Where I’ve Gone

Perhaps not directly related to teaching and learning, but certainly about social media use. A letter to my Facebook friends…

Hi friends,

I’ve been wrestling with Facebook for awhile. With its privacy policies/settings, with ads suggesting we should lose weight or find a hot mate, with suggestions to connect with people we’d rather not.

I love hearing what’s going on in your lives, but for me the net effect of Facebook is that this news more often turns into a tool for comparison in ways that aren’t healthy or productive. I want to rejoice with you in happy news and share with you in sorrow, but with Facebook, I find that all too often you become scrolling thumbnail images and demographic details to which I find myself wishing I measured up. A point brought home to me by this video…

I know that we all have lives more complicated and messy than our status updates and photos, but it’s hard to remember that at times.

I’ve resisted stepping away from Facebook because it feels like stepping away from community, stepping out of the loop. To be blunt, I worry that stepping away from Facebook means being forgotten. So I hope that you’ll continue to keep in touch- via letter, email, or phone. Let me know what’s going on in your life or if you’re out and about somewhere fun in the Triangle.

This is an experiment. I may come crawling or skipping back. But for now, thanks for reading.


EDIT: Thanks to Steve J. Moore who reminded me of this video


8 thoughts on “Where I’ve Gone

  1. I feel the same way… I am barely on FB; however, its the only place my friends are on. They are not embracing G+ so, I am at an impasse. I look to see how your experiment goes.

  2. Interesting experiment. I have to say, I don’t feel this way at all about Facebook. I limit it only to my actual, real, good friends and family. I skim it every once and a while. I make the odd comment and post the odd status update. I probably spend a sum total of about 4 minutes a week there. It just doesn’t define me at all in any way. That being said, I do understand that for many it does.

    I’ll look forward for your experiment update some time in the future.

  3. I think for me I made the mistake of friending many and anybody I knew loosely before I’d anticipated how this tool would turn out. I’ve been on FB since the beginning when it was higher Ed only. So many people in my feed that I’d rather not “follow back” and don’t have the time or patience to cull my friend list with a scalpel. This may end up being my strategy, too.

  4. I stopped posting on FB a few months ago and only check it every couple of weeks. I am going to be shutting it down as well. I guess I’m feeling some social media fatigue–even four years on Twitter seems like the same old thing. But I struggle with similar issues of wanting to be connected. It’s going to be a summer of reflection, for sure.

  5. I never went to FB and don’t intend to (famous last words?). I find the privacy issues and farming of data for advertising to be a bit too much, and I don’t trust Zuckerberg and company.
    Good luck with your “step back.”

  6. Most of my family is on Facebook, and I generally reserve it for people I know in real life. I scroll through what I have time for when I feel like it and let the rest go. If someone wants to be sure I see something, they’d better tag me. 😉 If I see a post that offends or irritates me, sometimes I hide it, and other times, I hide that person altogether. And if someone rarely posts or regularly posts unsavory stuff, I delete them. I like the framework of Google so much better, but it will take a long time for my people to migrate, if they ever do. Until then, I’m sticking with FB.

  7. The video is interesting, and presents a perspective I hadn’t considered. At first I didn’t understand the status issue, since I rarely look at it, but I can see your point.

    As an expat, Facebook is invaluable. I have a smallish list of friends, and I’m pretty ruthless about hiding and deleting folks who annoy me. FB is my causal ‘friends and family’ space, while Twitter is more professional and some group blogs and discussion forums hit my other interests. Of course there’s some overlap, but I like the compartmentalization.

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