Monday, January 25, 2010

Twitter the Gateway Drug and its Hardcore Addiction Cousin: Facebook

Quite some time ago I, like Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Discopickles** created a Twitter account. There was a time, you know, when I used to actually write on my blog regularly, when I would think in terms of blog posts. It wasn't long after signing up with Twitter that I found myself thinking in 140 characters or less and by the power invested in me so help me God I will use "its" for "it's" if I'm one character over the limit. At first I would try to limit my tweets and discern what might be tweet-worthy. Because I didn't want to answer Twitter's "What's Happening?" and be all: Just took out the trash or first load of laundry for the day complete zzzzzzzzzzzzz....It didn't take much time to decide that things like: "When did James Cameron turn into Bea Arthur?" or "When my dog leaps onto the couch, she farts. Audibly and impressively. You're welcome." - were important updates for the world to know. Because I'm helpful with information like that.

About a year ago my college aged sister talked me into joining Facebook. And I was all, I already have a blog, I have a Twitter, I'll sign up but don't expect me to frequent that little corner of the internet - much. And she was all, yeah, we'll see about that sucker. Most of our family, adults and children alike, and our friends are there. It's a great way for us to keep an eye on our teenage son and his friends share photos, family updates, plan a get together, and communicate with those closest to us. But then there is the political aspect to contend with. If you want to keep something one on one or between a chosen few, you take your conversation to the inbox...away from prying eyes. And when I say prying eyes I'm talking about that person who's on your friends list simply because you went to the same high school. And then you start to realize that the politics of Facebook are very similar to that of planning a wedding.

If you invite Auntie Gertie then you have to invite her offspring, your cousin, the one who used to pour sand in your hair and stole your boyfriend when you were in sixth grade and you don't really like her, in fact, you kind of hate her guts and don't want her anywhere near you on the happiest day of your life, because wtf? It's YOUR wedding. This is Facebook. You get a friend request from someone you genuienly adore or did once and would like to reconnect. Then because of that connection it turns out someone from their friend list remembers you or went to the same school as you or maybe worked with you briefly at some point, or likes your profile picture and would like to see more of you. Whatever the case may be, now you've got a dilemma on your hands in the form of a friend request pending on your homepage. And you sit on it for a spell. Because you don't want to be rude or hurt their feelings by hitting that "ignore" button. But then you don't really want them keeping up with the witty banter on your wall and the pictures of your friends, family, and your kids in your albums. In other words: I want my Facebook to be a private, intimate affair and I don't want them at my wedding.

And I try to limit my status updates on Facebook because I'm hiding my addiction from the people closest to me. I don't need to come home to some kind of Facebook intervention with far flung relatives from around the globe. Because I've got it under control. Really. Really I do. No, really.


**In fact, not a Twitter name I checked. It's yours if you want it.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I go through the same thought process about "accepting friend request", Di I REALLY want them to know what I'm thinking, doing on a regular basis?

Love the analogy to the wedding. :-)

I never signed up for Twitter. It didn't seem to have the depth/choices that FB has. It is too 1 dimensional.

Amanda said...

I just did a major slash and burn on my friends list. It was a novelty. I don't need to know what the people I went to school with twenty years ago but haven't spoken to since are doing on a daily basis.

standing still said...

dude, we need to hook up on facebook. i don't have an addiction either. and I have NO amazing stories of reconnecting with people who I would never have found in the whole wide world (son of dad's 2nd wife who was 5 when they divorced and is now a hip advertising art director and wickedly funny)were it not for the facebook machine. look me up: marti priest nelson

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

see, it's really the politics of it that keeps me away from FB.

Christine said...

I'm a total FB addict but I too try to limit it to amusing and/or relevant (at least to me).

The ones that really bug me are the people who status important things like "join my Mafia!" or "barn-raising on Farmville".

I don't have a life either but at least I don't advertise it. Oh. Wait. I do.

MommyTime said...

I think you either have to be addicted or never use it. Yes, like crack, I suppose. I have a FB account but am almost never there. It's the only way to limit the addiction. And also, I have bloglandia to keep my busy during all my frittering time.

hulagirlatheart said...

I refuse to touch Twitter because I hear you're hooked after the first hit.

As for the politics of Facebook, I must admit there is juvenile pleasure in "ignoring" the homecoming queen.

calicobebop said...

I KNOW! I had a huge discussion with one of my best friends about the evil of facebook. I rarely post anything on it anymore because I don't want everyone on God's Green Earth to know what I'm up to!

JoeinVegas said...

I just to the games there. Want to be my friend? I could use another neighbor to reach that next level. . .

Stu said...

A guy I work with says

"Facebook; Christmas card depth relationships, year round"

Twitter reminds me of the nut-job guy on the corner shouting random things...

-Stu

cactus petunia said...

Dude! I was wondering what happened to you...facebook and twitter, they're EVIL. (I'm thinking of dropping off the face of facebook.)

My blogging is practically nonexistent these days because of facebook. I wonder- is there anyone left reading blogs these days?

MadameQueen said...

I completely agree with you -- it was Twitter and FB that killed my blog (though I have revived it). It was just so much easier to update everybody that way.

My problem with FB is that many of the people I went to high school with are on a completely different page than I am, politically speaking, and their status updates make me feel stabby. And un-friend-y.

'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! said...

Crackbook is so addictive I actually have TWO pages - the one for me with my real name that my family and friends can be friends with, and the one I set up (why I don't remember) that publishes my blog posts. And yes, they are friends with each other. And both addicted to Farmville.
Interesting how many people will invite you to be a friend when they don't know you at all. Like people who I am sure never read any blogs, much less mine but friended me with my Jane Doeadeer persona (the one with the orange cat if you wanna be besties on FB). Suprising actually...

'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! said...

Oh, and I tried Twitter but I didn't inhale