Last week my mom and I ended up in a Facebook related discussion. She mentioned how when she added a friend of mine who she had met a few times, how she thought she would get to see pictures of the person’s baby. I explained that my friend had said even before her son was born that she wouldn’t be posting pictures of him primarily for privacy and personal reasons, but also because she didn’t want to be one of “those” parents who post nonstop pictures of their kids. I told my mom I respected my friend for it, and that no matter how much Facebook wants us to believe what we post is “private” that I don’t trust it.
Out of sheer nosiness Friday evening I reactivated my account for about an hour. I was shocked to see a former coworker expecting her 4th child, intrigued to see an ex-friend was now in a relationship and not surprised to see the same typical ramblings of more than one person. I shook my head seeing some nonstop status updates by some, wondering what more they could be accomplishing or how much happier they would be if they just deactivated their page for a period of time. I won’t lie in that I did enjoy seeing pictures of some friends’ children and particularly their vacation photos.
In browsing people’s pages it reemphasized to me how much Facebook wants us to believe it’s connecting us to others when it really isn’t. If I never activated Facebook I would likely have never known about that former coworker expecting another child. The reason is she and I don’t talk anymore. Not for any bad reason, just one of those drift apart because you physically moved apart type of things. If I remained on Facebook I would still be her “friend” but I wouldn’t have any better of a connection to her than I do now. Would I know more about her life? Sure. Would I interact with her? Only if you count “liking” a status and a random comment here or there as real interaction. Would I have a real relationship with her? No.
In contrast by being a member of the blogging community I am connecting with “strangers” on a near daily basis. By reading their posts I am getting a deeper sense of who they are – what they like, what they’ve experienced, what they hope to achieve. The comments I leave often tend to be long winded. There are two reasons for that. One, I’m a talker by nature. Two, if I’m taking the time to comment it means that the post affected me in some way.
Unlike Facebook, where many times I was liking statuses or leaving quick comments such as “Congrats” out of an underlying pressure to do it, when I like or comment on a blog it’s because I actually enjoyed it. Sometimes these comments lead to a bit of back and forth, creating a nice dialogue. I know odds are slim I will ever meet any of these people I “talk” to, but my interactions with them help me to grow as a person. Too often on Facebook where it seems almost the norm to become offended and attack those who disagree with you or think differently, I censored what I wrote to people. When I comment on a blog I’m never censoring myself because I feel there is an unspoken respect and acceptance that while we may all be different, we are all writers sharing our thoughts and that connects us.
Facebook may enable us to know more facts about each other, but blogging allows us to actually connect to one another.