Why Do I Have Such Mixed Feelings About Facebook?

Like a rocky love affair, I go back and forth with Facebook, ready to break up one day and welcoming it back with open keyboard the next.

I’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided here are my top five gripes…

 

  1. It’s like the school tattle tale.  Like many Facebookers, I’ve learned to watch every key I push.  One day you’re on Facebook and you show the least bit of interest in, oh say… Top Hunky Firemen of California…and before you know it, the world is alerted.  It’s like having a spotlight suddenly shine on you when you’re in your underwear.  You want to cover up and hide.  I’ve learned to use that ‘like’ button sparingly.
  2. You know everything (and I mean everything) you do on Facebook is going to the NSA or CIA or Motor Vehicle Department or some mad scientist in Tora Bora, or maybe all four.   I’ve made my peace with that.  By now they (whoever “they” are) know my political views, religion, blood type, the fact that I prefer scones to donuts, like soft-bristle tooth brushes over medium, where I live, my phone number, I have a cat named Rocky and a dog named Simon, basically everything.  Let’s face it, if you’re on Facebook, you’re on the grid.   And you’re probably never getting off.
  3. I’ve had people who want to “friend” me on Facebook who are warm, caring and wonderful.  I just have no idea who they are.  But they appear to be nice human beings.  They’re smiling and well-groomed and look well-intentioned.  But who are they?  And how did they find me?  And what do they want?
  4. At the same time, before I learned about privacy settings, I learned anyone can look me up on Facebook — old colleagues, pals, or even old boyfriends.  How horrible and invasive.  How strange and creepy.  Not that I would ever stoop so low and check out old friends or boyfriends….ahem, cough.
  5. Facebook is getting corporate.   Half my newsfeed has become companies asking me to ‘like’ them.  Wal-mart and Sears want to be best friends.  Pepsi wants to hang out and chill.  Target has a new deal I have to check out.  It’s getting harder to weed through the sales pitches to the real people.  Of all my gripes for Facebook, this may be the biggest deal breaker someday.   We little people can’t do anything without it becoming a feeding frenzy for the profit-driven.  I know Facebook has to make money, but letting in the corporate sponsors is like letting sharks into the pool party.  It just doesn’t feel right.

Having said that, one thing (and one alone), keeps me coming back.  Call me a nerd, but I like seeing my husband’s relatives in Texas.  I love keeping up with my aunt in Florida and cousin in Ohio.  I like hearing about the big and small moments in my family and friends’ lives.  Facebook is like a virtual coffee shop where if you hang out long enough, almost everyone shows up.  I even like the political debates.

You learn a lot about people from Facebook and maybe more important, you learn about yourself.  You learn what you admire and what you don’t and what makes you a little jealous or mad and what is inspiring and heartfelt.  You learn that underneath the labels and masks, we all want to be liked and have friends and be acknowledged.  For now I’ll stick to Facebook for one reason and one only.  Like that stormy love affair, it’s too hard to say goodbye.

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