Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I'm not quitting Facebook

I have seen this article circulating on Facebook, and know several people who have already backed out of this particular social media outlet (and perhaps all others as well). Probably you know people who are boycotting Facebook as well... maybe you are just such a person. I support that, but I am not one of them.

I know the down side of Facebook, I do. There are all sorts of privacy issues at play here, information that is being used for marketing purposes, the detailed public story of our private lives, the constant search for external validation. It's a time suck.

And yet, I'm sticking with it. I'm staying in with my eyes open, keeping an eye on what people post about me, and carefully considering what I choose to share with the world.

Here's the thing. I don't feel like it is taking away from my Real Life. You know who I almost never communicate with on Facebook? My local friends. If they live in the PNW, we almost never talk on FB (with the exception of occasional group planning messages). Sure, we sometimes post pictures or "like" the occasional status update, but our main interactions are based solidly in the real world. We go to concerts, go out to dinner, visit farmers' markets, drink beer or tea, shop at Anthropologie, eat sushi or brunch. We watch movies, bake cookies, and go ice skating. We have actual, real-life conversations. I don't use Facebook to keep up with these people. I know what they are doing; I get to hear about it or see it  first hand.

I use Facebook to see what my high school friends in London are up to, to follow the adventures of my East Coast college friends, to express my excitement for a couple's engagement, and to share when I find a container of caviar in a food drive bin.

I used it to re-connect with Apis, and I use it to keep track of birthdays.

I use it to find out what my high school teachers are up to, as they continue their teaching adventures around the world.

I don't think it takes away from my real world relationships at all. Maybe this would be different if I'd grown up here, gone to college here, if all (or most) of my friends were local. That's not my reality, though. The vast majority of my friends from high school and college do not live here, and so I embrace Facebook as a way to follow their adventures, cheer their successes, and, yes, "like" their statuses.

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