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The Facebook Enigma: When Social-Networking Sites Infiltrate Our Real Lives

To Friend or Not to Friend? That is the question. This week, I tried to simplify my life... and I got burned.

by
Becky Graebner

Bio

July 17, 2013 - 4:00 pm
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Unless you have hundreds of pictures of these little guys, nothing can save you from the “delete” button…

Come on people, it’s time to let go of our little digital worlds full of people we care nothing about.  We spend more time on laptops and cell phones “Facebook stalking” (yes this is a word) than actually talking to REAL people around us.  I give a pass to far-flung families who have ongoing message threads or use the site to swap photos and news. Fine. Legitimate.  However, I’m staring to find it sickening how obsessed some people are with their pages.  One of my good friends urged me to stop posting on mine—no need to tell everyone what I’m doing all the time, where I am, or who I’m with.   After a few months of barely sharing, I realized how weird it was that people would “check in” at restaurants or post pictures of what they were eating or drinking for the world to see.  Does the world really need to know you are at Taco Bell in Reno, Nevada with Dave, Kate, and Rajesh RIGHT NOW?  Me, me, me generation right here!

I had enough. A few weeks ago I deleted over half of my Facebook friends in a matter of days.

Criteria for dismissal:

  1. I had no idea who you were.
  2. I hadn’t seen you (in person) within the past year.
  3. I couldn’t remember where I met you.
  4. I hadn’t talked to you (in person) within the past year.
  5. I hadn’t talked to you (on Facebook, email, or text) within the past year.
  6. You constantly posted annoying statuses about your life, eating habits, or lame boyfriend.
  7. You made daily, political rants that offended me.
  8. You didn’t have a cute dog that outweighed any of the other reasons for dismissal.

I was proud of myself. I’m naturally a bit of a “neat freak” and having a “clean” Facebook, populated by only people I genuinely talked to and cared about was a good feeling.  But, just as I was feeling good, it started to go very bad.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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I did the delete and then go back some time back. That was before the Snowden revelations. I deleted it again and will not go back. I have decided that Facebook is nothing but a spy ring. Not that I think my friends are spies, who mostly are people I worked with in the military, but because I don't trust Facebook or the federal government, so good riddance to FB.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a person who has been on-line, as it was back in the day, since 1986 I have a simple parameter for my facebook page: If I am not related to you by blood or marriage, or I would not recognize you and walk across a busy street to greet you, I don't need you on my facebook. I do have a good out, though, many people my age don't use social media. A young man that is in my daughter's "I wanna be your boyfriend" line sent me a friend request a few days back. I also consider that off limits.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Indeed. Facebook is powered by guilt here.

Allowing people to have such control over your existence in not a good thing.

Good luck Ms. Graebner
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you should reconsider re-friending the girl you defriended, but with an explanation about why you defriended her, including an idea of the parameters you used. Tell her it wasn't personal. Say you're sorry and that in the moment of cleaning, you forgot that you weren't cleaning out shirts that did't fit anymore you were clearing out actual people.

I'm older than you and joined facebook as a way to keep an eye on my young teens. Until very recently, every one of my 'facebook friends' was either family or someone I've known for many years. I have a different perspective than you, but the bottom line is that there's a person on the end of every connection that deserves some sort of respect. When you lost that understanding and chose to not share an authentic reason for the defriending with the girl you ran into, you were choosing to show her less respect. That's probably why she acted that way. It's cover for some people.

I don't defriend people. I change their settings. It's less messy, and life is to short. Cheers!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I don't defriend people. I change their settings."

THIS. I don't understand two articles in a row from young women bragging about purging people from their "fake digital life" because they felt like a victim of Facebook (lol) but were too stupid or lazy to click on "Hide All Updates From Newsfeed." I don't think I'd want the whole world to know that about me.

I also don't understand people deluded into believing that it's not "real life"; I've been using the internet socially since 1993 and it's always been real life.

My Facebook "friends" include a number of elderly and disabled people from my hometown--mostly distant relatives or friends of my mother--and while I don't care about what they're watching on TV or Yet Another Picture Of Their Dog Sitting On The Same Couch As The Last Thousand Pictures, I understand that this view into the world outside their living room is important for them. Letting them read my updates (and I've got lists set up so I don't bore work friends with family stuff or family with hobby friends stuff, etc) and look at my photos costs me absolutely nothing in time or energy. And I know they read them, because they'll see my mom at a funeral or whatever and tell her, heh. :)
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree. Facebook is a very real means of connecting to people near and far and it's been a terrific outlet for me. However, I do see how young people growing up with it feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the 'friends' they acquire.

Like any tool, it's only as effective as the person using it.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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