Can one actually be addicted to a social networking site? Well addicted might be a little strong (or maybe it’s denial), but if you happen to be one of my FB friends, and you pay attention to my news feed, you’ll see my Facebook activity takes place 24/7. That’s not to say I’m on all day, it just means at any given time I can be drawn in, and sometimes find myself lingering on the site way too long!
I’m glad this social networking phenomenon was opened up to the earlier generations (yes, that’s a nice way of saying old folks), though admittedly it takes a bit more effort to convince someone over 30 being a “bookie” isn’t just for the kids.
Advancements in technology have their fair share of detractions, but I like Facebook despite its’ somewhat voyeuristic nature. It allows me to reconnect and keep up with friends all over the world, but in a way I don’t feel obligated to respond like I would an e-mail or voicemail.
Facebook takes the whole six degrees of separation thing to another level. It’s fascinating to see how we’re all connected, and just how small the world is when we track it via common friends. According to my Friend Wheel I currently have 117 friends with 565 links. That means just within my group of 117 friends, the friendships are linked together in no less than 565 ways.
By FB standards, if this were high school I’d practically be a loner with only 117 friends and my two Facebook rules probably don’t help. Even though I feel guilty ignoring a friend request, I want to have had some type of face-to-face connection in real life (even if it’s only once) with anyone I’m FB friends with. There are probably a couple people who’ve slipped by me cause I thought I knew them, but really didn’t. No doubt there are also friend requests I’ve ignored because I don’t remember meeting someone who I may have crossed paths with some time ago. Either way, it’s nothing personal, it’s just my way of trying to keep it real. Of course if George Clooney ever “friends” me, that rule is out the window!
My second “rule” is I don’t have friends under 18. I put pretty strong conditions on my two daughters before I would allow them to be on Facebook or MySpace, and one was they couldn’t have friends over 18, including me! It also means no teachers, coaches, camp counselors or even aunts and uncles. You can’t always control what gets posted on your page or your “friends”. According to them I was the only parent who made their kids wait as long as I did (ages 12-14 about a year and a half ago), but risking their hate was just fine with me, which is why I also have full access (including passwords), because I’m their parent, not “friend”! No, I don’t believe in the boogie man, but the internet can feel a lot like Pandora’s box (which is another entire blog subject) and I just feel better trying to keep this little portal that allows access between them and the adult world, closed. The internet has made our big world small in more ways than one, and I don’t want my kids being just one click away from all those “friends”.
I only have one real complaint about Facebook. Who the heck thought single people would want to announce to all their friends they’re looking for dates? Or what am I supposed to think when I see my 13 year old daughter tags herself as interestedin men? I wish there were a few more choices when it comes to personal information, so it’s clear my daughter just prefers boys over girls when it comes to crushes and single adults could tag themselves as “Holding out for someone who shares mutual feelings of adoration” rather than “desperate for a date”!
With this particular advancement in technology, on any given day I am reminded of all the wonderful people who impact my life and sometimes I even LOL (laugh out loud) when I see what all my FB friends are up to!
If you’re not already a bookie, here’s a link to my page. Sign up and “friend” me…if we’ve met face-to-face, that is!
2/6/09-Update: For her 16th birthday in January I lifted the over 18 rule as it applies to relatives and former classmates for my oldest daughter. She hasn’t “friended” me yet, but for some reason she’s fine with having her old aunties & uncles show up on her page and her cousins have “friended” this old aunt too. Oh well, for all of you who think my rules are too strict, I’d like to point out having full access to your kids FB or MySpace is a great way to keep up with what they’re doing. And no, it isn’t an invasion of privacy because they know I have that access! Don’t tell her, but I’ll probably lift the access rule when she turns 17.
12/7/09-Update: My nearly 17 year-old “friended” me all on her own today :)