Thursday, June 29, 2017

FB and the Wild Wild West


The wife and husband friends who owned the farm I lived on for a couple of years more than forty years ago.  Another friend from that same era who now lives in Hawaii. A former coworker who was also briefly a roommate. Several former coworkers from various decades of my career. Two or three old girlfriends and one ex wife. Three or four friends who live thirty miles away but who I rarely see in person. Current friends I've known less than four years. Current coworkers and colleagues. Cousins who I hadn't seen in years.

That's just a partial list of around 400 of my Facebook friends. Some of them are real friends and some are just acquaintances. I have met all but a handful of them and generally don't accept friend requests if I don't really know them or at least know who they are.

Facebook is at times wild, odd, annoying, helpful, revealing and beneficial. Because of Facebook, I found people from my past who I really did want to reconnect with. I also found people who I'd forgotten about and in some cases wanted to keep that forgotten status in tact. Oh well.

The funniest thing about social media is that I often learn more about people from their FB posts that I do in face to face conversations. I've met my upstairs neighbor numerous times, for example, but I know more about her life from reading about it than talking about it. I've learned plenty about a cousin through FB than from chatting because I've only seen him once since he was 18 (he's now 50), but I 'see' him nearly every day online.

I've also learned more than I ever wanted to about prejudices and political views of some friends, relatives and acquaintances thanks to Facebook.

Does any of this resonate with you?  Do you sometimes prefer to know a friend's music preferences more than their views about current or past Presidents?  Have you blocked some FB friends or even I friended them. Do you sometimes just slip past posts of over posters, people who document every moment of their lives on social media?

Facebook is or can be a wonderful tool for personal contact but it can also be a dangerous purveyor of misinformation, fake news and computer viruses. It's sad to think it might be subject to governmental regulation at some point but maybe it should be.  Or maybe people should just be cautious when reading or posting.

I guess that's all that's on my mind today. I'll probably post this to this blog, then spend or waste a little time scrolling through FB. Maybe I'll see a nice cat video.

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