Me and Facebook (and I)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/06/15 14:59 -04:00, original URI:

When I was at TechEd I found myself in a conversation with some people about Facebook and how into each of us were. Afterward, one of those people (who used to be on Facebook but has since then left) suggested I write this blog. So here goes....

I am on Facebook.

It is funny, looking at my "Friends" list -- many of my friends, some of my colleagues, some of my acquaintances, a few of my family members, and even a couple of my idols are as well.

And there are of course many people in all of those categories who would rather be served a Crystal Drano margaritas than join a site such as Facebook, or rejoin it after they left.

I am technically not a "real" Facebook person since I quickly tired of the quizzes and games and applications. The constant motion and change inherent in these "active" ways to spend (or to be more accurate, waste) time just doesn't hold that much appeal for me. I started going down that road and then realized that was the kind of "fun" one gets by receiving the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes mail and following all the instructions -- and that it really wasn't that much fun.

My "modern" Facebook presence is limited to:

Status updates are a different kind of fun for me -- as someone who usually feels too slow for Twitter and too old for Texting, I think it provides a very nice mix that I can keep up with. And there is not much room for building fanbases on status info, which seems like a nice balance, for me.

Like most on that site, there are people I am connected to who I had lost touch with for many years, and the first time I was "Friend'ed" by someone who I never imagined even knew or cared I exist is a bit of a rush. It seems like most people have stories like that; I think we just underestimate each other as people often enough that we are quite easily impressed in the more risk-free social "situations" provided.

I have even been "unfriend-ed" -- by one person who couldn't believe I even had a TV let alone that I ever watched so much of it, by another who apparently was unhappy with something I did or said there or in a blog post. And then there are the people who I refuse to ever "Friend" just on principle and those who I would never "Friend" unless they "Friend-ed" me first. I kind of enjoy all of these things too, as it is a bit like being back in fifth grade again without the social awkwardness that fifth grade implies for me.

I learn about politics there faster than I do from The Daily Show and the Colbert Report -- with people like Jon Pincus around it seems almost unavoidable! And even though I do not join all of the political groups or get too involved with any of them myself, the glimpses are not such a bad thing to see as a bystander. Most of the glimpses are that way, really.

I have friends who left facebook after "stalking" type situations happened to them -- and that kind of thing horrifies me to no end and remind me that as good as people can be, they have an unbounded capacity for suckage given means, opportunity, and a ridiculous motive they talk themselves into.

Looking at the list, I have friends who were once really into the social aspects of Facebook with their friends and now that the left school and joined the real world it is just some occasional tool to remember them and how to find them; compared to the "old days" they are so passive than weeks or months can go by without them remembering to visit a site they used to look at regularly.

I admit that I do not even look at the status updates of my friends as often as I might; I just forget to look often enough, and stay too busy to remember to look anyway.

But with a profile picture of Cerebus (David Sim's misanthropic anthropomorphic three-foot tall bipedal gray aardvark) I seem to not hold the interests of others in that way, which is again a good thing.

My blog posts get listed there, so friends who want to follow the blog without really jumping into every post have [another] easy way to do so.

After trying so many of the different RSS Feed Facebook applications, I finally settled on Flog Blog, which for me has the right mix of "minimal intrusion" in the lives of others and also "minimal work" on my part. I have imagined explaining how I came to the decision to use Flog Blog and what I do with it (and even have a partially written blog on this topic) but in separating the

from the

the "How I chose to settle for Flog Blog" post feels so firmly in the second category that I can't even motivate myself to finish writing it, let alone post it.

In fact I find as I self-consciously write this blog feeling like it is a bit in the second category despite being kind of solicited, I find probably the most useful thing I have gotten from Facebook is a better ability to differentiate between those two categories.

In the end, I like Facebook for what it is for me, and understand the people for whom it is both significantly more and significantly less.


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# Dave Stadnick on 15 Jun 2008 6:59 PM:

Michael, I'm trying to decide if I want to set up a facebook profile and saw your blog.  I appreciate your comments.  Thanks for posting.

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