Saturday, November 27, 2010

Facebook, how did we survive before it?

Around the last week of every year I write my annual email that I send to my friends and family. I used to look forward to writing my Annual email, put a lot of thought in it, attach pictures, maybe a song or a poem and talk about the blessings that year brought into my life.

That annual gave birth to my weekly blog. After sending many of them year after year, I was encouraged to start writing by some of those recipients and I wanted to give it a shot.

Then Facebook happened. And with Facebook my life became constantly on public display, by choice if I may add. I upload pictures, songs, poems, comments and share with … the world. I wish everyone happy thanksgiving and happy new year. I receive bunch of love on my birthday. A lot of uplifting comments when I'm sick or if I had a surgery, and warm thoughts to get me through some tough times. And as much as I think it's impersonal, it actually works and I have a love-hate relationship with it.

Facebook made it a lot easier to stay in touch with people; reminders of birthdays, events, fan-clubs, compliments, jokes, funny clips and you name it. But the one thing that it took away is the exciting intimate feeling of sharing something special with special friends only.

I started Facebook a few years back. I loved it at the beginning, I had 30 to 40 friends that I really cared about having on my friends list. I liked reading their updates and sharing mine with them. Then the friends requests got out of control. At the beginning I was kind of selective but then I might have fallen for the same meaningless popularity contest every teenager is going through; the "I have more friends than you do" disease. The number of friends I have suddenly increased to 75 then 100 then 300 and it keeps on growing. Some of the friends on my list are people who added me without saying a word, not even "Hello". The funny thing is that they're the same people who don't say "Hello" to me when they see me in public. After accepting some of them, I decided to clean up my friends list and keep it for "friends" so I deleted some of them. A few months later I received friends requests from them, again. I guess because of the number of friends they have, they forgot who they sent requests to.

Personally I hardly send friend's requests. The ones I had at the beginning were no brainer, they're my best friends. But after establishing whom I wanted on there, I mostly respond to friends' requests. Some of which, I happily accept, and others, I say "oh what the hell, I might as well" and I finally learned to say NO to some.

Discovering "Hide this post" and "Hide all posts by this person" Tabs was a gem. I found a way to stop seeing those certain posts like the never ending posts of those games Facebook has where people discover a lonely pink cow or expand their imaginary gardens or …… etc

And now comes the "Block this person"  tab that I never thought I would use. Alas I had to finally utilize that tool and block two or three people from seeing me after using their Facebook profile to promote religion and certain political agendas. And let me add here that every one is entitled to their own opinion and that's totally okay, but the ones I blocked were the ones who have the mentality of "It's my way or the highway" insulting anyone and everyone who disagrees with their posts.

Then comes the "Limited List", another great tool to keep certain things from certain ones and keep certain ones from accessing certain things. Go figure ....

So Facebook me and I'll Facebook you too, but neither of us can really blame the website, it's what you do with it and how you use it. It has all the tools to take you back to those special 30 or 40 friends you want to see. And it has the tools to keep it very special and private or make a whore of yourself. Use it the way you want or don't use it all. The fact remains, it made the world much smaller and a lot easier to communicate and share with.

Ye the fact remains and it's simple. Though it can get you closer to distant people whom you might have never even thought you would reconnect with, even reunite with, it distanced you from those you were close to, and it will distance you more, whether you like it or not, because after all, there's only 24 hours in any given day. Manage the time you spend on this addictive social network!

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