Today is my 73rd birthday, and I’ve been having a tremendous Facebook birthday party. Admittedly, there are some “friends” who sent me e-mails, and there have been a few phone calls and a few mailed cards. But by and large, the acknowledgment on Facebook has been one of today’s thrills for me. This is a reason that I find Facebook so important in my life. There is no way I could manage the quality of my relationships without it.
On that note, a reader from our Facebook page:
I have quit just about everything else social media but unfortunately, FB has become the default for keeping in touch with my elderly relatives – because it is relatively easy for them to use – and other extended family.
The first reader adds:
Some of my Facebook friends have died, and yet they still have Facebook pages. I notice that, for example, I can go to their page on their birthday and say something appropriately memorable about the person. And others do the same. Rather like comments after an obituary.
More defenders sound off:
Your reader wrote, “Another big reason for wanting to leave Facebook comes down to many of my Facebook friends who don’t exercise good editorial control: either don’t know when to keep their ‘Facebook mouths’ shut, or don’t open their Facebook mouths at all.”
You know who else is showing poor editorial control? This guy! Facebook gives you, the reader, incredible editorial control. First off, don’t accept friend requests from every pompous high school buddy or depressed ex-girlfriend. Second, if you’ve got that one friend who only posts amazing vacation photos or trolling Obama comments, hide him/her on your feed. In this regard, Facebook is a lot like real-life relationships: you gotta weed folks out sometimes.
Oh, for God’s sake. I bet folks said similar things about telephones. (“You can’t really communicate with someone you can’t look in the eye!”) As with anything, it’s a question of moderation. There will always be people who overshare and people whose desperation is exacerbated by something like Facebook. Step away from it occasionally, call people on the phone once in a while.
I think Facebook is fun. It’s a great way to share cool things with friends. As a musician, it gives me a semi-easy way to promote stuff. Sometimes I get strung out on it, but mostly I don’t. If you believe that people’s lives are as fab as their Facebook pics, then you also believed that people’s Christmas letters gave an accurate picture of their year. Relax, people!