Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Exactly is Facebook For, Anyway?

I asked that question flippantly yesterday as part of a status update on Facebook, and even, tongue-in-cheek, said I might write about that today.

But then I decided to really do it.  Go figure.

I've actually thought about that very thing, off and on, for awhile now.  There was a time when I thought I would never join Facebook, let alone find it fun (usually) and interesting.  I certainly didn't expect it to become an outlet for the writer in me who wants to write, write, write all the time, but doesn't have time to write the pages and pages of words in her mind.  I'm free to sign into Facebook when I have a free few minutes and just write what's on my heart.  I can't go into as much detail as I might prefer, but it's better than nothing.  I must understand, of course, that not everyone will be interested in what's on my mind at that moment, but that's true for any writer of any length of text in any format.

Most people I've talked to think Facebook is "for" connecting with people, whether it be staying connected with family and friends or re-connecting with those from the past.  That's probably my favorite thing about Facebook, personally.  Being/staying connected with all kinds of people who have impacted my life in some way, big or small--everyone is important!

I guess this "connection thing" is what confuses me when I read articles that talk about how people will "un-friend" or become irritated with others so easily.  I've read things that say if you want to keep your Facebook friends, don't talk about God, your spouse, your children, your pets, politics, social issues . . . and the list goes on and on.


So, what are you left to talk about?  The weather?  I'm sure someone could find reason to take issue with that, as well, if they're so sensitive to everything else.

I guess I just don't get why someone would join Facebook, "friend" people, and then not want to hear what they have to say.  What's the point?  Are people really that intolerant and self-absorbed, that they will find irritation in that many things they read about?

What happened to being happy for people who are happy?

What happened to crying with those who cry?

What happened to trying to encourage people in their trials and their triumphs?

What happened to learning from each other?

Now, there are a couple of things I'm not trying to say here.  First of all, Facebook shouldn't be replacing real-life interactions, face-to-face, with people.   I mean, there may be people that you only "see" on Facebook, but hopefully we all have people we interact with in person.  Therefore, Facebook is not the only place we talk about things.  But if someone does write on Facebook about something we're not naturally interested in, does it really hurt to take an interest anyway, for the sake of the person?  Or at least politely move on to the next post?  Must we be cold, or "unfriend" someone, behind the mask of Facebook?

Also, as I stated in my Facebook Unfriend post (ha--one of the most-hit posts on my blog, according to the statistics thingy!), I don't think Facebook is a place to take abuse.  Being disgusted with, or unfriending someone for, abuse or vulgarity is not the same as being intolerant of people's interests which are different from ours.  (And, for the record, I'm not even a fan of the word, "intolerance," as it is often misused to discredit those who take a stand against sinful behaviors--some are truly intolerant of the sins AND the people who commit them, but many who are labeled "intolerant" actually love the people but not the sin, as Jesus exemplified.  But the true sense of the word "intolerance" fits what some are apparently doing to others on Facebook).

So, if somebody doesn't want to hear what others have to say on Facebook (i.e. "connect!") and are going to complain about a "friend" talking "too much" about Fluffy the cat or the baby's new teeth or God's goodness, why did they join in the first place?

What is Facebook for?

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I love knowing what's on your heart and mind! Your thoughts, opinions, questions and ideas are welcome here anytime. Differences are respected as long as they are written respectfully! :)