Almost like opinions on politics and religion, your viewpoint on Facebook can be a polarizing conversation with friends and colleagues. It’s a marketing tool, a time suck, a connector, anti-social killer of personal connection, a means of stalking, a means of staying in touch, a means of sharing. . .a projection of stories, good, bad, real, imagined, crazy. . .
For me, I love Facebook. I think it connects more than it separates. I think it is an ideal marketing tool for the work I do, and I think it can be a fun and productive ‘coffee break’. I’ve re-connected with friends I may not have found otherwise, and I can easily stay connected year-round with friends I meet around the world and see what they are up to. I find creative ideas and inspiration in the articles, quotes and images that run through my timeline.
And I’ve also felt the darker side of Facebook – the ability to spend mindless time meandering through photos and stories that could be focused on something decidedly more productive, to “follow” current and ex- crushes and imagine what they are up to, and, what has come up in conversation after conversation with friends this year, to feel jealousy, envy and that “what the hell have I been doing with my life?” feeling from the projection of a story told on some friend’s timeline. To scan through their pics and posts and think – “Man – what an amazing life they lead – and look how many amazing things they’ve accomplished. Why can’t I do that??” The story swirls from there. . .
And then, in a conversation with my dear friend Rachel, whom I had not spoken to in months, I got the same story reflected back to me. How perfect my life looked and seemed on my Facebook feed. What?!? And then we had a good laugh – sharing our less than glamorous moments of the last year. For sure – I can truly say my life is wonderful – and I could not be more grateful for the personal connections, adventures, experiences and opportunities that I have had and continue to have in this lifetime – and, I have moments that feel like pure shit. It could be said that my life is perfectly imperfect. I don’t, however, tend to post on my status that I am moping in bed eating candy bars, crying and watching something utterly mindless on TV wondering what the hell I am doing with my life/relationship/work, etc., so only a select few really get to see that piece of the process.
That said – I have also seen, and recently experienced, the incredible support system that Facebook can provide when you are feeling less than sparkly. With this idea of the Facebook persona on my mind, at a time when I was in some major transition and feeling particularly low, I posted a simple, but clear status update…”Today, I feel lost.” The response and support was heartwarming. I received posts, messages, calls, emails and texts reaching out to share some love with me that was just what I needed to help turn the mood around.
Once again – I call it a win for Facebook. I think that it can be yet another way to foster relationships. To observe your own habits and tendencies and be able to reflect on them and maybe even make some modifications. I think, like most things, you create your own reality with Facebook – and you can use it to your benefit or to your detriment. I respect your views, opinions and decisions – and your right to share them (on or off Facebook!) – on how, when and why to use or not use Facebook.
Where do you stand on Facebook and how do you use it?