Facebook: Why so serious?

1 Sep

The following is inspired by, but is not a direct response to, this Times piece.

So people have gotten totally weird about Facebook, non? I’m hardly concerned it’s the downfall of all interpersonal relations, so what’s with so many being ashamedly curious about what people (who aren’t their best friends) are up to? Most people I know don’t live in New York; those who do are pretty busy!

C’mon, New York (and World). Let’s lighten up. It’s Facebook. Facebook is one big collection of family Christmas letters. And hey, people love getting those*!

There’s an assumption floating around that everyone you’re ‘friends’ with on Facebook should be only your bestestest friends. If this were its real purpose, Facebook wouldn’t need to exist. Keeping you informed about the people you can’t or don’t see much is what Facebook does best. Why the self-imposed guilt? Why try to make Facebook something it’s not?

The hilarious paradox is those who pop up on Facebook and immediately go on the defensive, saying how uninterested they are. “I don’t collect friends on FB for the hell of it,” a long-lost high school buddy recently wrote to me. “I really have no interest in reconnecting with old friends [and] I really could care less about their lives.” (So disinterested, in fact, that he became snippy and offended when I didn’t reply to his message with the haste he thought I should. Because hey, nice to see you too!)

Does it all get reduced to shallow nothingness if I don’t actually ‘lunch’ with a person whose profile I viewed today? I don’t think so. I’m entertained to find who just went skydiving, even if I haven’t talked to them in years.

But that’s just me; I like knowing. Nothing existential to be found here. It’s only Facebook.

*Unless you’re one of these people (all of whom I’ve hidden from my news feed. Love that button!).

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