I’m a bad person because I want to get off Facebook because I don’t really care about other people.
I know. Of all the dark and despicable deeds in the world it’s hardly worth mentioning. But the realisation that I’m just not that interested in others and their lives goes against a basic assumption that I’ve always made about myself – that I’m a selfless, caring, person.
Partly I know it’s a personality thing. While it might seem a ridiculous claim for someone who blogs to make, I don’t really like sharing my private thoughts and feelings in a public forum and I find the comments and status updates of those who do a bit unnerving. I know this is simply a personality clash – online as in the real world there are people who gush like a tap on full blast and then there are those people more like a tap that’s been rusted off for years. They’ll only open up given the right lubricant (usually wine or beer). I fall somewhere in the middle. I can overshare at times but not to a complete stranger on the bus.
On Facebook I don’t share pictures of my children because I feel this opens them up to people I don’t know and who might use those pictures in unsavoury ways. I try to steer clear of being political or controversial – my mum always told me not to discuss politics, religion or money with people and I apply to this rule equally to Facebook as I do to my real world relationships. The exception being good friends and family, because always agreeing would be so dull. And I rarely comment on other people’s status updates simply because between B1 and B2, my husband, my writing and the
evil overlord cat, I don’t have a lot of time.
But other people, of course, are different. They share their hopes, dreams and worries. They share photos of their kids, their accomplishments, their illnesses, their failures and how crap (or otherwise) their teacher is. They make political statements. They condemn some and laud others. They make annoying philosophical comments which then encourages others to make comments like, ‘oh hun. wots rong?’ *shudder*
And the artificial intimacy created by a forum such as Facebook maintains relationships that might otherwise have fizzled out. It’s like thawing and refreezing and thawing and refreezing a friendship. And we all know how that well that works out with chicken.
So why, you may be screaming at your computer, don’t I just pull the plug? After all, no one is forcing me to read other people’s Facebook posts.
Partly it’s because I don’t want to be a bad person. Or, more accurately, be seen as being a bad person who doesn’t care about the lives and interests of others.
And partly it’s because I don’t want to miss out. Increasingly friends, actual friends who I actually see in real life, communicate only through Facebook. Party invites, birth announcements, job promotions, and the list goes on, are all put on Facebook. If I’m not…how will I know these things? This poses some difficult questions about friendship that I’m not ready to face yet…but will wake me up at 3am.
So, tell me, how Facebook savvy are you? And how much do you share or not share? And do you have any tips for me on finding Facebook zen?