FACEBOOK – THEN, NOW AND SOME KIND OF FUTURE

The first time I accessed Facebook was early 2011, a year before the 2012 Presidential election went into a full-tilt boogie. I had never been on a social media site though I’d heard of MySpace. My impression was it was where 12-year-olds went to pretend they were 16. (I was right.)

Initially, was surprised by Facebook. It was easy to use. I could connect with almost anyone. Anywhere. That warm fuzzy feeling evaporated faster than morning mist on the river. Facebook was very soon the most angry place on earth.

Everyone is pissed off about something, frequently for no logical reason. So much of the stuff on it is based on opinions which are based on rumor and some kind of bizarre obsession — nonsense or just plain scary.

Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts! This is Facebook! MY opinion is as good as anyone else’s (no, it isn’t). It seemed as if everyone was posting angry diatribes. From the left, right, middle and far ends of the universe, everyone had something to shout about. Whoa, I thought to myself. This could get ugly (I was right … it did).

Then I discovered games. I connected with kids (now grandparents) with whom I went to grade school or college. People I wanted to reconnect with. Then, with people I had hoped to never to hear from. The good, the bad and the wholly unattractive, all in one basket. Whoopee.

I began backing away as fast as I could. The games were cool, or some of them were. But the percentage of enraged people, illiterates, the mentally unbalanced, the lunatic fringe — all posting whatever was on their minds (perhaps “minds” is too strong a word) was too much for me. The temperature on Facebook was permanently in the red zone.

I continued to play games, which is why so many friends are those with whom I connected because we were playing the same game. The remaining 5% are real live people, some of whom I actually know. Personally. Among these, some prefer communicating via Facebook rather than email, telephone, or in person. To each his/her/their own. Who am I to judge? (Okay, I think it’s weird, but I try not to judge.) (I don’t succeed.)

In the beginning, I got upset when Facebook made blatantly exploitive changes to their site. Then I remembered: I don’t have to go there. I don’t need to post there. If Facebook vanished tomorrow, my world would not crumble.

By then, I’d found WordPress and begun blogging. The more into blogging I got, the less reason I had to visit Facebook … unless I was in the mood for a game. And of course, there is the convenience of using Facebook to publicize my blog. I may not like it, but lots of others do.

The thing is, you can’t completely avoid Facebook. Whether or not you post on it, so many places do — builders and electricians and plumbers and all of that kind of stuff — if you are going to find a local worker, that’s where you’ll end up looking. And that’s where you’ll get recommendations, too.

Facebook is the elephant in the room, the itch you can’t scratch.

The elephant in my (living) room

Moreover, a surprising (to me) number of authors and artists choose Facebook in preference to having their own website. Is it because Facebook offers wide open access and effortless connectivity? It is less demanding than a website. Since almost everyone already has Facebook access, so no one has to forge a new alliance.

Maybe that’s it.

For me, the open access of Facebook is a reason to avoid it. I want a modicum of control over who does what on my site. Others feel differently. Or as Mom used to say: “For everyone, there’s someone.” In this case, something.

Facebook is the something many people choose. It will never be my first choice, but freedom is one of my core values.  And, it’s the American way — or used to be. In the old days. When we lived in the real America.

69 thoughts on “FACEBOOK – THEN, NOW AND SOME KIND OF FUTURE”

  1. I signed up for Facebook, and used it minimally until one night I was having an e-mail conversation with a friend and one of his responses came back on Facebook even though he didn’t have a Facebook. That freaked me out to the point that I deleted my account permanently. If twitter links to a FB page, I can still see that page; otherwise, I never go to FB! Twitter a little different — I see a lot of news, real or otherwise, there, and can do it completely anonymously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends on how you set up the accounts. My Twitter feeds bounce into FB, but not vice-versa … and that is ONLY because it makes PR for the blog very simple. But you have to set it up that way which you may have done accidentally — or your friend did. It is not automatic. But if she/he has their settings so the feeds bounce, then I guess your side of the conversation bounces too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If memory serves me correctly (and it may not), our Granddaughter signed me up for Facebook so I could be more relevant. I liked the social chit chat, not the decidely ugly political rants or personal attacks.

        I’ve made a number of Facebook friends and appreciate the shares. It’s expanded my “retired” world a lot. I’ve been able to have pleasant exchanges with people of different political persuasion. That’s always a bonus in today’s world.

        I skim or ignore the ugly and ignorant stuff. I’m surprised people spend time writing and reading such garbage.

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  2. I use Facebook. I am often amused by the adults that Show mr what they cooked for lunch, their Christmas trees and parties and telling me events in their daily life. I am more an observer in Facebook and mainly just crosspost my WordPress blogs. There is a good side to discover closed groups like my old school where I meet up with long lost friends. It has a good side and not so good. Like all computer related stuff, just be careful.

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    1. I also use it a lot to publicize my blog, keep in a distant sort of touch which relative I never see because they live too far away … and there’s a local Uxbridge group which is very useful when you need someone to do something — fix your garden or trim your trees or install new plumbing. And you can get recommendations from people who actually use these people.

      I tend to close down the crazies when they show up on my timeline. There are an awful lot of very strange people out there. I think some of them are right on the borderline between merely crazy and possibly dangerous. It’s a lot easier to get rid of these people on WP than on FB!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I first looked at Facebook around 2008. I was at adult education college studying and surrounded by teens and twentysomethings who were all obsessed by Facebook to the point where the college had to tell students they could not log on to the internet to do social media, everyone ignored this of course.
    I thought I would see what all the fuss was about and kept it on mainly as a way to see what younger relatives were getting up to. They might not email or call but they all did Facebook. I’m still on it. It’s handy for keeping in touch with family and friends interstate. I hate talking on the phone and they don’t write letters or emails that much. Instant messaging fills the gap. I like it for keeping up with community events and more recently I’ve found special interest groups that I keep an eye on. Doll clubs are few and far between now but I’ve bought a few things from other collectors and shared information and learned from others so I feel that’s worthwhile .I try not to get sucked in to threads on any subject that get too opinionated. People are too quick to judge on Facebook sometimes. So it’s useful but my world would not end without it. It is a little annoying that so many businesses have a Facebook page instead of a website but that’s the way things are now and you just have to go with it . It is a good place to get recommendations about who the good and bad tradespeople are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Garry uses it exactly as you do. He has a group mostly of former colleagues, so they all know each other and now that almost all of them are retired, they are something of a group. I use it to publicize Serendipity and find an electrician or a plumber when I need one.

      There’s a local “Uniquely Uxbridge” group — and that’s where you can find pretty much anyone who works locally and get some recommendation from people who have actually worked with them. VERY useful for that. But otherwise, there’s too much bitterness and anger for me. Everyone is angry and a lot of people are downright wacko.

      I think if you stick with people you really know, you are okay, but when you get involved in other peoples threads, you get sucked into all kinds of nasty stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes exactly, most of my Facebook contacts are people I know apart from those in groups. I read a few news threads but usually refrain from commenting and if they really annoy me I block them or hide the posts. I don’t go online to get stressed.

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      2. I look forward to daily exchanges with my “regular” Facebook friends. We check in with each other if there’s any lenthy absence. It’s nice to know people care…especially living in Mayberry RFD North.

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  4. My Facebook account access is limited to immediate family and a select group of very close friends. I mostly use it to see what my adult kids are up to and almost never post myself. And while my Facebook account is rarely used, I don’t do twitter at all. I see enough of Donald Trump’s tweets on my iPhone’s newsfeed and on news programs on TV.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t actually Twitter either. I use the automatic publicize function in FB and sometimes I use Twitter to publish an article from The New Yorker or the Boston Globe because it will bounce from Twitter to FB and all I have to do is click. But i don’t read anything on Twitter. i never did. I’ve never checked out Instagram, though everyone says I should — but I figure I’m busy enough already. I don’t need one more account keep me even busier.

      I also get to find out what all my out-of-touch relative down in Baltimore are doing. I never see them, but I can find out more or less what is going on in their world. I’ve got more relatives I never see than family I DO see.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Fandango, I don’t tweet. My thumbs are not fast enough. I also don’t have enough relevant “stuff”to share.

      I hope the Twitter Czar gets thumb rheumatism. But he’d have some minion to do his thumb work. Believe he does now. What a ghastly job, eh? Smell of rotten cheeseburgers everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Facebook has its uses. I have a lot of dog friends on FB. Everyone brags about their dogs. I like it for that reason. But if you want to say something thoughtful, then a blog is more useful I think. I’m steering clear of Twitter. I have a tendency to say things impulsively, so it is best that I not go there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reflections, you touch on an important point. Impulsive FB comments. I have to mentally “school”/restrain myself from commenting on stuff that’s blatantly ignorant, inaccurate and/or just plain stupid. I usually skip past such material after cursory glances. But there are days when I’m trapped by the garbage. I must remember to breathe deeply and remember those days when I received thickly crayoned letters in the mail at work. Same folks, newer generation.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I like being able to have the room to write the story … and knowing at least a few people might actually read it. People don’t really READ on Facebook, which is why almost all the longer stuff is on a blog to which you jump, or a newspaper or magazine elsewhere. Social media is for “short notes.” It’s not really for writers. But it does make good PR, and I do use it for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… there are many things in which we think alike!

    When i used bookface regularly i also posted my flower pics and got the occasional like and or compliment. I almost never got the real lunatic fringe. But people i knew and liked – some of whom i was related to – would post the most radical crap without bothering to check it’s validity before putting it up on their site. Worse – they seemed to believe it and had no qualms spreading it all over the net so as to misinform a load of other people! 😦

    That was the point where i chose to leave it alone, my blogstats may suffer but my intelligence improves, as does my mood/health. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They ONLY stuff I do on FB these days is publicize my blog and occasionally, post pretty pictures. Every once in a while I get into a conversation, but often it is medical. I bump into people who have the same kind of cancer I had and I always feel they can you an “attaboy/girl” and a reminder that some of us really DID recover. I have a fair amount of medical knowledge. I suppose it comes from having been so ill for so many years. You do eventually learn a few things, so sometimes, i can suggest where to look for answers. It’s the political BS I have to breathe deeply and run away screaming. I often hide posts that make me crazy so I won’t keep seeing them repeatedly. Some of the idiocy — the anti-vaxxers and flat earthers and conspiracy crazoids — omygawd those people are completely wacko.

      Liked by 2 people

            1. But then…. aren’t they all?? 😉

              I hope some good citizens of the US of A are loudly pointing this incongruity out to their peers and apportioning appropriate responsibility where it is most due? Way out here in the styx we don’t hear much on the subject?

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              1. There are constant protests. Everywhere. On television, on the street, literally in every city in the country, including some very small towns like this one. The late night comedians on this ALL THE TIME. I’m surprised you don’t hear more about it but i suppose you don’t get that part of our news. But yes. Many think he is a fascist. A lot of us lose sleep over it.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I suppose we mostly get the ‘spikes’, the exceptional events, and not so much the everyday ones? We get most American late night shows here but i tend not to watch any and just pick up what i can on our news networks.

                  There’s so much 44.5 does that is newsworthy (all for the wrong reasons) that the ‘domestic’ in-house stuff struggles to find any airtime. 😦

                  It’s good to hear there is not complacency over the issue though!

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  7. I love Facebook for reconnecting with old friends and far away relatives. I have unfriended some of those old friends whose comments I found offensive and haved blocked a few too, so their comments don’t appear in a feed on mutual friends pages.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I block people a lot too. I figure I’ve got enough real issues without having to look at someone else’s ignorant craziness too. I’m older than you and some of the people I know are older than me and they have gone around some kind of demented bend. They weren’t ALWAYS wacko, but time has turned them into someone I don’t even recognize.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve used Facebook almost since the beginning and find it to be a very useful tool.

    I don’t pay much (comparatively) attention to the shit (I mean that) people say in response to political posts. I get news from links on the side and it’s easy to compare stories when four or five or more sources writing about the same story are linked together.

    I have few Facebook friends (again, comparatively) friends for various reasons, but mostly they’re people I know. I follow very few people. One of my friends is a woman in her 90s and Facebook is where I can find her. Facebook is her window on the world to some extent.

    Facebook affords quick communication between me and friends making plans. Its messenger is awesome — works better than my phone ON my phone. It’s also the main “classified section” in my valley.

    I don’t usually post much — some days (like yesterday) I posted several things, but usually the only thing that goes up is my WP blog posts.

    I have killed my profiles a couple of times, but now I think Facebook is what you make it.

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    1. P.S. I assume that the political views of the people around me are different from mine, but I like the people around me so, on Facebook and everywhere else, I just keep my political thoughts between me and a very small group of people I’ve labeled “close friends.” It’s best that way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have learned to save my issues for writing where I have the time and space to do it properly. I do use FB and Twitter for publicizing the blog. And I sometimes post local pictures on FB because local people recognize them and then post their own. I know some writers who have pages or groups on FB and I follow them. I just have to remember to stay away from the people who make my brain spin in circles. It’s the whole “head exploding” issue.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep. I have pages for my books (which almost no one visits, but it’s a “thing” you do). I follow the organizations in the San Luis Valley dealing with history and environmental issues because our newspaper is a joke — extremely biased but adorable in a small town newspaper way.

          My friend Lois gets very involved in Facebook disputes, and it causes her pain and suffering, but I already know that no one really cares that much about my opinion on things, not even things pertaining to my own self. Teaching Critical thinking pretty much ruined me for garden variety debate because all I see/hear are logical fallacies. I don’t honestly care that much what people say since I have to grade it in my mind. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I just hate the stupidity. The absolutely wrongness of so much people say. The fact that no one checks sources. It’s a different world and this failure to regard knowledge and facts as important is one of the things that troubles me. I also realize it isn’t my problem to solve. I just have to keep remembering that.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Martha, Facebook is NOT the place to engage people in intelligent conversation. When I drop a snarky line or comment, I frequently get a “what?” query from people. I’ve wasted everyone’s time, including mine.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Mostly it was funny. Yesterday I returned to see how it was going and I had a few really good laughs. It was difficult to believe it actually degenerated from, “That’s why you’re happy in this town (Alamosa) from ‘The Hills Have Eyes'” (ha ha ha) to the usual name calling.

              People here are VERY short. They are direct descendants of the people who wore the little tiny armor you see in European museums. They’ve lived in this insular valley for 15 generations or so. One guy goes, “I lived there for a year among all those tiny people. It was a nightmare.” Of course, as a tiny person myself I feel at home and happy where I can look people in the eye without craning my neck.

              I think the trick is not to take it seriously.

              Liked by 1 person

  9. I use the Facespace every day. I have friends and family from all over the US and beyond I can only connect with through the Facespace because that’s where they are. I also run a Facebook page that’s NSFW and not very popular, but has a small following. I also *follow* many pages and local Facebook groups and keep up with their comings and goings.

    Having said all of that. I only have about 28 “friends” on Facebook, and my privacy settings are pretty high. No one can Google me and find my Facebook page. No one can add me as a friend to *their* Facebook page. And I cannot be tagged in any pictures except by friends, even then Facebook will alert me and I can untag myself.

    Having said all of that my page is still a shitstorm of political debate and vitriol. I may not have many friends and family on my Facespace, but damn, do they disagree on a lot of things. Ha!

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    1. When people get particularly ugly, I block them. Rather than try to argue or even continue to ignore things that make me crazy, I just make them go away. It helps keep my blood pressure within bounds. The more I boot the crazies, the better I like Facebook.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I was encouraged to try it early on…big mistake. Before they clarified (and fixed) all the security settings, Facebook got into my entire personal address book and sent an “invitation to be my friend” (that looked like it was personally from me) to every single name I had…including all my clients…their names and email addresses now “published”!! It took some work (including from my lawyers) back then to erase that fake invitation, and to remove myself from Facebook. They would NOT let me UN-sign up!! Our state now has fairly stringent confidentiality rules and guidelines for psychotherapists participating in any and ALL social media. I like to think I contributed to that.
    I don’t do Facebook…period.
    But great Post Marilyn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You got hacked. Actually, I know several — mostly well-known people — who were similarly hacked. It seems to happen to people with a “real” following. Garry’s been hacked, but not too seriously and we were able to fix it quickly. My Twitter account — the one I never used — got hacked, so I took it down completely, killed the email address and Twitter is actually better than FB about letting you kill your site and start completely over from zero. I had an antique doll page on FB that I haven’t used for 8 years, but it’s still there and nothing I do will make it go away. I think this year, it finally stopped showing up in my “list” of stuff in which I’m involved.

      FB makes me nervous, though. It’s wide openness and lack of constraint seems very threatening to me. I do not like having no control over who comes and goes, though they have improved security a LOT, especially in the past two years. But the hackers are ALWAYS ahead of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It can be pretty scary these days. In the old days, mostly we just had to worry about everyday gossip going awry, and causing problems. These days, with cyber bullying and the sheer numbers on some social media, your life can be destroyed with a click!
        A few years ago, I did a conflict resolution workshop at a medium sized co-housing community. It just so happened that there was a secret polygamist family living there. Apparently they liked what I taught and advertised me on their website as a Polygamy friendly therapist and presenter. (A sincere, well-meant gesture I believe.) But within one day, I had over 40 invitations to go to different polygamist communities across the country to teach.

        I am not necessarily against healthy, chosen polygamy. However, I did not want to become the poster therapist for it on the internet! YIKES!

        That took a lot to remove also.

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        1. It’s the sheer SPEED at which both real and fake information proliferates that makes my head spin. I try not to say anything anyone could have any reason to spread around. Okay, on my blog, but I’m consistent and try not to make it so personal that it feels creepy.

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      2. Marilyn, I am grateful you were able to fix my hack. It’s scary how prevalent those people are and the damage they can cause.

        Ironically, we feel distanced when hearing about Russian hackers impacting our recent elections. We think it only involves important people on the world stage. But we are ALL targets. Gotta be careful.

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  11. I have been a Face-bookie since 2007 or thereabouts. Yes there are lots of nuts on that site, but there are lots of genuine folks with whom one might forge a friendship of the on-line kind too. There is family. Many of the oldsters in my neighborhood are on Facebook (as are many in my particular church) because it’s a connection to the younger generations that one doesn’t get otherwise. I knew, until this past Christmas, what was happening with my nieces and nephews because of Facebook. I kept modest tabs on my stepchildren and their lives. The Great Disillusionment of 2016 (the election of that orange miscreant) saw many of my long term ties on Facebook severed. Friends and more sadly (to me) family. We could not agreeably disagree on Trump and his (to me) horror show. They saw a hero. I couldn’t stand the stupidity of that point of view, so I cut off my ties to them. This past Christmas saw my nuclear family behave in a way that led me to cut off the Facebook ties with them. Now I have little reason to go to FB, except that I still have a few friends there and some cousins that I do keep in contact with. Facebook has made it easy to monitor what is posted on an individual’s news feed and to weed out the bits that one doesn’t like. I go to Facebook for entertainment mostly…the genuine folks I know there. I mostly look at pictures of birds and nature, flowers and beautiful gardens. If that’s too sappy for some…well they don’t HAVE to be my friend. I don’t have to look at their political insanity and sometimes stultifying stupidity of large groups of people with a purpose. I think it’s okay whatever socializing one chooses to do on the computer as long as one does something. Isolation, according to the head doctor people, is the bad thing.

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    1. I bounce my blog off both Twitter and FB. I post local pictures and local people post their versions of the same pictures. Also, there’s a very local (Uxbridge) group and they are where I find the people I need to do all those small tasks in this small town.

      As for real conversations, I don’t have them on FB. First, because it’s not private and I don’t like having serious conversations in the public square, so to speak. I like to see who in my family among the many people to whom i am related but who I have never met, or haven’t see since we were all children — who is getting married, divorced, pregnant, grandparenting, etc. Not that I’m going to the weddings or anything, but it amuses me that i have this big family and they don’t even remember I exist.

      Garry has a lot of FB friends, though and I think almost all of them are former colleagues … so for him, it’s a pretty pleasant social group. I have a lot of people I barely know because we used to all play Metropolis. Back when it was a game.

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  12. So absolutely accurate. I didn’t get into facebook until a few years ago, but I too have witnessed this as an opportunity for some to spew their cause or case, hoping to either get their 15 minutes of fame, or use it as a tool against another (whether family member, friend foe situation, whatever). I go to facebook now and again, as you do, to play games. It’s become increasingly uninteresting and I use it to connect with family or contact family when they are at work to leave a note. Only because it’s connected immediately with messenger and we can coordinate meals, plans and schedules. Other than that, I find it tiresome and useless. I do belong to a garden club that incorporates people from around the world and that has been delightful. Witnessing plans and progress of people’s dreams for their garden, watching produce and trees along with (for me) unheard of and never before seen flowers plants and shrubs. It has been educational and through it I’ve met delightful people. The younger generations (by this I mean the middle and late teens) have the other chat programs they use and have told me on several occasions they don’t use fb any more, for anything. It’s quickly going the way of the dodo and probably should. The premise was intriguing and exciting at first. No more telephone, I could connect immediately, leave a note and have it answered within moments. Even game playing is becoming difficult and I so enjoyed several games as they were quick easy and fun. I’ll forever be grateful for having found wp with likeminded people, interested in writing, the written word, others views and opinion, never spouted (thankfully) angrily with animosity and hatred. A group of people interested in life, making it better with a global view of what’s taking place, not necessarily centered around their own narrow view (as fb is). Loved this Marily, couldn’t agree more.

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    1. I belong to a few private groups — the Uxbridge group, the Bellissimo Group (that’s Gretchen Archer’s “fan” group. Laurie King and Carol Berg also have their pages on FB and they are all authors I follow. But I have learned to just stay out of anything that is even close to a conflict. Every once in a while I think I’m joining a sensible group who are going to talk intelligently about an issue only to discover they are anything BUT civil or intelligent. I unjoin faster than a speeding bullet.

      And I like posting pretty pictures of the weather and the flowers. I also post positive reviews of people who do good work for me so other people hear about them too.

      Like

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