I am finding that for me, what works best is not so much trying to achieve that elusive “balance” but more of a “moderation in all things” approach. For example, online life vs. real life. I have seen a few bloggers and Tweeters announce that they are giving up their blogs in order to spend more time with their families. While I certainly agree that family is more important than whatever online stuff you have going on, and I applaud their efforts and hope that they achieve their goal, I don’t know that giving up the online stuff is the answer. My reasoning comes from personal experience. A few years (pre-blogging, Twitter & Facebook days!) ago I gave up my message boards for Lent. I felt like the boards were taking up too much of my time, distracting me from my housekeeping and other duties, and that cutting them out of my life would free up my time for prayer, Bible study, and other more important pursuits. What happened surprised me. I realized that my message boards were not the cause of my problem, but a symptom. I was avoiding these other important pursuits, and when I no longer had my message boards to turn to, I just found some other way to fritter away the time. I wasn’t any more productive or spiritual or whatever without my boards than I was with my boards. Rather than cutting out my message boards, Twitter, and other online activities, I find that a better solution is to be intentional about the time I am spending on them.
Try as I might, I can’t really get into Facebook.
I resisted even signing up for a long time. Finally, my soul sister, who lives across the ocean in another country, had her first child, and was sharing photos via Facebook. So, I caved and set up an account.
I’m a message board gal. I first got involved with them back in 1998, when Ron was a toddler. I can’t count how many I’ve been on since then. Some, short-lived, others, I’ve been on for years and years. During the elections when emotions were running high, I got worried that one of my favorite boards was going to explode so I “friended” as many people as I could just in case the board went all wrong. I’ve also got “friends” from other boards, along with a few family members and IRL friends. A little over 100 total (see, I don’t even know how many friends I have?!).
I have always loved my message boards, checking in, reading everyone else’s posts, catching up on what everyone else is up to. On Facebook, I am just not feeling the love. First of all, instead of my buds interacting, I feel like each person is sitting back on his or her own little hill, waiting for others to come and interact. They may be commenting on lots of other people’s walls, but, unless I’m friends with those same people, I don’t know that. And, if I don’t “like” or comment on any of this, nobody knows for sure if I’ve read it or not. Harumph.
That’s probably my main Facebook complaint. The tidy little communities I have enjoyed are gone. The people I am used to interacting with together, may or may not be interacting together. And, all these new people that I don’t know, are now interacting with MY friends. What’s up with that?!
Then there are the games. Oh, the games! I have just not gotten into the games. I am a Webkinz gal (whole ‘nother post there!) and that is my go-to spot for online games. I tried Yoville for a while but it didn’t do it for me, I finally quit that. Haven’t really gotten into any of the other games. Thank goodness I figured out how to cut off the notifications from all these games or I wouldn’t be checking into Facebook nearly as often as I do. They all just seem like silly time wasters to me. I’m sure people think the same thing about Webkinz, or blogging, or Twitter, and that’s fine. Everybody’s got their thing(s). But Facebook games are not mine.
I’m not finished yet, though. Now we have the whole privacy issue. What is and isn’t private on Facebook. The way the settings keep changing. I try to keep a pretty low profile. I rarely even post a status on Facebook. It’s just not “my thing.” With the most recent changes, I found out that every time I post a comment somewhere or “like” something, it shows up in my “friends'” news feeds. I am not happy about that and as a result am not posting or “like-ing” nearly as much I used to. I’m such a great Facebook friend. Not.
And we continue. The News Feed/Live Feed thing. Just when I was used to everything showing up on my wall, they started that feed. Then when I got used to that they started this News Feed thing. I can’t stand it. You wouldn’t believe how much stuff I have missed because of that dang News Feed. So now I have to click “Live Feed” every time I go on, so that I can be sure not to miss anything. Puh-leez.
My final complaint is that it’s hard to access all this on my iPhone. I finally deleted the Facebook App because it was not letting me do what I wanted to do. I don’t like the Mobile view, either. I do Full Site but sometimes it has trouble loading.
Bleagh. As you can tell, in my opinion this is all just more trouble than it’s worth. Why can’t everyone just Tweet?! In the meantime, I keep checking in because I really do care about my friends and want to know what is going on with them. I just wish we could go back to the old way of doing things. Maybe I’m just a fuddy-duddy. Or don’t like change. Or both.