Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Dynamics of Facebook


I'm still trying to deicde how I feel about Facebook.

At first, the majority of people that were "friends" were simply people that either read my blog, or read the aomin blog. I probably didn't even know 80% of them. In fact, I initially joined Facebook because I noticed people were linking to my blog from Facebook, and I was curious to find out why.

Then, some of my current cyber contacts became "friends." This was actually interesting. It's finding out a bit more about the people who either write blog articles I enjoy, or whom I've met in cyberspace over the years. I've never met most of these people in person, but I've known some of them for many years.

Then, people started surfacing from my past. This is where it gets a bit tricky. Some of these people I haven't seen in over 20 years. It was quite a shocker to get a Facebook message from a girl I took on a date in 6th grade, or a friend request from a person I hadn't seen or heard from since 8th grade. Similarly,a few high school people began tracking me down, some of them, sorry to say, I did not remember at all. Then, various people from my past began surfacing.

Some of you probably think, "what's the problem here?"

Going through Facebook is a bit like, "THIS IS YOUR LIFE". I'm not the same person I was 20 years ago, and neither are they. In a sense, we really don't know each other. We're all arrested in each others' minds, whenever and wherever we left off. I'm sure many of the people who track me down don't find someone they remember, or maybe even like now.

And then, there are the people you know are on Facebook, but they don't send a friend request, and you wonder if you should, but then you wonder if they haven't sent it because they don't want to know you anymore.

I have more thoughts on Facebook, but this enough for now.

18 comments:

Carrie said...

Totally agree!

I just joined a few weeks ago and overall am happy to reconnect with people I have lost touch with, but it has brought back some memories I would prefer to forget. Plus, I'm hestitant to make too many friend requests b/c I fear the potential rejection - it's like being in high school again.

Carrie said...

BTW, did you see TF has his own Fan page (not run by him)? Hope it doesn't go to his head :)

Howard Fisher said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

:-)

Rhology said...

I find it useful to go back to these people whom I used to know to varying degrees and challenge them with the Gospel. Lost me some friends that way, but it's FACEBOOK. Very small price, but it's worth doing.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I signed up reluctantly because I have a disabled friend who finds it helpful to communicate this way. I then found lots of high school friends, many of whom I had not seen or even communicated with in over thirty years.

But you're right. We don't know each other, and I'm not sure we really want to anymore.

Now that the initial excitement is past, I wish I could dump the whole thing. It's very intrusive with people asking you to contact 25 people and make requests of them, share your first this and that, etc. So-and-so found a pink cow on their "farm" and it's so cute; this one won highest honours in the Mafia game and needs a new business partner, etc.

Are you kidding me?

Like I have time to waste on all this stuff? I've got a marriage and family, a business to run, kids to get through college, church work to do.

Not to mention a blog that few people read and fewer still comment on... ;-)

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Pilgrimsarbour writes:

It's very intrusive with people asking you to contact 25 people and make requests of them, share your first this and that, etc. So-and-so found a pink cow on their "farm" and it's so cute; this one won highest honours in the Mafia game and needs a new business partner, etc.

You can control what you see in your feed to a great extent. For example, just ignore applications (or people) you don't want to see in your news feed.

I only use it to share and read interesting political or theological links and material, and to share photo albums and videos with family and close friends.

The whole "friends" issue is better approached as "connections." These are people you once knew, either through high school, college, or some job somewhere. I only keep them in my contacts in case I have a question about a field, major, etc. that they might be able to address, or potential job leads.

Ryan said...

Hello, Facebook friend.

To be honest, it was through facebook discussion boards that I was introduced to and convinced of the truth of the doctrines of grace. And as I've also had an offer - from someone I never knew prior to facebook - to have a recent essay submission (to the TrinityFoundation contest) published in an online magazine, I can't hate on facebook. I think it's a great tool to not only keep tabs with old friends but also meet new people. There are several "friends" who I would love to meet at some debate or conference. I am surprised, though, that the average age of facebook users is around 35.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Small world, Ryan. I've read your work on some of the Facebook discussion boards, and we've exchanged messages. I recognize you from your picture.

Craig French said...

I like Facebook for a number of reasons...I come across great articles folks link to.

So far, you have failed me as a Facebook friend...I added you in expectation of amazing links and interesting theological tid-bits [hangs head low, fruitlessly kicks at some gravel only to trip, and walks away sadly]

Carrie said...

To be honest, it was through facebook discussion boards that I was introduced to and convinced of the truth of the doctrines of grace.

I'm not having this kind of fun. Where can these friends/groups be found? Looks like I need to friend Ryan.

I am surprised, though, that the average age of facebook users is around 35.

Surprised they are so young? ;)

So far, you have failed me as a Facebook friend...I added you in expectation of amazing links and interesting theological tid-bits

This isn't fair, Craig. You do get the ever-so-exciting pictures of James' basement on FB.

Craig French said...

Carrie: "This isn't fair, Craig. You do get the ever-so-exciting pictures of James' basement on FB."

Me: So inciting a brother to envy is helpful? ;)

Ryan said...

Hey Matthew, I couldn't find you in any of my messages, so I assume you use a pseudonym? Either that or it was lost in the far reaches of facebook.

Carrie, I'm not someone who minds random people friending me, so if you are so inclined, you can find the link to my profile in the "short bio" section of my blog.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

I still use my real name (this blogger profile name). I might come up as Matthew Schultz. The exchange was extremely brief, so you might have deleted it. I sent my part on July 30, if that matters.

In any case, I don't want to fill the comments section with any more personal matters. (James, feel free to delete this remark if you wish later to clear up space.)

James Swan said...

So far, you have failed me as a Facebook friend...I added you in expectation of amazing links and interesting theological tid-bits [hangs head low, fruitlessly kicks at some gravel only to trip, and walks away sadly]

LOL. That's what this blog is for....

The truth is, I don't spend a lot of time online. I visit a handful of Romanist sites weekly, and a few other sites. I'm not one of those folks who plays on the computer while at work. I rely on others: those with free time (or who are playing on the computer at work) to send me amazing links and interesting theological tid-bits....

James Swan said...

Matt:

You can control what you see in your feed to a great extent. For example, just ignore applications (or people) you don't want to see in your news feed.

how do I do this? I've got a guy from CARM (I think) who updates on the hour, starting with "Good morning" and ending with "goodnight".

James Swan said...

I find it useful to go back to these people whom I used to know to varying degrees and challenge them with the Gospel. Lost me some friends that way, but it's FACEBOOK. Very small price, but it's worth doing.

Excellent point. You're one of those folks I'm glad I've connected to on Facebook.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

how do I do this? I've got a guy from CARM (I think) who updates on the hour, starting with "Good morning" and ending with "goodnight".

How obnoxious!

Anyway, from Facebook help:

Where are News Feed Preferences?

Since News Feed is now a filtered stream showing real-time posts from your friends, the old news feed preferences page is gone. You can remove friends from the News Feed list (and therefore from your default stream) simply by clicking the "X" that appears when you hover over their story in your stream.

To add someone back to your News Feed, follow these steps:

1. Scroll down to the bottom of your News Feed and click "Edit Options."
2. If you are looking for a friend, scan the list to find that person. If you are looking for a public profile, select the Public Profiles tab.
3. Click "Add to News Feed" to see their posts again.
4. Click "Close" to save your changes.


How do I hide stories from a particular application (e.g., a quiz) from appearing in News Feed?

Hover over the application story in your News Feed and click the "Hide" button. Selecting the name of the application from the drop-down menu will prevent all stories from that particular application from appearing on your home page. Remember that selecting the name of a person from this menu will hide all stories from that person.

See more at:

http://www.facebook.com/help/search.php?hq=news+feed&ref=hq

James Swan said...

Matthew,

Thank you-