Much Ado About Facebook

facebook-logo social mediaLately, I’ve become a little disenchanted by Facebook.

I actually had a Facebook account way before it was cool, before the site skyrocketed and the twenty-something founders became billionaires.

Back then, I didn’t quite “understand” it and not very many people I knew had accounts so, for a long time, my account was stagnant. I even closed it down once because its purpose was unclear to me.

Then, everyone (and their brother) started an account so I jumped back in. How exciting to see photographs and updates from my next-door neighbor, my coworkers, my high school buddies, and my out-of-state friends!

But then - it started to feel superficial to me. I realized that a single e-mail, phone call, letter, or visit with friend was more worthwhile than reading a hundred facebook status updates.

I also looked at the ROI of my time spent and found it to be somewhat unsatisfactory.

  • If I craft a blog post, I am potentially impacting thousands of people, plus honing my writing skills.
  • If I write a thank you card, I am brightening someone's day.
  • If I send out a partnership query to a company, I am potentially building an important business relationship.
  • If I do my laundry and load the dishwasher, I am creating a happy, peaceful environment for my family to thrive in.
  • If I bake with my 3-year-old, I am investing in her life.
  • If I make my 6-month-old laugh, I am making the world a better place - for her, for me, for everyone who hears it and sees her gummy smile.

But if I spend hours on facebook? Quite frankly, there's not much to "show" for my time spent.

All that said, I’m not giving up on Facebook yet. I sincerely appreciate getting “glimpses” into other people’s lives - their joys, successes, sadnesses, struggles.

I just can’t keep up with all of the quizzes, games, gifts, and fan clubs.

So I’m going to let it go. I'm not going to jump out completely. I'm just going to step back “into the shadows.”

I’ll check in from time-to-time, but you won’t find me splashing you with a waterballoon or sending you a rose or playing Mafia Wars.

There are more important things (ahem...people) in my life:

sisters-september-2009 on-daddys-shoulders

YOUR TURN: What's your "take" on Facebook?

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31 comments on “Much Ado About Facebook”

  1. I have a facebook account (and your a friend of mine) but I don't spend too much time on it. If I had to minutes to either 1 - Facebook or 2 - Blog I would much rather blog. I value my blogging friendships much more than my facebook ones.

  2. I totally agree that there are so many better ways to spend you time then games and quizzes on facebook. I enjoy catching up with friends and relatives but I do little else on facebook.

  3. Same here. I used to have a facebook account a few years ago, I thought it was so stupid. I shut down my account and went on my way - not thinking a think about it. Now, like you.. . Everyone has it and I decided to see what the hype is. I don't do the games, quizzes etc but keep up with friends and I do like becoming a fan of companies I am very much interested in - cloth diapering, etc. I like to keep up with some friends on there but I should spend less time. =) Great post!

  4. I have met up with some old friends via FB, I found a loving home for my dog to an old elementary school friend on FB and found out that another friend lives in the town next door to me and we've gotten together IRL because of FB. I don't think I would have done so otherwise. I don't spend hours on it playing games or doing quizzes, I really appreciate it for what it is.

  5. I rarely update my facebook status. Just don't have time. When I do update, it's because I have something to share that I think my extended family I don't see a lot would like to know. For me, the best thing about Facebook has been keeping up with cousins, aunts, etc. whom I don't get to see in person too often.

  6. i don't blame you. i am totally on it for the pictures. i do like being able to chat for free with long distant friends but i also have msn for that (and you can do webcam convos on msn that you can't do on facebook).

  7. I had a facebook account and canceled it. It ended up being a huge waste of my time. I realized that I needed to spend that time with my kids. It has a way of sucking you into it. I did love the fact that I was able to see how old friends were after years have gone by, and to see and talk to friends in another country. So, that was cool. But I figured I could just drop them an E-mail now.

  8. I was pretty smitten with facebook for awhile. But, I've slowly become disenchanted. I'm now very selective in how I use it. I steer clear of the games, farms, gifts, etc. I also don't check every single update. Occasionally, I glance through them, but I've found that I typically know the truly important stuff about the people who I care about. This is probably awful, but I usually mark myself as being offline when I'm checking facebook. That way I can avoid people trying to chat with me. My close friends and family call me if they need me, so generally the people who want to chat are just people who are on there to waste away time.
    However, I've found that facebook is actually a really great tool for church work. I'm the children's director for my church, and facebook is one of the fastest and easiest ways to organize fundraisers, outings, and events. So, it does have its good points. It just has to be used in my opinion. :)

  9. I like it because I can keep track of people from school and my family. I just have people that I care about on there. I also block all the apps out there. So that helps with all the crazy stuff on my news feed. I hope you caught Fringe last night!

  10. I have enjoyed getting back in touch with classmates and other people I knew from life before 4 kiddos via facebook. I have my blog posts fed into my facebook account, and those are the only things that I ever contribute. I also have hidden the updates of all but my closest of friends so that I don't have to hear about every little aspect of everyone's day or see any of the ridiculous games.

  11. I am so with you on this one. I signed up originally because it was an easy way to get back in touch with my long lost friends. And that is the only reason I am still on. The games, to me, are such a waste of my time. As are the quizzes and pretty much everything else. I use it as a networking site, and that's it.

  12. i have facebook, and i love it -- but i don't participate in any of the game type stuff - i don't add the applications, except for the one that keeps track of my fertility for me =)

  13. Completely agree! I do like the fact that I have found people on it that I haven't seen or heard from in years. But to the gifts, flowers, what kind of shoe are you?....a little lame.

  14. My Facebook story is very similar to yours! I am trying to cut back on my time spent. I HIDE all those ridiculous quizes and applications. I like to browse through the daily status updates to see what the latest is and I like the photos. That is where my Facebook loyalties lie!

  15. I totally agree with you! I was Facebooking a TON until my internet got shut off and we had some trouble getting it back on. Now that I have it back again, I realize that there are better things I can be doing with my time... I have a two year old who enjoys it when I read to her,I have dishes to load, laundry to do, floors to mop and so forth. I still like FB don't get me wrong,(mainly for the pics of the family) but it takes up so MUCH of the day if you let it. Frankly blogging can take up your day too, commenting and reading others blogs but with blogging you are getting to know that person alittle bit more than a couple of sentences in a status update. Thanks for this entry. Hmmm....Better evaluation of my time.... Will do. And I'll start by NOT turning to FB as often as not.

  16. I like Facebook. I do not like quizzes, pokes, water balloon fights, passing drinks around, or any of that garbage. You can hide all of those by clicking on the right hand corner and choosing 'hide'. You will never see another farmville update again! Something else I appreciate is that you can choose to IGNORE any and all requests for stuff and even friend requests and the sender will not know you ignored it. It doesn't send any notification to the sender declaring that you have chosen to ignore them. Phew!! I ignore all of those things! You can also choose what type of info you would like to be updated on and by who.

    I have friends and family that live all over the world and it has been a great way to keep in contact with them and give them a glimpse into our world and keep in touch. I COMPLETELY agree that personal contact, phone calls, letters (I love sending real mail - it is so nice to receive real mail), and personal visits are much more important and much better, but with parents in Uganda and brothers and sisters in the Canary Islands and Austria it is very nice to have facebook.

    I am not sure how one would go about spending hours on facebook though? What is there to do that could take longer than a few minutes here or there? I guess I don't really want to find out :-)

  17. I resisted it for a long time but finally gave into peer pressure as a lot of my adoption friends quit blogging and turned to facebook. I love the ability to watch all of those beautiful Guatemalan babies grow through photos and read snippets about their antics. I've also had a ball getting back in touch with high school and college friends. Yes, all of those interactions are relatively shallow but that is all I desire from those relationships. I couldn't possibly keep in touch and personally with all of those folks (nor could I read all of those blogs if my adoption friends had all kept blogging).

    But as an added bonus, it has allowed some of my shallow relationships with moms from my Mom's Club to become a little less shallow. It allows us to interact more often and get to know each other at least a little bit. It is also easier to ask someone out on a play date on Facebook than calling them up or emailing - less pressure, more casual. I know how ridiculous that sounds but I've found it to be true! So with a couple of them we've made the jump from casual acquaintance to friend because of FB.

    But I don't see the point of spending hours on FB nor do I like all of the games and quizzes. I do play scrabble with my mom and a friend through facebook and that is fun.

  18. I checked my facebook last night and saw that 2 different friends posted status updates that gave a "teaser" to a tragic event that had happened in their life. I found myself thinking "What would prompt someone to post an update like that? Should I ask why your son is in the ER and your husband is rushing to meet you? Should I post a comment saying that I am sorry about the unexpected death in your family... even though you are being blatantly cryptic about it?"

    Sometimes it's fun to read about something funny that happened that day, or to see a picture of the cute new shoes that a friend bought, but I am slowly falling out of the facebook "loop," too.

  19. I forgot to add:

    I don't have zillions of people on my facebook page. I solely opened it for family only, a few very close friends, and that is it.

    I learned my lesson with twitter. I have thousands of followers and I often lose my good friends updates in the mix.

    I wasn't going to make that mistake again. These social networking sites aren't about popularity to me anymore... huge numbers of random people following me/keeping updated isn't what I want.

    I now realize it's about the few close friendships that matter to me when using these sites.

    Okay, donesie ;)


  20. I enjoy facebook much more now that I've learned to HIDE all the quizzes, games, gifts and stuff like that. I can flip through the updates, see what people have been up to and close it down quickly.

    I'm glad I have an account. But I don't need all the time-suckers.

  21. Facebook, much like twitter, feels very self indulgent to me. I should clarify that statement... often it does. Not always. And even when I use both of those tools I feel a little too into myself and how important is it that I share what I just watched on TV? I mean, really?

    I do appreciate facebook in the sense that there are family members who live very far from me and this is about the only way I get to see their kids grow up. And twitter for keeping in the loop for the few important tweets that roll out, or getting to know someone I might not normally have met.

    But I whole heartedly agree that phone calls, emails, snail mail, and lunch dates are so much better than any social networking tool. Even blogs. I adore reading people's blogs, but I have to have a more personal relationship with friends that simple reading a blog. The blog is the icing on the cake. That's why people will often find me emailing them when they leave a comment on my blog.

    I so love the pictures in this post. Your family is so very lovely!


  22. i'm totally not into facebook anymore. i use it to put up pictures that i can send my grandma, but thats about it.
    i prefer blogging and firmly believe that NOTHING can replace a handwritten note!

  23. I agree, but also have found it really helpful to use facebook to connect and reconnect with people. I haven't had as much internet access lately, tho, and it has been SO refreshing to NOT know what is going on in people's lives (in that superficial sense) and NOT waste so much time online.
    Also, I think these are the cutest photos you have posted yet! I love them!

  24. I find it impersonal if people have hundreds of friends on facebook...I mean, really, why do people add EVERYONE they have ever met as a friend? I've deleted people who asked me to be friends and then they NEVER wrote or commented or said, "Hi." For example, my mom died in'd think most people would say something about that...but really only the ones who are actively checking their friends pages are the ones who did. The people who have 500 friends didn't see all my status' of what I was going through during her illness or death. So, I find it lacking in that way.

    And, it bugs me when someone who I haven't talked to or seen in a very long time requests me to be a friend, but when they send the request, there is no note saying, "Hey, been a long time, nice to see you here." Nothing. What's up with that? I just think it's common courtesy.

    With that being said, I do enjoy connecting with people from my childhood who I really am interested in. Not just to collect "friends."

  25. I am deleting my Facebook page at the end of the month. I have never really understood the appeal. Also, Facebook's privacy policy was such that all of those third-party applications (MafiaWars, water balloon, etc) could see and use all of your private information for marketing. No thank you.

    Also, even if you make your profile private, people can still see your friends list, and can discover information about you from those friends whose profiles are not private. I dug up some info on an ex that way.

    Finally, I have lots of different areas of my life where I interact with people. The internet, school, work, playgroup. On facebook, people from those places can see each other. And while I might keep my involvement in, say, a curling website private, a friend from said website might have their stuff all over their page, and then oops! My interest in curling is out!

    I like keeping my work friends at work, my school friends at school, etc. It's better for me that way. So, bye bye, Facebook!

  26. I totally agree with you...I basically use it to keep up with people I don't see (because they live in another state). I don't think I've ever played a mafia war or thrown a balloon or anything like that. I can't justify "wasting" time like that when there are things to be done. Like cleaning, or reading to my toddler, or the rare occasion when my husband and I get to go out to a movie...I've been parting with Facebook since it started. : )

  27. I skip all the "stuff" and simply focus on the "updates" and that helps a lot. Also I only post an "update" about once a day. I've also severely limited my "friends" so that I'm not overwhelmed with news from lots of people I don't really know. That said - I'd add you to my friends list! However... I'm about to delete my account and set up a couple of new accounts - one for my local business contacts, because it has proven to be a valuable tool for that and one for personal use - for my IRL friends, internet friends and family - I'd like to keep the two facets of my life a bit more separate than they are able to be right now on Facebook.

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