Friday, October 21, 2022

After 13 years on Facebook, I guess I'll stick around

There is a certain cool factor these days to walking away from Facebook. People give any number of reasons for why they dislike the platform, from censorship and wonky algorithms to privacy concerns and the very existence of Mark Zuckerberg.

There is merit to each of these. Facebook is not without its (deep) flaws.

When I joined in 2009, it was at the suggestion of my wife. As I recall, she said something like, "You would know a lot of people there, and it's interesting to see what everyone posts."

And she was right, I did (know a lot of people on Facebook) and it is (interesting to see what people post).

Every morning I use the Timehop app to look back on the things I've published on various social media sites over the last decade-plus. It cracks me up when I see my early Facebook posts from 2009, because they all looked like this:

" boarding a plane for Wichita, Kansas."

Not "I'm now boarding a plane" or "I'm heading to Wichita." Everything I wrote during my first month or two on Facebook followed the same format: ellipsis-verb-object.

As I recall, that was because the prompt in the Facebook posting box in those days was something like, "What are you doing right now?" I somehow assumed it would automatically post my name, and that all I had to do was provide the rest of the sentence.

I was naïve. I still am, but I was particularly Facebook-naïve. By the end of 2009, Facebook had changed its prompt to "What's on your mind?" I believe it stayed that way for many years until recently, when they started using variations of "How's it going?" and "How are you feeling?"

Anyway, I've been a regular FB user for 13 years and I don't see myself abandoning it any time soon. My 1,800 connections include far-flung family, friends and former co-workers, many of whom I would almost never hear from if it weren't for the 'Book. That's just a fact.

I'm also endlessly interested in people's opinions on various topics pertaining to religion, sports and politics. I almost never engage in debates on any of these subjects (I've found that most people are going to believe what they want to believe, even if it's demonstrably untrue), so I end up being more of a lurker than a participant.

And honestly? I genuinely want to see pictures of that new puppy you brought home. And your kids. And your vacation. And even what you're having for dinner.

Even if I don't comment  even if I don't throw a "like" your way  please know I'm reading and looking. Even if it's an artificially idealized version of your life, I still want to see what you're up to and generally know how you're doing.

There are other ways of achieving this, I understand, but Facebook is fun and efficient. And I don't find it to be nearly as impersonal as many others do.

You also can't beat the price, which remains $0.00 a month. I don't think I would be willing to pay for the privilege of seeing someone's uninformed opinion that, for example, the Cleveland Guardians should have started Shane Bieber over Aaron Civale in Game 5 of the American League Division Series (because it wouldn't have made a difference...I know I'm right about that despite any factual evidence to the contrary, which makes me the perfect Facebook user.)

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