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Monday, December 16, 2013

Facebook: The Illusion of Intimacy

(I'll probably offend some people here.  Oh well!)

I prefer to read books - you know, the real kind, with covers and paper pages.  I do like my e-reader, and use it for specific types of reading, but if I am really going to sit down and read a book, I want a BOOK.  When interacting with people, I prefer face-to-face, but am also content with letters or email because I can tell a lot about someone by what they write.  I do not like the phone.  I abhor texting.  Facebook communication for me, is somewhere in between the phone and texting.

I use Facebook for a specific purpose.  When I first created an account it was merely so I could check out potential new employees.  Recently a couple of friends suggested FB as a more convenient way to stay in touch.  I found out I could have almost all of my daily reading located in one place, and could also see what my Friends were up to .  I enjoy the one group to which I belong, and it has been nice to keep up with people I "used to know" but who have moved away, and to connect with like-minded people whom I would probably never meet any other way.  But my primary reason for being on FB is informative. 

Articles.  News Items.  Prayers.  Homilies.  This is what comes into my newsfeed.  I tend to use FB as a tool.  Sure, I like the funny things that pop up - the family photos - the craft you just created - the trip you've been on - the new baby - the "here's what I want to do with the rest of my life" post.  And perhaps this makes me an unusual person on FB, but that is not why I'm there.  So when people ("friends") I don't know send me a message and then act offended when I don't respond, or if I get one too many silly facebook games from one person ... you know, the "post this to your page" or "well since you liked my status you now have to do thus and such"... guess what?  I am very quick to unfriend.  People I know, people who are my Friends - that is different.  But if you don't know me, don't presume that you do.

That is what I mean by the illusion of intimacy.  Just because we are FB friends doesn't mean we're Friends.  And if we are Friends?  Then you'll know it because I have your email address or phone number or I see you on a regular basis.  I can count my Friends on one hand, and my close acquaintances on the other.  

I'm only closing in on 30 FB-friends, because I've unfriended some who didn't meet my high standards and I'm very careful of whom I accept as a friend.  So if you are on that exclusive list?  You must be pretty awesome!! :-)