I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I spent all of last November on a Facebook fast – and boy was it liberating. It also altered my Facebook habits permanently. I suppose I have to rewind the story to the day I opened a Facebook account to begin with.
It was 2007, May 21. I know the exact date because I can look it up on Facebook. That’s the power of Facebook. If I wanted to look up when I went to that person’s wedding, all I have to do is find the photos and the date tag for it.
Anyway, it was nearing the end of my year in China – it felt like a very long year, and it seems so long ago now (7 years!), but there are memories from that time that are as acute as if they had happened earlier this morning. My entire team had opened Facebook accounts – partly to keep in touch with our far-flung family, and partly to keep in touch with each other as our time together came to a close.
And that’s one of the reasons (the main one, really) of why I still have one today: to keep in touch with far-flung friends and family. Although I use WhatsApp more often with my family now (more private), I still use Facebook to maintain contact with Team Taiyuan and other friends whom I can’t see regularly do to distance and time.
I mainly post work/education related things on Facebook now, or I post random jokes. But I’ve been guilty of every single one of these insufferable status posts. I’ve also shared WAY too much to people who I don’t really care about (in my defense, they probably don’t really care about me either).
Which leads me to thing #2 that I dislike about Facebook: it leads to a culture of not caring. As if seeing it on Facebook is now ‘official’ and there’s no more need for the common courtesy of a private message/email/phone call to break that news of an engagement/wedding/birth/new job opportunity/death/illness/etc. Where’s the one-on-one touch?
So yes, I am an avid Facebook user. But I also contact the people I publicly care about in private as well. I love to hang out with them, or keep up a string of messages/text conversation with them. I’m even getting better about phone calls.
Because a Facebook status update is not enough.