Clearly, I Just Don’t Get It

For some reason, I am going to do something today that I have never done before: write a post that is totally unrelated to the general theme of my blog, and post twice in one day. I have had multiple conversations in the past with my daughter about Facebook, and more specifically about Facebook etiquette.  My daughter signed me up for Facebook almost three years ago when she went to college as a way for me to keep up with what she was doing there.  For probably a good two years, I never did anything more with it than look at my “news feed” to see what she was up to.  She had to explain to me the difference between the “news feed” and my “wall” because I just wasn’t getting the difference. I rarely posted anything myself and occasionally clicked a “like” button or two.  Then a little more than a year ago, I lost a bit of my reserve/fear and began to tentatively do a bit more.

It wasn’t long until my daughter had to have “talk” with me about the fact that I didn’t have to “like” everything she said or posted.  I told her something to the effect: “Of course I like everything you do–you are my daughter and I love you.”  She proceeded to educate me on some of the unwritten “rules and etiquette” of Facebook.

Now, of course, I was aware of some of those rules. I have heard in the news about nurses who put details of their patients and even some surgeries up on their Facebook page. I remember being horrified that anyone would break patient confidentiality with such foolish disregard.  I did know that anything you put up on Facebook could be seen by all of your “friends” and others, depending on your privacy settings.

Not too long ago I became “friends” with the mother of one of the young dancers my daughter has mentored. This woman had been good to Hannah, and I liked what I saw of her sense of humor.  After about a month or two, I began seeing posts about how unhappy she was with her job, and her boss in particular. After one vitriolic rant about her boss, I shuddered and wondered just how long she would hold that job. Sure enough, about a week later, she posted that she had been fired.  You see, even I know that employers are checking out their employees’ Facebook pages.  I quickly “unfriended” her thinking I just wasn’t sure I needed a “friend” who was that undiscerning.

During a recent conversation about Facebook, the subject of “Facebook stalking” came up. We have had several conversations about this topic in the past, and each time my daughter has tried to explain it to me, I have had to admit that, “I just don’t get it.” You see, as she explained it, Facebook “stalking” means checking out your “friend’s” wall, information, photos, interests, etc.  So. . . correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that why we put all that stuff up there in the first place?  Don’t we want our “friends” to see it; don’t we want them to know those things about us?

I have had to shake my head, time and time again, as I am continually bemused by the concept that all that information is up there for no one to see. So, I have decided to post a cryptic translation of the Facebook “dialect” that I speak, should anyone be interested or confused.

For the record:

If you are my “friend” on Facebook, it is because I genuinely like you or like what you do/stand for.  I only have 58 “friends”.  I have chosen them very carefully. If I look at your wall, information, or photos, it is because I care enough about you to be interested.  I am not “stalking” you.  I am showing you that somehow you are important to me.

If I click the “like” button on your comment or your post, I really do like it. It means you have said something I agree with; something that has made me smile, laugh, think, brought me enjoyment, or I have just wanted to encourage you.

If I comment on something you have posted, it means that I agree with you; you made me smile, laugh, think, or I wanted to encourage you.

Generally, I see most of what comes up on my “news feed” because I have so few “friends” (as opposed to my daughter who has 550+). Many of my “friends” are family members who rarely post anything on Facebook. So if you post something, I am likely to see it–I didn’t go looking for it.

If you care enough to look at my wall, information, profile, or photos, I promise that I won’t think you are “stalking” me. I just might wonder as to why you don’t have a better way to spend your time though. I am actually quite boring when it comes right down to it.

If you “like” or comment on something I have posted, I really appreciate it. It means to me that somehow you cared enough to take some of your valuable time to let me know that you appreciated what I put on Facebook.

I have actually come to enjoy Facebook. I believe that what I post tells others about what is important to me and I believe that what others post, tells me the same about them. Facebook gives me another way to get to know and understand those people in my life that I care about; and for that I am grateful.

That is my story and I am sticking to it . . .

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
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