I can’t say I am the biggest fan of Facebook. Maybe I am just from a different era, whatever. And not to sound like a snob (I know, too late for that, right?), but I can’t say that I am all that into striking up really long social network conversations with people I only kind of knew as bare associates 20 years ago. But ever since I joined Facebook once upon a time ago, I get all these “remember me” notes that seem to require 15-20 minutes of thoughtful written response if I am going to reply to all the questions appropriately.
Like the kid in from my 11th grade chemistry class. Do I really need to run down my life’s story of college, dating, marriage, parenthood, career, what my siblings are up to, and so on just because he hit me up on the web?
Does it make me an arrogant sounding jerk to want to take the attitude, “Knew you once, buddy… and it was brief and kinda awkward then. Not really looking for a cross country pen-pal now who is approaching me as if we are long lost pals that once travelled the globe together before being tragically separated by a typhoon in Singapore… but now Facebook has reunited us again — HALLELUJAH! — so let’s rekindle, huh?”
And the thing is, I talk to more and more people who feel almost exactly the same way. (At least people over the age of 30, that is.)
Thing is, though, I LOVE nings. Maybe it’s because they are specialized and populated with people of like-minded interests discussing subjects which authentically intrigue me. On Facebook I get to learn that Cecilia is considering whether or not to put hot sauce on a chicken sandwich right now whereas on the nings people are speaking to subjects of real interest to me… and they are doing it thoughtfully, passionately and out of their own “I want to do this” willingness. It’s not homework. It’s not guilt. It’s not, “Oh darn, I gotta respond to the ning again.” It’s not obligation. It’s voluntary participation.
And it’s not updates on things like, “a blue car just drove down my street.”
Facebook is the reason that the acronym WTF carries so much weight for me on the internet. Because when I see Jesse has just mentioned that “the tree in his yard will be trimmed by noon on Friday” I scream to myself, WTF!
Who cares? Why are you posting this and why am I reading this?
Facebook to me now feels like a chore. People are poking me. People are inviting me to join groups. People, strange, distant, once-upon-a-time people are kind of intruding on me in a manner that is almost directly opposite to the way people communicate with me on the ning.
I still want to give Facebook a chance but… well, I log in less and less and less these days and when I do I almost never feel good about my experience over there.
Yet the ning… I feel intellectually stimulated by it.
Nings rock. And, Facebook, because I now feel as if I am blowing a bunch of people off by not replying to them just because they are trying to connect with me in a bit of a vapid way, Makes Me Feel Like a Wee Bit of a Jerk.