Why I Joined Facebook: The Good
When I joined Facebook around 2008 it was because I wanted to connect with old friends I’d lost track of and distant family and friends I rarely get to see. Maybe you joined for the same reason. It’s fun to see who my ex-students became, who they married, and what they look like now. I enjoy knowing how my friends spend their days and where they live. I love seeing photos of their children and grandchildren. I no longer miss out on important milestones in their lives. We can support each other in times of grief — even across the miles. We can also share happy times and joke around with each other.
Facebook makes it easy to update several friends at once on what’s happening in our lives. We cannot possibly write to everyone we care about — even by email. It takes time to express ourselves about things that matter to us. Facebook fills in some of the gaps.
My Writing Life Changed My Facebook Experience
Not long after I joined Facebook, I started writing online at Squidoo. I was also part of one of its networking groups, RocketMoms. Those of us who were RocketMoms became very close to each other. Even after the demise of Squidoo, we continued to communicate. One of the ways we did that was through Facebook. Some of us still blog together on Review This Reviews.
A few months after I started networking with other Squidoo writers, I heard about HubPages. Soon I was writing there and meeting many other writers on that platform. Many of us joined new emerging platforms and social networks, most of which died after a year or two. Yes, I belonged to Zurker, Tsu, Bubblews, Niume, and many of the smaller sites that have since disappeared. At each site I became acquainted with new people who started sending me friend requests on Facebook. I readily accepted many of them I really thought of as friends. Too many more, though, had names I didn’t recognize. To accept or not to accept. That was the question. I accepted more than I should have so as not to offend anyone.
It’s easy to cross the boundary between friends and acquaintances, personal and business. Joining Facebook networking groups helped solve this problem with new acquaintances, but not with the older ones I had already added to my friends’ list. I found myself sharing less and less of what was important to me then because of privacy issues. And it also left me with more friends than Facebook wanted to show me on my feed. Facebook began to decide which ones I should see all the time.
Don’t Pressure me to Post Your Canned Content!
I can’t quite remember when it started, but in the recent past, Facebook- produced videos started appearing in my feed. Facebook encouraged me to share them on my timeline. Anyone on Facebook has probably seen the canned Friendversary videos. Starting in 2017 Facebook also decided they should make a video of the high points of my year — as Facebook saw them.
“Sometimes looking back helps us remember what matters most.”
The quote above appeared at the end of the 2018 video. The question here is what matters most to whom? Facebook or me? Certainly not me. If I wanted a video summary of my year, I could make a better one myself. But I don’t particularly want one. I may or may not post them, depending on their content.
Talk about Pressure! Friendversary Videos
Friendversary videos are harder since I suspect they send them to both my friend and me. So the friend knows if I don’t post it. I don’t want to lose a friend over something this silly. At first, I shared the ones for really close friends. Then they started celebrating “friends” I didn’t even recognize. So I finally explained on my timeline why I don’t post these anymore.
What do you all think of Facebook’s rather bland Friendversary videos? Friends, will you forgive me if I don’t share them? They really don’t say much, and I would rather share my own sentiments than something Facebook cans for me. How about you?
Here’s what my friends said.
Now I don’t post canned videos. I only post a few of the past posts Facebook suggests I share from yesteryears — the ones still meaningful to me.
Facebook is Patronizing
There are many things that Twitter does I don’t like, but at least it doesn’t try to create content for me to post. It doesn’t try to manipulate me into participating more. It makes it easy for me to organize ways to see what I want to see when I want to see it. Facebook thinks I need help. With almost everything.
Facebook wants to help pick my friends by constantly suggesting people I don’t know. When I’m in a closed or secret Facebook group, it wants me to invite people to join or just add them. (Sure, Facebook. I’d love to invite my high school buddies to join the secret group for the blog contributors for our group blog — not.)
Facebook knows neither me nor my friends and has no idea who should be joining secret groups I belong to. I know my friends and their interests better than you do, Facebook! I know how to invite people to appropriate groups without any help from you. I respect them too much to add them to groups instead of inviting them.
May 2020 update
In the middle of May I checked into a Facebook group on my desktop to network. The layout had been transformed, but not n a good way. The timeline was too wide and the photos were pixilated. It was an unusable mess. I went back to using Facebook on my phone.
My brother messaged instructions on how to return to the classic view and switch views when I needed to, but the things he said I would find on the screen to help make the changes didn’t appear on my screen. I probed the settings, clicking any heading I thought might be relevant and never found this “Switch to classic Facebook” my brother and this article mentioned would appear under the arrow on the top right.
I don’t know what I finally clicked or what happened, but suddenly my next click to my timeline revealed it had returned to normal. I felt like a monkey being manipulated in an experiment.
I’m hoping the classic layout will not switch on me again. It does not increase my productivity or pleasure when I want to quickly post or message someone and discover I’ve reached unfamiliar terrain and an unscheduled learning experience instead.
Do You Have Any Facebook Pet Peeves?
I’d love to hear yours. Please feel free to respond below. If you think I’m being too hard on Facebook you are welcome to share that, as well. I’m not anti-Facebook. But there are many things I find there that make me want to say, “Stop it, Facebook. Just stop it!”