In spite of the fact that I use Facebook extensively I would not hit the “like” button for this product, or business, or whatever it is. I cannot identify their moral purpose, if they have one, and I do not enjoy their self-appointed role as arbiters of decency.
With that in mind I asked my friends for their insights. They provided a bunch of them, and I have included them in this post.
I posted this request recently, and the responses I received were both plentiful and informative:
Is anyone willing to explain any part of Facebook to me? What is it for? I would appreciate that. I don’t get a lot of response on FB, so silence will not surprise me.
I enjoy that the conversational flow bobbed and weaved. I appreciate the generosity of my friends in sharing their opinions, insights, and experiences.
The need for connection that people shared touched me deeply. Please note, in particular, Eve’s comments.
I am grateful for Millicent’s remarks on how prostitutes have shifted their marketing efforts to Facebook.
My personal opinion is that people are not generally aware of how it is possible, and even practical, to use a blog to build and maintain community. There is so much more that can be done with this medium. We have barely scratched the surface.
In any case, I hope you read these comments. They come from caring people. And please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.
Comments on Facebook in response to my request:
Me: Is anyone willing to explain any part of Facebook to me? What is it for? I would appreciate that. I don’t get a lot of response on FB, so silence will not surprise me.
Amy: connecting. networking. marketing. building a platform. airing your grievances/dirty laundry. telling the world what you had for lunch (photos included).
Me: Thank you, Amy! You confirm my worst fears!
Amy: Hahah! What are u afraid of?!
Me: Dirty laundry, probably. I would love to photograph you again.
Corinne: Venting, sharing, promoting, annoying, meeting like minds and then arguing due to that wink emoticon.
Me: Corinne, you know I love you, and I read all of your posts!
Corinne: You’re my favorite audience.
Me: I like the annoying part. It pleases me.
Corinne: I know.
Me: That is a big part of why I attend so many of your events. You are very cool.
Corinne: nd I’ll see you soon on the 19th!!
Me: Yes you will! Looking forward to it, as always!
John: FB is an amorphous tool. You can use it however you want to and shape it however you want/need too. You are only limited by your imagination, $, and TROLLS.
Me: Thanks, John! I am delighted by the word amorphous,
Carol: Connecting with friends, sharing photos and experiences. I enjoyed seeing Lynette’s photos from the pasta party on FB.
Me: I can always count on you, Carol, for an insightful and thoughtful observation. Thank you for that.
Rachelle: Connection of sorts!
Me: Thanks, Rachelle. I have very, very fond memories of being in your yoga classes.
Leanne: The collection of your information to market accordingly to your wants and needs? Feeding our narcissism, providing a sense of anonymity through media for posts, comments etc. Most importantly it’s a tool to carve your path and/or hang yourself.
Me: I love photographing you, Leanne. Perhaps we can do it again.
Billie: Since you asked, our families live far away and this is the way we share the boys’ photos and achievements with them.
Me: Thanks, Billie, it is really nice to hear from you.
Nayada: Vanity, curiosity, voyeurism. I enjoy being able to see my family who live in other states.
Me: I love all of those things. You are always welcome to be in front of my camera.
Dee: to get as many likes as possible lol.
Me: I like you. Will give you as many likes as you want, my friend.
Kitty: I use it to stalk my friends.
Me: Please say more about stalking. You know I admire you.
Kitty: Lol I love to stalk my friends on facebook. Especially when they don’t know it! And I adore you too! You make one feel very comfortable while shooting.
Me: Thank you. That means a lot to me. I would like to work with you again.
I find I get a lot of stuff on my newsfeed page that wastes my time and I don’t know how to control it . . .—Jennie
Jennie: supposed to be for keeping in touch with friends . . . I find I do it when all I have to do is click on “like” if I have to take extra steps like click on something to go somewhere else I don’t do it . . . I find I get a lot of stuff on my newsfeed page that wastes my time and I don’t know how to control it . . .
Robert: Facebook is one way to keep in touch with people. Not the only way, and not necessarily the best way. But it gives people a chance to tell “friends” what they’re up to at any given moment. Among my relatively small circle of FB friends, some folks seem to be about surfing the web for humor. Others gravitate to political or cultural issues.
I see vacation photos, night on the town photos, garden photos, and kid photos. I have quite a few FB friends whom I’ve never met. Among those I know the best, many are inactive. Maybe they’re lurking, like me. I rarely write about myself because I can’t imagine that most people would find me interesting. On the other hand, maybe interesting isn’t the point. I have low expectations for FB, so it seldom disappoints me. Your mileage may vary. (Editor’s note: you have seen Robert’s guest posts in this blog.)
Me: Thanks for replying, Robert. Eloquent as always.
Paul: I use it to network with other writers, musicians, comedians, photographers, film makers and models.
Millicent: It was developed for college and a rating system for guys rating girls..,it was a social network for elite colleges and truly a way for dating. And u had an elite college email and it grew through out top Colleges then mark made the system public. The history of it was rating women whose hot or not and college dating, an online yearbook, therefore that’s why it ultimately sucks. It has grown in such a way it’s a marketing system for businesses which is a requirement today’s society. Unfortunately, it is also a huge factor in divorces and break ups and is used as a personal diary.
It has evolved to personal expression and a huge way of advertising and a free dating porn site. When I visited New York a few years ago I was surprised I thought they had cleaned up the street hookers soliciting as I had so hated when I visited 12 years before that. I thought the city cleaned up the streets. I commented to the bellman at my hotel about how the hookers were gone and their johns passim out all the papers of phone numbers and locations to “buy” them which littered the streets before. The bellman responded oh no they’re not gone, they are now on Facebook I can get u that information if you’d like. In shock I said no thank u. He said their job in getting work is much easier now through Facebook. I bet I said which gave me another reason to dislike FB more!!! I could go on and on but I will spare you.
Marcia: Yup, all of the above. I will add that I come on FB for inspiration too and often find it. I haven’t been on as often though or posting as regularly as my time and attention are required elsewhere. But I so send a big hug and hello your way! I hope you are well!
Me: Thank you!
Adela: Facebook is to share stuff and see how many people “like” it lol.
Jocelynne: I use it to connect with and stay in touch with people I care about. I also use it a great deal to facilitate group projects and events and community building. The thing to remember is that the Facebook algorithm will show less and less of things posted by friends if one doesn’t interact with those posts regularly quick turns it into a,self fulfilling cycle since if people don’t see pays, they won’t interact with them. I make a point of checking in with people’s profiles as often as I can.
Leylah: Commenting sharing keeping in the loop. I feel the same way bout twitter.
Eve: I use it to keep in touch with a very tight group of friends I have known since Kindergarten. I grew up and spent my entire life in a small town in San Diego (K-12…then home for summers during college and after marriage and babies). Now I live on the east coast and if it weren’t for FB, the reality is none of us would be able to keep in touch. Realistically none of us would be writing weekly letters and sending photos of our kids to one another regularly. Maybe if we were lucky we would still send out an annual Christmas card, but that even became undoable for me since Ken’s job losses.
For me, FB allows me to be in contact with my lifelong childhood friends and family…cousins, etc…to see their kids grow, to wish them happy birthday, to share recipes and post/view old family pictures I may never have seen that a cousin in New Jersey or Michigan may have. I love and depend on these people. They have carried me through some dark times, and I love being able to be there for them through their dark times.
Without FB I cannot tell you how completely alone and isolated I would be here in NC. Not because I don’t socialize but because people here already have their own family and lifelong friend groups they are busy with. There is just something about the people who have known you since you were 5. There isn’t the same caution or judgement. You share friends, sometimes family, experiences, history.
Linda: Pretty much said it for me also Eve, without FB I would not have been able to watch loved ones that I may never see again grow up and I can still be apart of their lives, and I do not think it is a bad thing, life throws us all over the place with all new interests and lifestyles. I’m grateful to have it.
Me: I very much appreciate everyone’s comments!
Claudia: i use it primarily to network, THIS account was created for business. until i had to shut my personal one down.
Ann: I like it for the easy, casual connection to friends from the past, but more for the private groups that are more like Communities of Interest or Communities of Practice where you can find deep personal sharing, meaningful knowledge exchanges, and help in learning something new.
Let me close this post by emphasizing my gratitude that these wonderful people took time to share! Bravo!