Facebook – keeping the world apart since whenever it was
I signed onto Facebook a few years ago and thought it would be a good way to keep in touch with friends from the schools I have been to. There was a time when I was tempted to delete my account (it was easier back then) because it was annoying me but a friend talked me out of it by saying I could stay in contact with friends.
It quite possibly just be me being anti-social. Even friends I used to see a lot and get along well with, we just seem to ignore each other. Why is this, particularly when it should be so easy to keep in touch?
That TV show I mentioned a while back (All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace) began by saying how computers would be used to connect everyone all over the world and usher in a new self governed Utopia. Obviously that hasn’t happened. What has this got to do with Facebook?
If you haven’t seen this image before, it shows the friends as a map of the world. So for example I have a few friends in New York, so there is a link between the UK and NYC. And this goes for all the links in the picture and interestingly enough it forms a map of the world with certain places not shown (North Korea, Russia (because they use a different social network site) and parts of Africa and the Middle East). A lot of people have Facebook, so many that if it were a country it would be the third largest in the world.
That was quite a tangent but my point is that Facebook is big these days. If you didn’t know that then congratulations, you win something. Obviously if you are reading a blog you must be aware of Facebook.
Anyway I am not a fan of speaking to people on the phone and prefer email correspondence because I can take my time, cut out small talk and get to the point. For me Facebook made it even easier and with photos, updates and other things I could communicate with friends even easier. An example would be if a friend posted a YouTube video of something, either a sporting moment, movie trailer, or news piece and then I could comment and we exchange some kind of ideas and opinions.
But the problem is that there isn’t a lot of communication. I certainly don’t post on people’s walls “hey man, how is it going? what are you up to these days?” because it could possibly be ignored and I’m not really into that thing because it is a bit of an open ended question. Also it doesn’t seem personal and sincere most of the time. There is also the issue of having so many friends, who do I ask first? Will the prioritising of friends cause offence? Not because I have hundreds of friends but even if you have 50 friends it could be a bit weird.
Once while browsing my news feed I complained to a friend that the same people keep coming up, and they are the people I interact with on a weekly basis. I had left school and gone to university and the people I was interacting with in real life were those of university, my new social circle. So I ended up interacting with them on Facebook due to events, photos and other stuff. There ended up being a change somewhere on FB of what appears on your News Feed and it turned out to be with those you interact with most at the moment. I turned it off but it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. As for the occasional thing that does come up from someone I haven’t seen in ages it is something that has no context or isn’t very exciting. Sure I haven’t seen this person for two or three years but I don’t care what they ate for dinner last night.
Of course though, I could seek out these people out on my Facebook and see what they are up to and interact with them. Although there is the social taboo of ‘Facebook stalking’. People put information up on FB so I shouldn’t really feel guilty about looking at their profile but for some reason I do.