The recent redesign at Facebook has taken up more than enough blog words and space over the last few weeks. My complaint of the day goes beyond the redesign, and in fact, back in time to start with a question I asked many years ago about LiveJournal: why am I calling these people my “friends” when many of them are not in fact friends under any real definition of the word? Why do I have to call them “friends” when they are at most “acquaintances” and in many cases, just “people whose stuff I read”? And “unfriending” or “defriending”? That is such a cruel concept if these people were in fact actual friends, isn’t it? Oh. I do feel that I have actual friends on LiveJournal, ones I’ve met and ones I haven’t, yet. But those are not the people I am talking about.
As you can guess, I’ve never received an answer, let alone a good one. But that’s fine. I’ve not dwelled on it, except to laugh at the people who periodically inflict emotional blackmail upon their friends list and threaten to defriend people who don’t comment to their adoration-seeking post. Pathetic attention whore, much?
Now on to Facebook. And for the record, I don’t like the redesign. Almost every time I’ve logged in since the changes, the so-called news feed greets me with a dozen or more entries trumpeting the fact that someone just distributed pixel gifts to their friends. This would not be so bad except that it totally eclipses more important things, like status updates, or posted articles, or posted photos. You know, the stuff I would actually want to see from and about my Facebook friends, some of who actually are real friends from real life.
So I don’t have the same issues with the meaning of “friend” on Facebook as I did on LiveJournal. My issue with Facebook, other than no love for the redesign, is that I’m no longer seeing how it is any better to interact with people solely through pixel gifts and games, as to not interact with them at all. Sort of like the people who never send you a personal message via email, but send only forwarded sentimental crap with duckies and kitties and flowery prose about friendship. Ironic, that.
I do have friends on Facebook (as opposed to so-called friends, and like everyone else on Facebook, I have those, too). Some are family and in-person friends from my offline life. Some are online friends that I’ve never met in person, but might someday. But these are all friends or acquaintances who actually communicate with me and each other. We have conversations and discussions and genuine interactions, offline or online. We comment on each others’ blogs, leave personal comments on each others’ postings. Maybe we also play the same games.
The ones I’m talking about communicate solely through pixel gifts and games. I’m finding that it is taking up a disproprotionate amount of my time to even just fast forward through the fake interactions to get to the real ones. Ultimately it’s my own responsibility to get my time back. I think I need to look hard once again at the real meaning of the word “friend” and the quality of interaction I want to have with my current true friends and those who I would like to develop a real friendship with.