, watching others get swept away, we should wade in with wisdom and prudence, and become people who keep their feet.

This is a good point and worth pondering.

What do you think about facebook? Like it? Hate it? Both?