Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Facebook. Show all posts

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Can't We Be Friends

Dear acquaintance, associate, random person from the web, or person from high school I haven’t seen in 20 years, if you have been directed here, it is because I wanted to give you a reasonable answer as to why I had to deny your friend request on Facebook. For the last month, I have been waffling back and forth on what I want and expect from Facebook. I am trying to create a space that works for me. A place where I can stay in touch with close friends, and by close friends, I am referring back to the traditional definition of friendship:
Friendship is considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association can be thought of as spanning across the same continuum…
While this may be true, that there is a continuum of associations and friendships, I am trying to keep my Facebook page a place for people with whom I have shared real life experiences. People I have hung out with, traveled with, shared deep thoughts with etc…

Sorry if this sounds pompous or insensitive in anyway, but I do not want to give in and allow my Facebook page to quickly become a list of people I have only met a few times, or worked with for a few years, and barely know.

I am honored that you think enough of me, to actually invite me to inundate your thread with my gibberish, so I would love to stay in touch and network and share ideas with you. Just not on Facebook. Not at this time. I tried being friends with everyone, and it didn’t work. There are many other places you can find me. Leave comments on my blogs, pictures, and videos. Follwo me on Twitter, where I never shut up, and please share your work through the same channels. My personal homepage is a great place to start. Facebook, however, at least for now will remain my small personal space to share my life with a few good friends. I hope you understand.

After a message like this one, why would you want to be friends with such an idiot anyways? Yes, I take myself too seriously and think I am much cooler than I really am.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Hello Again Facebook

A month ago, I wrote an extensive goodbye to Facebook, so now I feel obliged to write at least a quick explanation of why I am going back after a month hiatus. In my previous post, I explained that it wasn’t one particular thing that turned me off Facebook, but a series of events, some having to do with my personal neurosis and others with Facebook’s nefarious goings on.

The reasons I quit were never very clear even to me. I just knew that I wasn’t feeling it anymore. Something was off. After a month away, I do not have a clear compelling reason to go back. In fact it has been very easy not worrying about what my friends are or are not doing. It has been a nice break, and really I am hesitant to go back. The thing is that the network I had created in that space was no longer relevant to me. Thinking about it now, however, I see that it wasn’t necessarily Facebook that had grown stale, but network that rested there. The problem is that I had some really good friends there. People I have known for years, people who want to know what I am up to, and people to whom I want to stay connected.

As an international school teacher, I have many global relationships that were maintained through Facebook. As I prepare to move on to my next post, many of my good friends in Doha have said how disappointed they are that we cannot stay in touch. While the purist in me, would like that they would make the effort to stay in touch via the other places I frequent on the web, the realist in me understands that most people want one place they can see what all their friends re doing.

For better or for worse, Facebook is that place, at least for now. I realize that now.

Here is my new Facebook strategy:

Privacy- As I have mentioned, I am not too concerned about what I share on the web. I follow an open philosophy and I share many aspects of my life online all the time. However, I do not like that Facebook is actually profiting from my data and content, so change number #1 will be that I will no longer post any content on Facebook. I will simply direct my friends to the other places online where I house my content. Places where it is attached to a CC license and not sold to data miners for profit. I will also actually make my way through the privacy maze and choose what makes sense for me.

Maintaining Freshness- I will rebuild my friend list with people I remember and with whom I want to stay in touch. I will not reconnect with random people out of obligation and as soon as someone is clogging up my feed, I will hide and/or remove them. This is my space to stay connected with the group I want. I will try and keep my numbers low and with people who interact with me. This will be a light and more fluid Facebook.

Chill Out- Here comes the main reason I quit in the first place. I felt I was too obsessed with constantly checking who was doing what and staying caught up all the time. After a month of being away, I know that quitting Facebook is not the end of the world. I know that I can stay away and not feel like I am missing out on something. Life went on, rather smoothly I might add the month I was gone. Having said that, I am going back in large part because I miss some people there and I feel missed. These people include family and friends. Honestly, I don't feel very good about the decision. I feel I am making it out of obligation to forces I cannot name. A small part of me wants to go back, but even writing this post feels strange. In some strange way, I feel I owe it to my friends to use the tool they find easiest to help maintain our friendships.

I can see the cynics out there shaking their heads and scoffing at the idea that a friendship needs Facebook to stay relevant, and I agree with you it does not. Two of my best friends in the world are not on Facebook and we stay in touch just fine, but for the majority of my relationships Facebook is the easiest game in town.

Apprehensively, I am back…at least for now. Somewhere, Zuckerberg is rubbing his hands together and laughing the evil villain laugh, " I knew they would all be back....."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goodbye Facebook

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into quitting my Facebook account in the last few days. Which is strange that I feel the need to justify, even to myself, why I am choosing to no longer use a tool. At the end of the day that is all Facebook is- a tool that I no longer find useful, so why the extended manifesto on why I am done? I should just delete the damn thing and move on. However, like many others on the web, I’ve mentally been writing this post for days to explain to my friends and anyone else willing to listen, why I have chosen to no longer harangue them with photos of my kids and a litany of other cyber-activist news article that I happen to be reading when I am bored and alone at my house. Maybe I am just being trendy. Or maybe the latest shenanigans at Facebook have finally broken this camels back, whatever the reason, unfortunately, I don’t really have a clear profound existential reason for getting out. I have some loose strands, zygote ideas and you can find them below:

1. The main reason, or at least the first that comes to mind is that it has grown stale. No offense to the 256 friends I interact with everyday. Really I am not dealing with 256 people, but a small group pf very active users. The conversations have dried up to only about five or six people and they are usually not that compelling. At first I too loved getting photos of friends from around the globe and knowing what everyone was doing on their vacations and their everyday lives, but that personal aspect of Facebook seems to have been replaced by updates on which witty groups my friends have joined.

2. All this nonsense about privacy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in an open web. My Twitter bio reads: I want to share as much as I can with as many people as I can as often as I can. And I still believe that. I am spread across the web: Videos, Photos, Blogs, Blogs, Music, Books, web links, you name it. I believe in sharing my thoughts, feelings, and ideas, but I am not too pleased with how Facebook is claiming my life as its personal marketing tool. I will put my life out there and license it Creative Commons for others to see, use, share, and learn from, but I will not have my life turned into some ever changing nefarious web of privacy terms of service. Something about the new Facebook is untrustworthy and makes me uncomfortable. The fact that I can’t put my finger on it makes me want to opt out. I've read enough to know I am not happy. Read this and this.

3. I like to quit things that become burdensome and habitual. After surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, I vowed to write 100 haikus. One a day for 100 days. I ended up writing 475 and posted each one on a Dreamweaver created website. Once day, I felt heavy and obligated to continue. The very practice I had started to help me carve out a time of my day to breath and reconnect with myself and the world had become a noose. I deleted every single poem without leaving a trace. Like a sand mandala I simply freed myself from the attachment. Five years ago, after a lifetime of building my identity around my relationship to alcohol, I quit drinking cold turkey and have never looked back. There is a very liberating feeling in breaking your habits. Facebook has become a habit, an unsatisfying one at that. I have grown too attached to the comfort of "being in touch" that I think perhaps I need to disconnect to learn more about myself, my friends, and my relationships.

I do not want my experiences on the web to become habitual. I want each interaction on the web to be authentic, dynamic, new and exciting. I want to create content and wait for someone to find it and connect with me. If that takes months, years, a lifetime that is fine with me. I am here in my corner of the web. I don’t not want my web experience to only be defined by Facebook and by the people who are there. I hope that my Facebook friends will venture out of the safe confines of Facebook and find me elsewhere. One of the main reasons I loved Facebook was that it allowed me to connect with people that were not very active on the web. But now, I hope that as a whole, users are more comfortable with web tools so that they can begin to move beyond Facebook as well. I would much rather have a conversation on a blog comment than a Facebook like button.

So friends, this is not the end of the line. If you find what I do, say, and think interesting then come join me out here on the true worldwide web, do not allow Facebook to determine where you view photographs or read news stories. Do not allow Facebook to control your content or your web experience.

I am saying good bye. Just like that! If you were a friend on Facebook whether an old friend, a random high school acquaintance I have recently gotten back in touch with, or a neighbor and you enjoyed my Facebook presence, I encourage you to follow my blogs. Now that I am not spending time reading my Facebook threads, I may actually be creating some worthwhile content. Goodbye Facebook, hello World Wide Web.

Leave me a comment. Don't be shy. No need to be anonymous. I am not asking you to quit Facebook, just asking that you come out here with me from time to time and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Changing Times

This is why I love the new social media:
Hi! i've been trying to keep in touch with my former english teacher in Quissico (mozambique) who has the same name as yours! But a former pcv in cumbana is back in moz visiting and he provided me with the second name! so i was just wondering if it is you!

I received this Facebook message from a former student in Mozambique. When I lived in this tiny town in 1999, we didn't even have a phone. We had to drive about two hours to call home, now someone is finding me online and on Facebook. I have written Justin back and I hope it will help me reconnect to the place that has had a very profound and powerful effect on my life.


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