First there was Wait But Why declaring himself the Facebook cop and letting everyone know “7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook“. The post, of course, went viral as the author described 7 types of posts that he finds particulary annoying. Trust me, you’re probably guilty of more than 1. I’m fairly certain I went 7 for 7.
Then on the heels of that, agent Wendy Lawton talked about her Facebook Life and some of the questions she is struggling with in using her Social Media.
How does one post a more balanced picture when we know it’s a public forum? There is no way to know that our myriad Facebook “friends” can be trusted. If we were to become more transparent, what does it do to our public persona? Do I really want to know about the marital struggles of my favorite author?
Many of the struggles in my life are not mine to share. A lot of us may seem to have perfect families, perfect marriages, perfect jobs, perfect vacations, etc., when it’s just that the bad stuff is confidential. I’ve tried to be balanced in my Facebook posts– some personal, some helpful (sharing links, etc.) and some professional (talking about my work and my clients).
Being transparent about some of the things dogging me and sharing some of my deepest struggles feels way too risky to me and would throw the balance off. But in letting my natural reserve inform my Facebook content, am I in danger of Facebragging?
She referenced Facebragging, a term from a blog by LarkNews and the first of the insufferable behaviors pointed out by Wait But Why’s blog. It annoys him so much he broke it down into three distinct bragging categories! Once again, I’m pretty sure I went three for three.
800 friends. Now this is living!
I think much of the problematic behavior comes from an overabundance of friends. We have essentially taken Facebook from what should be a Green space (small group) and turned into a Red Space (public space). I claim that someone simply cannot maintain 800 friendships. If you have that many friends on Facebook some pruning might be in order. I think a good number of friends should be around (quickly checks my own friend count) 100. That’s still too many, but at least its managable.
I think Facebook would do well to copy Google+’s Circles concept. You group your ‘friends’ in different circles and you choose what circles you share each post with. That greater level of control would allow someone to let the public stuff be public and keep the more private stuff private.
I also like Wait But Why’s suggestion of using other means to communication. I know its the 21st century, but there’s no rule against picking up the phone and actually talking to someone, or sending a text, or even a Facebook private message.
My Mom recently blogged about how much she enjoys getting actual physical card in the mail. Facebook is a wonderful tool, but we shouldn’t negelct some of the ways we used to let people know we were thinking of them.
Public Personna with a Private Life?
For public figures like pastors, authors, and bloggers Facebook offers the ability to create a public page similiar to a business page. This allows the public figure to have a public personna while still maintaining their private Facebook account. This seperation of the public and private is part of the solution to several of the questions Wendy Lawton asks.
What’s My Movitation?
Whether in posting or friending, it comes down to motivation.
Why are we Facebook friends with this person?
Maybe I’m just friending you because I think you’ll send me lives in Candy Crush. This is, as I should point out, perfectly OK!
I originally got on Facebook to share pictures of my new born daughter with friends and family. Since then, I’ve added extended family, and people from all the circles of my life. Some I knew better than others. I’ve always been something of a selective ‘friender’ and even hurt feelings a time or two because I didn’t choose to friend someone. Even with my selective nature, I’ve still amassed well over 100 Facebook ‘friends’.
Motivation is also of primary importance when we post. Just like I taught my daughter to THINK before she speaks, the same thought process should go into our posting. We need to always ask ourselves why I am posting this to Facebook.
Open Up a Can of … Grace
We should recognize that sometimes our friends post to get attention, or just to brag. At that point, I need to reach into my backpack and pull out a little bit of grace for them. All of us want to know we matter. We all need a little Like and Comment love from time to time. We want to know we aren’t ignored by the universe, or their friends (Facebook or otherwise). Nothing is worse than thowing out a status update and seeing no response, no engagement.
I think the self pointed Facebook cops need to take a breath. We are all the star actors of our own life. We need to hear the applause from time to time.