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Notes on Joining Facebook

May 11, 2009

My current profile photo

My current profile photo

I’ve been noodling around on Facebook for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been amazed at how often some of my gainfully employed friends update their status, how quickly people have found me, and how fun it is to find long-lost friends. Like any neophyte, I was intimidated, then fascinated, then intimidated again.

There’s a lot to look at, and a lot to learn; my brain is awash in questions. How do I upload photos? Rearrange and turn them? What’s the graceful way to ignore a friend request? Why are the quizzes so freakin’ long? Should I send a friend request to my husband’s cousin whom I’ve never met, or is that too weird? Does a lack of comments on my terribly clever status update mean nobody cares, everybody’s busy, or that I’m actually not terribly clever? Or does it not mean anything at all?

I’d been taking a fair amount of guff from friends who’d been urging me to join for the last six months or so, but now that I’ve joined, I noticed something: they do not harass me, not even gently, via Facebook. They only harass me in person. It’s like they don’t want to sully the sacred environment they love. It’s their happy place.

Obviously, it’s been a while since Facebook users reached the critical mass necessary to create a sense of pride, ownership, and evangelism. I suppose it’s partly born from wanting to include people in the fun, and sometimes it’s even sweet, as when a friend told me, just before I joined, that she felt bad for me because I was missing out on so much. But still, it seems to me that Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild has given rise to a newly minted form of acceptable, harmless bigotry: Facebook Fascism.

Meanwhile, I’ve been mentioning my new membership to friends and family, and if they haven’t joined, the reaction is almost always along the lines of, “Please don’t pressure me.” I didn’t think I would become a Facebook Fascist, but now that I’m excited about it, I find myself wanting to talk about my newfound fascination with the possibilities it presents.

So I’m planning to stay in the low-key end of the evangelism spectrum by keeping one of my favorite analogies in mind as I talk to people who aren’t members of the tribe: Facebook is just a tool, like a hammer. Use it to drive a nail, or use it to break a window; it’s still a tool. How you use it is up to you.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Crystal permalink*
    August 12, 2009 9:05 pm

    I like your Facebook status updates Heidi. Be encouraged.

    I’m going to bring the ORIGINAL Facebook to The Huddle. Y’all can giggle at pictures of me at 18 … horrific.

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