In Defense of Facebook

It’s in the news and on blogs and on Twitter: the demise of Facebook, at least in the coveted teen demographic.

Guess what? I’m still on Facebook (and clearly not in the teen demographic) and I’m not leaving. But I am using Facebook differently than I did in the beginning.

A few months ago I started thinking about how many “friends” I have on Facebook. And how in reality, if I saw at least 50 of those people in person, I would probably not have an actual conversation with them. Not because I don’t like them. I like them! I like seeing their pictures and status updates.

But for various reasons, we probably aren’t Facebook friend material: I haven’t seen them IRL for years and years, didn’t actually know them well in the first place, and I accepted Facebook friend requests in the beginning of my Facebook journey from basically anyone I had met or even remotely knew of. I share personal stuff on Facebook – pictures of my son, vacation photos, updates about my life. And I really do like sharing that stuff with people I know. But a while ago, I de-friended people. It felt like a one-sided breakup and I know most of those people don’t care or probably haven’t even noticed that we are no longer Facebook friends.

So I’ve changed my Facebook strategy. If I know that I (and you!) will greet each other in person if we met on the street, we are meant to be Facebook friends. If you’re family, you’re stuck with me. But if I only know you professionally, we can connect on LinkedIn or Twitter (but not on my anonymous Twitter account, where I’m snarky and mean).

This means that only my close friends see most of my status updates and pictures. I have an entirely separate group of Mommy friends that I grumble to about parenting and lament about lack of sleep. I’m pretty sure most of my non-Mommy friends appreciate not reading these status updates. I even have a VERY small group of BFFs that see certain status updates that are really truly only meant for their eyes only. The thing I like about Facebook is that I can choose who gets to see what. And only a handful of friends see everything because they fall into every category.

And strangely enough to me, there are people I friended on Facebook years ago that I didn’t know very well IRL, but we’ve become better friends because of Facebook. It’s a strange phenomenon. I feel lucky that this has happened.

I do admit that there are a few people I haven’t de-friended that I probably should. I don’t let these people see much on my Facebook page, so what’s the point? I’m still pondering that one.

And yes, I know Facebook is using me and my information to make money. I’m a social media addict and because I’m terrible about picking up the phone to call a friend, social media allows me to stay connected to people I care about in ways that I never could have imagined even 5 years ago.

What about you? Are you like my husband, who doesn’t check Facebook and doesn’t share anything, ever (I mean, seriously, I think the last time he updated is status was when our son was born almost three years ago), and should probably just delete his account? Or are you like me, a Facebook lover?

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