It’s a Love It/Hate It extravaganza this week, as we bring you not one, not two, but three gripping tales of things some of us like that some of us don’t like. Today’s topic: Facebook. Today’s players: Hillary and me, Selena.
Selena: I do not like Facebook. My reasons for this are legion, but the three most pressing are as follows:
- One of my favorite things is to run into someone I haven’t seen in years, and chat with them for a few minutes. If I already know all your kids’ birthdays, how much your dog sheds, where you get your oil changed, and your thoughts on property taxes, there’s really nothing much to chat about. So instead of having a moment of human connection among the Cheese Whiz jars and the pre-cooked bacon, if we’re FB friends, the most we’re going to do is nod at each other.
- I have Facebook friends I only know online (and they’re wizard), and I have Facebook friends I only know from my old neighborhood. One of those groups almost universally shares my political and social views, one of them almost universally does not. I genuinely like all the people in the list, but I really have no desire to know everyone’s political bullshit. Sometimes, maintaining a friendship means choosing to ignore certain things about a person you generally like, and Facebook makes that really difficult to do.
- On a more technical note, it’s plum frightening how much data is available about every single member of Facebook, and how nonchalant everyone is about how that data is shared is just as frightening. I get wanting to share the bits and pieces of life that make it interesting, but none of that information can be taken back. I realize this makes me sound like I sport a tin-foil hat, but I stand by it anyway.
Hillary: I never thought I’d say this, but I love Facebook. A few years ago I didn’t see the point at all, but it has totally won me over.
- I am a hermit. I’ve always been a bit of a lurker in social situations, because they terrify me and I don’t know how to talk to people in real life. Facebook has kept me from being totally isolated since the kiddo was born four years ago and since moving to a new town where I don’t have any friends nearly two years ago. When I was working, I didn’t see the point of going home to read about what my coworkers were doing since I’d just seen them (and as their manager, I probably didn’t want to know what sort of shit they were up to). Once I was home all day with a infant, I was bored out of my mind and needed some form of adult conversation. Facebook (and ladyblogs and, for a while, Tumblr) gave me a chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Trust me when I say I am absolutely hopeless at making friends when it requires actual conversation! Online, I have time to figure out witty comebacks instead of saying something stupid, or I can just not say anything at all if I have absolutely nothing to say. (I’m also kind of a voyeuristic busybody who likes to know what’s going in people’s lives, which is pretty much the best part of Facebook! I can make popcorn and watch shit unfold without having to get involved, then gossip about it to other friends who will be equally outraged/amused.)
- I also have several different groups of Facebook friends. The ones I only know from the Internet are universally awesome, as are the ones from the bookstore I used to work at in NYC. My friends from Texas”¦ well, there’s a reason I moved the hell away from there. Sure, some of them make me want to tear my hair out when they post political bullshit, but I already knew we disagreed about those issues and it’s easier to deal with when it’s surrounded by awesomeness. I’m lucky in that most of them don’t post a whole lot about it, and if they get too infuriating I can delete their asses and then rant about them behind their backs (looking at you, Libertarian asswipe!). Sometimes I even find myself pleasantly surprised when high school or college friends turn out to be more awesome than I thought they were.
- Some of the privacy stuff wigs me out on occasion, but mostly I don’t care too much. I don’t make anything available to the general public outside of my profile pic and such, and that’s only bitten me in the ass once (I got a couple random messages and friend requests after I was on Jeopardy! because my profile pic was of me with Alex Trebek, so I changed it and they stopped). Sure, Facebook’s computer algorithms scan shit to pick out what ads to show me, but they seem to do a piss-poor job of it based on the ads I actually get, and on the rare occasions they tell me about something I want to know about, great! Besides, most of my posts are just cute stories about the kiddo, because hermit! And I figure that by the time she’s old enough to have her own internet presence, Facebook will have probably gone the way of Friendster and everything I’ve said about her won’t really be around in a searchable form anymore anyway.
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