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Facebook: Addictive Timesuck January 7, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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I joined Facebook quite a while ago. Maybe a year ago. Maybe not quite. I did it when a friend’s daughter invited me. For a while, I think I was “friends” with three people, two of them teenagers. I would check in on their pages occasionally. But the whole poking, sending gifts, throwing snowballs thing? I didn’t have time for that. Plus, any acceptance of/participation in these activities meant signing up for something, giving access to my information. Forget it.

Then, last fall I was in some Portland bar with Len, who was telling me I just had to get more active on Facebook. How great it was. It’s amazing what Len can influence me to do, whether I’m under the influence or not (see “Girl,” story of overpriced bag). I immediately and obediently got online and began friending* people, starting with Len.

And I discovered that Facebook is fun. I love taking a quick glance at people’s status updates (e.g., on December 31, “Indigo . . . hopes that tonight she’ll be burning Sugartown.”). I have some pretty creative friends who write some pretty creative one-liners, and I enjoy banter.

Facebook can be banter central.

I like checking out people’s photos, even though I’m too lazy/ignorant/busy to post many myself.

There’s something about Facebook that makes you feel like you’re a little bit in touch with someone, albeit (in many cases) barely. But barely feels better than not at all. Usually.

Some of my Facebook friends are people I haven’t seen in years. Some are my blog friends, people I’ve never met (you know who you are—and if more of you want to be my Facebook friend, that can be arranged). Some are my next-door neighbors, so it’s good to get handle on what’s happening over there, as we seem to get more computer than face time.

A woman I sort of knew in school recently friended me. I was flattered that she had, and I accepted, wrote on her wall, and haven’t heard one word from her. I don’t get that. And there’s a guy who I’m sure friended me as a result of giving Facebook access to his entire address book. I don’t know him, really, but he’s a fun read.

I have only ignored one friend request so far (not outright rejected it), but that’s because it’s a guy I don’t know personally who might be submitting a manuscript to me in the future. I can’t see giving him access to my Facebook page.

The thing is, Facebook has become an addictive timesuck. I find myself somewhat obsessively checking my account (probably to avoid doing other things). Poetic status updates beckon me. I get constant alerts through e-mail—that’s enough to keep me going back and bantering more. It is just too much fun seeing what my favorite-little-camper-who-is-now-in-her-forties is up to right now. (Do we both still harbor a love for tapioca? Inquiring minds want to know!)

No doubt I’m blogging a little less because I get sucked into the Facebook vortex.

And the irony? Len is hardly ever on Facebook. Seriously. Hardly ever.

*Yes, I know the proper verb is befriending. That’s not a word you see much on Facebook.

Comments»

1. She She - January 7, 2009

I recently got rid of my Facebook account. I saw it for the potential timesuck it is. I couldn’t take the time to friend people and couldn’t stand the fact that that meant I only had about three friends. Maybe I’ll hop back into it eventually. Also? It makes me feel old.

2. Lonerhino - January 7, 2009

Hey this is Barguy from Natasha’s. Just saw this great poem by Stephen Edgers and the first stanza is:

“Hardly a feature in the evening sky
As yet—near the horizon the cold glow
Of rose and mauve which, as you look on high,
Deepens to Giotto’s dream of indigo.”

The rest of the poem is breathtaking.

I guess like Giotto I cant’t get enough of indigo.

Still digging your writing. Ive been much less out on the town.. comforts of home thing you know. Peace

3. Cedar Waxwing - January 7, 2009

Yay — you wrote it. If you had written this months ago I may have gotten more active sooner!

4. She She - January 7, 2009

Okay. You’ve inspired me. Will you be my friend? Alesia Clear

5. indigobunting - January 7, 2009

Cedar: I should have sent folks to your blog for your perspective:

http://dponline.org/weblog/2009/01/01/a-facebook-new-years-eve/

She She: I just got off the phone with a friend (who doesn’t read this blog) who detailed why he thought Facebook was a weird way to communicate, etc. All reasons I had previously felt and still completely get. Don’t feel I’m pressuring you at all with this addiction vent. But I WILL friend you.

Lonerhino: I recently checked your blog to no avail. Glad to know you’re still out there. Seems like the economy is going to make my Portland trips less frequent and shorter, but I may be around for a few days starting Feb. 1. Keep an eye out. I finally got the Grille Room, despite my mourning Natasha’s, and I have to say, it’s good. I tried stalking you on Facebook, but it looks like you’re a lurker-only there too… Best to you and the comforts of home!

6. Elizabeth Torak - January 7, 2009

Whew, now I know that my fear of posting an insufficiently witty status update is part of a well-founded and realistic stress response to a threatening situation…

7. indigobunting - January 7, 2009

Elizabeth: As if you were capable of such a thing! (Hey, no pressure!)

8. Craig (Maito Sewa Yoleme) - January 7, 2009

BTW, “friending” is not at all the same as “befriending.” If I befriend you, I expect real friendship. If I “friend” you (and I’m almost ready to stop putting that in quotes), I just want some cordial banter or, in the case of a couple of my FB “friends,” so I can rub elbows with people who are rich and famous. Or sort of famous. Or at least better known than I am.

Of course, I asked Roseanne (Barr Arnold Barr) to be my friend, and she ignored me, so I guess I overreached.

Nah. I really only care about FB because it give me a chance to play from time to time, a quick-dash in and out. It fits my ADDishness.

9. LisaS - January 7, 2009

oh yeah. me too. that and twitter–major time wasters, but a lot of days that’s all the human adult companionship i get.

10. indigobunting - January 7, 2009

Craig: Good point on the differences in meaning. (And don’t let Roseanne get to you. You know how she is.)

Lisa: Human adult companionship good. (I still don’t speak Twitter.)

11. Helen - January 7, 2009

I don’t get Facebook. And what is Twitter?

12. Mali - January 7, 2009

I’m still at the state you were at a year or two ago. I joined mainly to keep in touch with my niece. And just today at lunch, was talking with one of my friends about how I don’t really “get” facebook. We both used the excuse that it was a generational thing, but now you’re into it (and CW too) I just feel out of touch!

13. indigo bunting - January 8, 2009

Helen: Truly, I can’t answer that with authority.

Mali: Be reminded that CW is a Technology Goddess. (She can answer Twitter questions, for sure.) I still don’t even have a cell phone and get confused when someone hands me one.

14. waxwing - January 8, 2009

My most interesting Facebook encounter was the other day when I found my former office-mate and friended him. He was always a little hard to know, back in the office, but seemed happy to have reconnected. We had a really nice chat. So I’m really seeing the benefits of this mode of communication.

15. laurie - January 8, 2009

ah, befriending is much different from friending. friending is flilppant, requires no great investment of time or emotion, it’s like giving someone a wave as you pass by them on the street.

befriending? reaching out. helping. spending time.

but i’m just picky about words.

i like facebook, and i have found it enormously useful in my job. it’s so easy to contact people–no mucking around trying to find their email address, or phone number, or making sure you have the right email… just shoot them a message on facebook and you hear back within seconds.

16. laurie - January 8, 2009

ps it’s not a popularity contest, but facebook is all about friends. if you don’t have many, you’ll never “get” what it’s all about.

it’s truly a social thing…. my mother, who is 81, is on facebook. she finds it annoying and somewhat mystifying. but her only friends are her children, and she talks to us all the time anyway.

17. Adam Byrn Tritt - January 8, 2009

Sorry it took me so long to get to this blog. I’d have been here sooner but I was on Facebook.

I find it does take a bit of time, true. However, many of the snippets I place there end up full blogs, essays or poetry so it is yet one more place for a snap of creativity that many blossom, in short or long order, into literature.

It has helped me keep track of a few folk I’d rather not lose track of, it has helped me know a few folk better (you know who you are certainly and I’d love to get to know you in person) and it keeps me up to date when some friends, actual friends, aren’t doing too well but have not told me so.

It has helped me find people I had lost. In one case it helped a person who lost me find me again and to do so just in time before the death of a beloved canine companion she had adopted from us.

And it gives me yet one more way to annoy my wife. (YES, look her up on my friend list. Lee.)

And if anyone here wants to friend me, be my guest.

This is Adam, signing of for a few blogless and Facebookless days in the Northeast.

18. Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb - January 8, 2009

Indigo, you’ve hit a nerve!

Me, I’m just barely keeping up with blogs, and then all this Facebook stuff suddenly seems like the thing to do. I still don’t get it….

19. Helen - January 9, 2009

Have you not been blogging because you’re facebooking?

20. damyantig - January 10, 2009

I haven’t been able to get myself to Facebook, probably because I know that if I do, it will be a timesuck. I spend my whole day online for work, so need to plan my time very well…..

21. indigo bunting - January 10, 2009

All of these comments: really good, all the great/not-so-great stuff about it right here.

Helen: Don’t know. I need to think of something else to blog about. And I need to catch up on my blog reading. Haven’t checked out your hair for two days.

22. Linda - January 10, 2009

I too recognize FB as a timesuck, however, it has put me back in touch with students I taught some 23 years ago- as well as a variety of summer camp co-workers. We are sharing family updates and work stories … and photos. As well as the ocassional online chat … which continues to amaze me when here I am in rural Pawlet, VT and the other chatter is in South Africa or Greece! So, if I don’t vacuum the house for another half an hour, so what? As for Twitter … it is a bunch of one-liner updates and as you can tell I have far too much to say for that!

23. indigobunting - January 11, 2009

Linda: These are wonderful things and are part of the reason I won’t be quitting Facebook. I am amazed at how it allows you a way to find people and for them to find you. And I got a lesson in the online chat about a month ago, and it is kind of amazing (no more amazing than a phone, of course, long forgotten but more expensive if you’re dealing with South Africa or Greece!).

24. Elizabeth Torak - January 11, 2009

OT- finally found your 44/365 blog (the link to Len…) All I can say is wow – amazing haikus – totally addictive. I want to read them all!

25. indigo bunting - January 12, 2009

ET: Don’t miss yours!

I wonder if I’ll ever blog again?

Back to work…

26. Lynda - January 13, 2009

Status Update: “Lynda Corbett Hilliard desperately misses IB’s blogs and has been tirelessly checking Route 153 every day (sometimes twice), only to be disappointed yet again.”

27. indigo bunting - January 13, 2009

Oh dear Lynda, you are good for me, and I am trying to get myself to do this! Not sure why it’s seemed more difficult lately. Can’t find a block of time.


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