Facebook. Either you love it or hate it. My feelings about it are in-between. For personal reasons, I loathe it. Too many people stalking your page and your updates, friends competing with others, people feeling they can leave any comment on your page and think it’s cute despite the fact you might have work colleagues or worse yet, family on your page. Even though my personal FB page boasts of almost 260 people, I can honestly say I’m actually friends (as in we talk on a regular basis) with about 50 of them and they’re only people I went to high school and college with along with some key family members. The others? Well, there is that handy-dandy hide button.
For professional reasons, however, Facebook is the next-best-thing to word-of-mouth. If you saw something advertised on FB, you might give it a bit extra thought. A lot of celebrities and politicians post regularly on FB and for a writer, nothing better than getting your career out there. For those reasons, I have a professional FB page dedicated to my writing and all things Vera (and for those who wonder, Vera Roberts is a pen name. There will be a posting on why I chose that name in a particular post later.)
But as wonderful or evil Facebook is, it brings up some interesting developments. People who are not really too bold in real life, seem to grow muscles behind a computer screen. You post a picture and someone close will tell you, for others to see, how much it sucked. And if you get into a relationship and decide to announce it publicly on FB, watch out. Jealous bitches are the rage nowadays. And do not, absolutely do not, post anything remotely expensive. Haters will hate.
It makes you wonder: Are we vicariously living through others via social networks?
This post was inspired by a series of events I have witnessed on FB within the last several months: relationships shattered, dirty laundry aired, people gloating about what they have, people struggling with what they have not and a series of hits and misses along the way. No need to turn on the TV, ladies and gentlemen; Facebook is your live soap opera. You don’t even need to pay for it to watch.
I’ll be the first to admit it: when I first joined Facebook, I was on it like it was crack. I would post a status so frequently, it seemed like everyone knew what I was doing every second of the day, every hour of the week. I was even posting status updates when I was at a funeral! I would be the first to comment or ‘like’ a status and would be checking out other people’s walls and what have you. Facebook solidified that my popularity in high school and college transferred over to adulthood. I was still the IT girl.
But then it dawned on me: if I’m always on Facebook, when am I getting the time to write?
Something strange also occurred. Remember when I said people tend to grow muscles behind a computer screen? Oh yeah. Maybe it’s my calm demeanor, but it seems a lot of my friends and family felt they could say whatever the hell they wanted on my page and not think it was a problem. And there are those friends whom I was cool with in high school and college yet somehow they became overnight bigots (but Black people are still cool in their book apparently). And there are the money and success haters. I learned there are people who are hell-bent to see you not do well even if you don’t speak to them. What kind of fuckery is that?
I took a cue from my college friends, who genuinely are so busy, they really don’t have time to update. And you know what happened? I stopped caring. I think I posted a total of two updates within the past week and a half. But it’s not about posting updates; I simply don’t give a fuck on what people are doing on Facebook anymore. I figure if FB is not paying my bills, why I should pay it any mind? I realized that high school was light-years ago and college, about the same distance.
Am I saying one should abandon Facebook? No. You’re grown and you can do whatever you want. However, I do caution to be very careful on what you admit and who is on your page. I had to cut a lot of people off based on some of their political and religious views. It’s one thing to have free speech; it’s another thing to be flat-out hateful. Working in HR, I’m on FB a lot and ended up getting people fired because they called in sick but their status update told a completely different story.
Ending this commentary is a powerful quotation from one of the best persons ever: