I like Facebook immensely. I like that I can catch up with people I’ve known since childhood as well as people I’ve crossed paths with in some significant or insignificant way but time and distance ended the relationship. Through Facebook friends are brought together and through Facebook friendships are broken. The more sinister uses include to discredit, stalk and abuse. It’s a powerful tool and not one to be used lightly. Caution is the key.
I try not to put anything on Facebook that would jeopardise my family or career. However, having said that I do have strong opinions on religion, adoption and politics and I have the odd opinion about child rearing and I stand by my convictions so if anyone is offended they can use the tools Facebook provide them to deal with me such as defriending.
In the days before Facebook, friends who fell out did so by either a face-to-face argument or over the phone or by text, my personal favourite is “the snub”. These days Facebook is my preferred weapon of mass defriending. For serious arguments you not only defriend someone but you can also block them from seeing your online presence even when you comment on a mutual friend’s walls.
However, after the dust settles on an argument, there’s always the option of refriending as a form of making up. I’ve defriended and refriended the same person at least 3 times and visa versa. We use it as a tool to chastise each other for one thing or another. The last time was not so long ago. I couldn’t help but send a Facebook friend request after a couple of months with a little message saying how obviously childish we are. I guess we can’t live without being Facebook friends – it’s kinda silly.
My most unusual friend request was a one by accident. Not long ago I received a request from a friend of a friend whom I didn’t know. I sent a message to him asking if it was a genuine request as it could have been one of those strange security issues Facebook have from time to time. He said it was in his pocket at the time, so no it wasn’t a genuine request. We got chatting, well he was chatting me up and I didn’t say no (at my age I’ll take any attention awarded to me). By the end of our little flirtateous chat, I had my first by-accident Facebook flirty friend. Another unusual friend request came again from a friend of a friend because he liked my photo and who was I to say no, one must be hospitible and patsy to my own ego.
Besides keeping up to date with friends another powerful feature of Facebook is the status update and I love the status update. They can be used to brag, make you laugh, grandstand, lecture, support, encourage, enlighten. They are used negatively and positively. I use the status update for all of the above but mainly to make people laugh and very rarely for negative reasons, religious rants being the exception to this rule. I never use the status update as a personal abuse tool but I have been defriended for making comments that offend ideals, especially religious ones. Generally I ignore status updates that I’m offended by especially when friends makes a religious comment thanking God for some lame deed all the while ignoring all the heinous things going on in the world. ***off soapbox***
We follow our favourite friend’s day to day activities through their status updates. Some provide us with a humorous look at life through their eyes, some make us think, some make us squirm and some make us roll our eyes. We may not agree with some and some make you cranky.
Facebook is not compulsory and you have to take the good with the bad with the downright stupid if you’re going to use it but all-in-all for me it’s my Clayton friend – the friend you have when you’re not having a friend.
End note: If you’re too young to understand the term Clayton friend, click here.