What I Learned From Week 1 of Facebook

I did it.

After 5 years and hundreds of questions from friends and colleagues about why I wasn’t on Facebook, I stopped resisting. I spent an entire weekend uploading photos, censoring my thoughts, ‘friending’ people I hadn’t seen in 30 years, informing my ‘inner circle’ aka the family of what I was doing, scrolling senselessly and reading posts. At one point on Sunday night two days into my journey I found myself sitting perched on the edge of my seat awaiting a comment or a Like.

Instant gratification comes in the form of Facebook.

My first goal was 100 friends. I made it in 2 days. Week 1 garnered me 135 friends. Good start, I guess.

If you want to get all the Grandmas of the world to come together, post a picture of your adorable grandson online. If you want to start a political rant, post a controversial ‘idea starter’ and then wait for everyone to go wild. If you want to put God on the map, simply write about him while the MU/KU national showdown game is on or immediately following the Super Bowl.

Since my inaugural post I’ve set up lunch with 2 friends I hadn’t seen in 2 years. I’ve stalked my kids sites and flipped through every picture they post (my son just informed me he’s thinking of taking his Facebook down since I’ve gotten on). I’ve instant messaged people and contemplated the new “Timeline” format, even though as a newbie, learning the new format wouldn’t be any big deal for me. I’ve posted mostly quotes from famous philosophers on my own wall which puzzles me. Am I hiding behind other people’s words instead of writing my own?

I’ve learned that certain people love themselves incessantly. They post a new profile picture on average of 2 times per week. I’ve learned that not much changes from high school…that the beautiful high school cheerleader now also has the most beautiful family on the planet. The guy who had a gold tooth now runs the local tow company and is as nice as apple pie (always was). The guy and girl voted most successful are still that…successful.

I’ve learned that weekends aren’t nearly as busy as the weekdays on Facebook. Facebook’s still in it’s infancy, officially less than a decade old and within months of it’s own Wall Street debut will make its founder ga-ga rich to the tune of around $24 billion the first day it starts trading stock. Facebook connects over 800,000,000 people at this moment in time.

I’m big on people and relationships. I know Facebook’s claim to fame is that it connects both…people and relationships. But here’s what I found from my first week on Facebook; while I like the photos, the questions (my first poll was Does God Care if I Wear Pantyhose to Church?), the camaraderie and the real-time info, Facebook hasn’t changed my life.

It’s enhanced my life, but it’s also sucked 20 hours out of last week. Perhaps those were piddle hours, hours when I would’ve been on my butt anyway watching “Revenge” with my hubby or “Mickey Mouse” with my grandson. I know this. I take total responsibility for the time I’ve invested in the 21st century’s technological idol.

Facebook is here to stay. It’s up to me to manage it instead of the other way around. And I believe that if you want to have real friends it still takes two things, t-i-m-e and e-f-f-o-r-t. It’s not as simple as hitting the buttons “Add Friend Now” or “Confirm Friend Now”. The real friends are the ones who will throw dirt in at the funeral.

How many of your Facebook friends will do that?


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