J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Facebook’s Not For Feelings

Defriended!

Defriended!

Many of my friends and acquaintances have either quit Facebook altogether, or are taking a month or two off, citing various reasons:

  • Facebook’s complete disregard for privacy
  • the addictive nature of the medium
  • bad for mood/mental health (everyone else seems to be having a better time)
  • waste of time
  • just not fun

Personally I don’t have any major issues with Facebook. It’s a useful free service for sharing information. I share interesting articles, the occasional picture, blog posts, and my music releases. I like to see what my friends and acquaintances are up to, and what they find interesting, and what they want to promote to me (their show, music release, new book, restaurant, etc). Recently my friend used Facebook to sell a mattress, which I think is an appropriate use of the medium (she didn’t want to deal with creepers on craigslist).

In general I try to abide by the following:

  • Don’t share anything I’m not comfortable with the entire world seeing.
  • If someone is wrong on the internet, that’s OK (I don’t need to intervene).
  • Don’t use Facebook to express my deepest feelings.

Last night I watched a thread between friends go bad. Feelings hurt, accusations, defriending. Ouch! It was the kind of interaction that could put a person off of social media altogether. Face to face, or even on the phone, the interaction wouldn’t have deteriorated. We can’t read other people’s feelings — only their words. If you reach out for sympathy on social media, you might find some. But it’s a crapshoot. It’s more reliable to call a friend. Facebook just doesn’t work as a medium to emotionally connect. More often, it leaves people feeling more isolated and lonely. Facebook’s founders would like you believe that it’s a tool for social connection, but Facebook doesn’t work for emotional expression. At its best, Facebook is a shared clipboard. Facebook’s not for feelings.

Maybe that’s why teens, who need to express their feelings constantly, are leaving in droves. They’re right to. Leave the shared clipboard for the grown-ups.

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9 Comments

  1. Dan Bucz

    THAT explains why you never disagree with me on Facebook. 🙂

  2. I still need its power as a world wide sight to promo my book and other writings. It also has a lot of space compared to other sights.

  3. Boo

    Facebook relationships are to real relationships is processed sugar is to real food.

  4. I don’t know why people have such an issue with Facebook. I enjoy it as a means of letting others see pictures of my trips or fun things that I’ve been up to. It’s way better (and easier) than sending a postcard. It’s also way more engaging then sending out pictures of a vacation I went on via a mass email.

    Facebook is also an excellent way to keep in touch with some friends that I have that live thousands of miles away. Like you, it’s also a great way to share some articles or see some articles that others have shared.

    For the people that say Facebook is dramatic: that’s probably because you’re dramatic. Facebook is what you make of it. Just like life. If you really spend too much time on it – then just don’t spend that much time on it. But it can be incredibly useful.

  5. I like Facebook. Like you, I’m not a spill-my-guts person on Facebook, but I enjoy the opportunity to “share” various items that I’ve gleaned during my online travels. I’ve found some like-minded folks that I would not have encountered otherwise. I like the “Letters to the Editor” semblance in the comments people make. People who go on Facebook and come away with fractured relationships probably weren’t very good friends to start with. I agree with Matt – you’ll come away with a reflection of yourself.

  6. Does Facebook = praise addiction, envy, distraction, and oversharing?
    http://fusion.net/abc_univision/story/quitting-facebook-11338

  7. altamisal

    I’m taking a break from Facebook right now, started a few days ago. I haven’t shut down my account, just not posting at my page. I was checking FB too often, and giving too much weight to how many “likes” I got on certain posts. I find browsing w/o participating (unless I’m _really_ moved to) works fine for me, and takes a lot less time.

    It just struck me how many unread books/undone projects I have here and I think my time would be better spent catching up with them than semi-connecting on Facebook.

  8. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it
    can survive a fodty fookt drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is
    totally off topic but I had to share iit with someone!

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