Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ten Things I Learn About Using FaceBook

I have been thinking recently about how social media has changed the way we live. Years ago, I was still happily maintaining different emails for work, for home, for Church, and for other social groups. Nowadays, one Facebook account essentially blurs the line. Perhaps, forever. I confess that I was a social media skeptic initially. I held off being active on Facebook, and resisted Twittering for two years. Then I caved. Still, there was a little reticence in my participation. After all, I thought that social media is more a waste of time and a platform for self-publicity, and worse, narcissistic sharing of one's life that paints only the nice parts of what we want to share. Authenticity is painted almost always with a brush of sunshine and smiles.
Facebook me or else..

Life is not like that. I reflect a little bit about social media today, and here are ten things I learn about using Facebook. I use (+), (-), and (+/-) to indicate the somewhat positive, negative, or neutral of using FB.

  1. Number of Friends Do not Equal to Your Worth (+/-)
    I look at some of my Facebook friends and their friends exceed a thousand people! I know of some movie stars whose friends run in the hundreds of thousands. With my tiny group of friends, am I worth less than these popular friends? There are times in which I feel like I am an unknown. There is always a temptation to think of ourselves as less worthy on the basis on the lack of friends or the lack of interaction with existing friends. Yet, the fact is that not everyone is on Facebook. Maybe, it reflects the peers of mine who are mostly Facebook averse. After all, Facebook is a recent phenomena, and one needs not be surprised that numbers of friends on the social media varies for all kinds of reasons, and that does not determine one's worthiness as a friend.
    Still, I admit it makes me question myself when someone else posts a simple word, "Happy" and receives 100 likes, while my hard work in presenting some truth hardly merits any responses.
  2. So Close But Yet So Far (-)
    It takes a click on the button "Accept" in order to connect with a Facebook friend. One can share lots of details on Facebook, but at the end of it all, the person is still a distance away. No emoticon can equal a handshake, a smile, or a warm hug.
  3. You are What You Reciprocate (+/-)
    Years ago, some of my friends told me about the time needed to invest on social media before reaping any dividends. The minimum was 20 minutes a day. Now, I think it is measured in hours. As I observe the interactions happening on Facebook, there is an underlying principle that the key to participation begins with you. If you participate in commenting on other FB friends, there is a higher likelihood of of reciprocal comments on your own posts.
  4. You Truly Get to "Keep In Touch," Finally! (+)
    I label this a plus. It is so common to say to one another to keep in touch. Although we take down our telephone numbers or email addresses, chances are, unless there is a need, most people have very little incentive to actually keep in touch. Like, why keep in touch with a friend from Australia unless you happen to visit Australia?

    FB has changed that. It has become easier to keep in touch, as everyone regardless of their location in the planet sees the same posts at the same time on the same platform.
  5. Narcissism Without Regret (-)
    One peeve of mine is to see a lot of people posting only their strengths, their good news, nice pictures, and suppress their other side. Like movie stars with heavy makeup, many FB personal postings are simply about the "nice" parts of themselves. One case in point is the "LIKE" facility in Facebook posts. There is no UNLIKE button. Perhaps, this has swayed people's ability to talk negatively about themselves.
  6. Privacy? What Privacy? (-)
    I am increasingly skeptical about the kinds of privacy arguments some people have. Each time Facebook changes their privacy settings, some people vehemently complain. Yet, having looked at the kinds of information people share willingly on social media, I cannot help but laugh at the whole irony of it all. People are exposing themselves more than what anything FB can or cannot do.
  7. People Just Like to Share Themselves (+/-)
    This follows from the last point. I am amazed how much information people reveal about themselves. I am still old-school, where I do not want to expose all my life on social media. I notice that people do like to share about themselves. I have seen people confessing in public about them playing with their digital gadgets when sitting on the toilet, and for that matter, revealing intimate parts of their diet, their health conditions, and even their relationships with other friends!
  8. An Evolving Cultural Mixpot (+/-)
    I am still trying to understanding the way different cultures play out on the FB platform. Some people are prolific indeed. They write short quotes that are witty and compelling. Others basically rant away like speaking to a dead log. Still there are others who are caught in the deep throes of sadness and talks in a way that only their "real" friends understand. Across continents, across nation states, across religious and non-religious persuasions, it is hard to perceive the true meaning of the posts. There are others who simply forward news articles without sharing anything about themselves or their opinions. There are also those who share so much of themselves that reading them makes me feel like I am intruding on their privacy. Here is what I do not understand.

    Why do some FB "stars" hardly say anything but the followers and responses come fast and furious. Each comment they make breaks records. Some share 50 posts without a single comment. Others make one comment and gets more than 50 likes or responses. Strange.
  9. High in Contact but Low in Context (+/-)
    It is hard to understand people apart from what they type. FB has a powerful way to enable people to make contact with one another, but very inappropriate for any indepth discussions. I call this "High in contact but low in context." FB lacks the basic nuances of sound, facial expressions, or verbal articulations of a real heart to heart communications.
  10. There's a New Addiction in Town (-)
    Finally, how we use FB on a day-to-day basis reflects our level of addiction to it. If you update FB once a day only, you are probably old-school. If you update as and when you have time, or during specific FB time of the day, you are trying to balance real life with social media life. If you are constantly checking or updating your FB status more than once every hour, I call you a FB Addict.

    One classic test of whether you are a FB addict is this: What are you going to be doing when FB is down?
A Negative Thought from the naysayers (From

I know, I know. The higher number of (-) may probably explain that I am old school. I'm still learning ok?


No comments:

Latest Posts