I admit I am mostly unskilled when it comes to "social networking," including something seemingly as simple as Facebook. I have mental block about which tab is my home page and which one is the public page people see. No matter how many times my boys try to tell me, I don't absorb the information.
I find my way around, albeit with little confidence. And then, just as I started to feel a tiny bit comfortable, I read this.
Honestly, it sums up what I've felt for a while about Twitter, less so about Facebook but still. I don't update my Twitter feed because I have never really felt the need to inform the world at large about one single thing I'm doing at any given time. In fact, I don't think I've ever done one single thing worth recording for posterity in my entire life, even if that record appears only via a Twitter 'tweet.'
But according to the WSJ article, some of us are treating our Facebook pages like Twitter feeds and posting pointless updates that inexplicably draw "comments" from friends and the cycle continues. I've often read posts of friends that are followed by dozens of comments that make little sense to me. And I wonder, why was the update posted in the first place and more important, why did so many people find it fascinating and worth a comment? It wasn't.
My favorite line in the article comes from Patricia Wallace, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. As she poetically puts it, "Online, people can't see the yawn." That's just about perfect. Maybe Facebook needs a yawning icon. Would anyone be bold enough to use it???
Like the author of the article, I love my Facebook connections. Some are quite a bit more active than others though. Some of them may even be guilty of the kind of mindless posting that leaves me wondering, why would anyone want to know that?
I like to read posts that make me laugh or make me think. Plenty of friends post that sort of news and I'm grateful. I also like the real life updates, but not all of them. Life changes, major events, good news, bad news and family updates all work for me. But I'm not particularly fond of reading messages about waking up, oversleeping, going to sleep, taking a nap, wanting to take nap, heading out to an appointment, coming home from an appointment, doing laundry, not doing laundry, writing out checks, buying stamps to mail out bills, or any number of everyday events not one of us felt compelled to share before we all had Facebook accounts.
So maybe this makes me cranky and not the sort of person who does well in a Facebook environment. It's very likely that my posts are as prosaic as any and people reading them rightly think: yes, your posts are pointless. You are exactly like the people profiled in the WSJ piece. Welcome to the world.
But like boring people around the universe, no one recognizes when they're boring right? The worst that can happen in that case is that I unknowingly find myself boring a room full of people. In a forum like Facebook, I have the opportunity to bore possibly hundreds of people at once.
There's just no end to the delights of the Internet.