Analyzing Facebook

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I’ve been thinking about my Facebook account lately. I’m not going to rant about all the fake news of late being shared via social media, though I certainly have opinions about that! Maybe for another post.

More precisely, I’ve been thinking about the assemblage of Facebook friends I have.

There are the over-sharers who report every little detail of their lives. I don’t care that they are tired tonight, or had a great workout, or had a hard day at work, or where they ate dinner. Just. Don’t. Care.

There is the other kind of sharer, too. They post every goofy video or quote they can find. Facebook’s new way of launching videos automatically makes this obsession worse, subjecting us to stupid cat tricks, family functions, and supposedly amazing feats. I tend to prefer the occasional sharers, the thoughtful posts. Less is more for me and my Facebook friends.

They are an eclectic lot, too. There are liberals and conservatives, city folk, country folk, moms, dads, students, elderly friends, baby boomers, genXers, millennials.

In political seasons, it is as if my friends are debating the candidates on my very page. My liberal friend will post something from their side; my conservative friends will post their perspectives. They certainly cannot see the others’ posts, but it is almost comical how often two opposing views are back to back on my wall. Occasionally someone gets ugly so then I hide, unfollow, unfriend, or even block them – whatever seems appropriate in the moment. I even blocked my high school sweetheart once and am glad I did, too. Seems he turned nasty and mean in his old age. Don’t need that drama!

I certainly don’t accept all friend requests – have pretty strict rules about that, actually. But I have developed friendships with people I barely knew, just because of their posts, shares, and photographs. I know where everyone goes on vacation, what their hobbies are, what they do on Saturday night. I get to ‘like’ pictures of their kids/grandkids/cats/gardens. And they mine, except for the grandkids part. I celebrate, laugh, grieve with them. When I run into a Facebook acquaintance in real life, I am almost a little embarrassed, knowing so much about their lives without really knowing them. Is it just me or do others feel that way too? Should I mention something from their Facebook life or does that seem too much like I’m stalking?

So many questions. I’m not sure if Facebook is good, bad, evil, or just ‘is’, but I do know that it is mildly entertaining. At least for this Baby Boomer of a certain age with little else to entertain her on a Saturday night.

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