Wednesday, March 19, 2014
When I first heard about Facebook I thought it sounded like the silliest exercise in futility I could imagine. This was in 2008, when the game was new and all the rage. It supplanted something called MySpace, which I'd never tried. But I had a few friends on Facebook and went online to see what it was all about. I was put off by the terms. "Status" is the place to post your latest idea, mood, or swiped meme. I didn't know what a meme was and had no interest in revealing any innermost or outermost thought. But I began to catch on. I could scroll down and see what the people I knew were up to, and if somebody interesting posted a snappy comment more than once, I just might ask them to become my Facebook friend.
A real-life friend had just joined, and I noted that he already had 50 FB friends while I only had 12. He said one of his friends had just hooked him up with about 40 of them. I began scrounging around, gathering names, and commenting on their posts. Soon I had a hundred and had actually met a few of them in person. Now I'm up to over 300, but I seldom add a new name these days.
The thing is, on these sites I lose my filter. Early on, a Facebook-friend-of-a-Facebook-friend said of me, "I don't know what you like about her"--meaning me--"she's just an attack dog!" I never thought of myself as an attack dog and didn't realize my critical and/or sarcastic comments cause me to come across that way. Basically an introvert who covers her ass in sassy comebacks, I found a freedom on the faceless network of social media. For some reason I was annoyed if somebody posted too obvious or Pollyanna-ish remarks on her status, I tended to shoot them all down with my handy peashooter of unwelcome wisecracks. This lost me a few followers along the way, and, even though I thought I'd learned to tone it down, I still indulge in the uncalled-for slapdown from time to time. When I'm unfriended I seldom think I deserve it.
I found Facebook to be a dandy place to notify friends about my self-published novel. I published pictures of the cover, time and again, and all but begged for people to post reviews on amazon. I created a page just for the book and sent requests all around for people to click on "Like." After I reached a hundred likes and 20-something reviews on amazon, interest tapered off in both places, yet I kept after it. A friend sent me a personal message to stop the relentless plugging of my novel and all but threatened to unfriend me if I didn't. It brought me up short; again I was learning that often I don't come across on Facebook the way I think I do.
I began posting pictures of long gone movie stars and obscure celebrities on their birthdays. I began posting art works from the great masters. Got lots of good responses from those.
It's all wearing a bit thin. I don't know how much longer I'll enjoy this free-for-all of blather and backslapping (or backstabbing). I don't think I'm doing it because I'm bored, but I wonder if I would be bored if I quit.