In A Facebook Void

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      I had to create some separation from Facebook back in July this year.  I had noticed a few of my pictures of our 4 year old granddaughter were shared by someone we didn’t know.  After some quick research I found out it was not a friend of either my son or our daughter-in-law.  It was a complete stranger and it gave me the chills…the same creepy feeling in the stomach that you get when you realize you’ve lost your iPad (true story) because you left the car doors unlocked.  I had been violated. A bit of panic set in and the only action that made sense was suspending my account to render all my pictures void.

     The problem could have been prevented if I had set the security level correctly.  Changing your photo from an album to be your profile picture automatically changes it to “public”.  Then I had rearranged my pictures into new albums and forgot to reset the audience to “friends only”.  Well at the time dozens of my pictures could have been compromised.  

      Fast-forward 3 months and I’m feeling like the divorce is official but I’m also thinking I should rejoin and reconnect.   Its time to weigh the pros and cons of Facebook.

     First the cons… A whole lot of whats on Facebook sucks… Not just a little bit… a whole lot of it is junk, irrelevant, crude, vulgar, opinionated, and total crap.  Its an open forum for racism, bigotry, snide comments and angry retorts. Then there’s the hatefilled writings and bad distasteful photography. The funny part is when I scroll down the home page perusing between pictures of Walmartians and postings of someones pet boo boos,  I’ll see some serious thinkers trying to make facebook a venue for critical thinking…..Please.  Spare me.  A serious concern for myself is that it eats up so much time to sift out the good from the bad and the ugly. 

      One more con… Think of the most evil, sordid, devious, perverted people you could ever imagine and then know they’re probably on facebook now looking for trouble.  Its there, waiting to happen.  

     The pros… I genuinely miss some of what was there. I enjoyed the connection to family and close friends.  It can be an effective place for both social activism and  community actions like fund-raising and Amber Alerts.  I liked giving and getting the birthday greetings.  I like looking at other peoples travel pictures and life events…the reconnection with high school classmates…even the everyday pet and grandkid pictures with misspellings and awkward photos… all the comic relief posted by everyone.  I like that its both a mini-blog for the big life events and the everyday minutia.  Only facebook offers the whole package of friends, haters, and tabloid news.  Best of all, I’ve felt a connection to those that have friended me and I value it…and Yes…my facebook friends are my kind of people. 

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     Will I go back to facebook for a while to see if it still fits?   No…not yet anyway.   I will have to find another way to stay in touch with friends because in my opinion, the trashy cons outweigh the positive pros.  Every visit to Facebook can be spoiled by someone’s campaigning, complaining, and incessant whining.  Time is too short, too valuable to squander and complicate with negative messaging.  I’ll choose to go another way.  

     My wife Barbara has kept her connection and shares with me the family photos and updates.  My few close friends actually call and we meet occasionally because its still the best way to enjoy each others company.  I still have the emotionless Twitter and a plethora of news sites and blogs to follow if I get the time. LOL.  For now I’m ok with just this public blog that no one reads but provides a placebic outlet to ramble and post pictures.  With all that said….I do now and will continue to miss my cool facebook friends. 

     P.S.  One point I’ve wondered about lately… Does belonging to a social network of friends mean you must or should be sociable and remain engaged with others you have friended?   On facebook, I failed miserably in this area.  I’ll leave comments and forget to read responses then I’ll post a picture and wonder where did everyone go?  However, I do feel I make an effort to  fit in. I give myself a facebook “C” which is way better than failing…. LOL.   I’d like to think I’ll change my habits but….pretty likely Not!