And Hell Froze Over: The Day I Joined Facebook

I jump onto most popular bandwagons late, and Facebook is no exception. But unlike the others, to which I wasn’t opposed, just disinterested until I was interested, I was flat-out opposed to Facebook. “I keep in touch with my ‘real’ friends. I don’t want to read what someone ate for breakfast, be annoyed by political rants, hear every day that someone loves her kids or husband…” my list was endless when someone would encourage me to join Facebook. “No one wants to read what ate for breakfast, listen to my political rants, or hear love Matt” was my next argument when the pressure would continue. When we moved to Peru almost a year ago, the pressure increased. But I was steadfast and I counteracted the arguments with this blog: everyone could keep up with my new life by reading my blog. And I could keep up with everyone else’s life via emails.

But that isn’t how it worked out. I learned that many people, even close friends and family (you know who you are), don’t answer my emails. Oh, I know that I have a lot of time on my hands these days compared to just about everyone else, but when those same folks are posting all over Facebook, but not responding to me, clearly time isn’t the issue. “Send a Facebook message,” Matt would tell me, generously offering his account for my amusement. And sometimes I would. And get an immediate response. This pattern deepened my Facebook boycott: if one has time to acknowledge me via one medium, why not another? Especially when both of the media are essentially the same.

Then there was the hypocrite factor. On more than one occasion, I asked Matt to friend one of my friends so that I could see her family photos and keep up with her life. As time passed and I missed family and friends more, I spent more time (usually late at night after Matt was in bed) cruising his Facebook account, seeing what I was missing and keeping up on friends and families’ lives. Sometimes I even commented or “liked” something.

So today I took the impulsive plunge and joined Facebook. And immediately panicked. For the uninitiated, or those who joined so long ago that you forgot, the minute you sign up for your account, Facebook has you send out friend requests before it even walks you through the profile page. I knew enough to not expose my entire contact list to friend requests, but within literally seconds of sending out the first, targeted batch of requests I received several acceptances and messages. Panicked, I called my brother, “I just joined Facebook, what do I do?” Tommy laughed, “I know. I just sent you a message.” “That’s my problem; I don’t know how to get my messages or set up my profile and I have about 20 “friends” already.” I realized I was ducking out of view of my laptop’s camera as if these “friends” could all see me. “Fourteen, not 20.” Oh. How did he know that? He walked me through the process and gave me some tips that I will likely understand at some point.

While I joined Facebook, that doesn’t mean I have fully embraced it. I still fear getting friend requests from people I would rather forget or ignore, getting sucked into endless hours of reading drivel, and not liking people I used to like once I find out their political or religious opinions. But I hope the tradeoff of seeing all those great pictures and actually getting responses from some of my friends makes it all worth it.

14 thoughts on “And Hell Froze Over: The Day I Joined Facebook

  1. Hey Kerry! Sorry I may be one of those non- responders, but now that school is over, I will keep you updated. Going to Sicily July 6th! I will fill you in on fam drama when I get back, and even though I live in WI, this hell hasn’t frozen over yet because I don’t have Facebook!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. I can really relate to this post, Kerry! While I’ve been on FB a while, I generally hate it (and it tends to make me feel really bad about my perfectly fine life). I never post a status, but I do tend to comment on others’ posts every now and then. A piece of advice: when someone you’d rather ignore sends you a friend request, don’t decline it, just ignore it. That way, they can’t send you a subsequent request! ;-)

  3. I completely understand your reservations about joining Facebook. Once you’re out there, you can’t go back. You’ll find a way to use it that works for you… I’ve struggled with the changing ways that friends communicate too – most are on Facebook, some text, though fewer and fewer emails. I also assume more family / friends read my blog, which is MUCH better than a measly Facebook status update (though you CAN publish your blog posts to Facebook too), but it’s not always the case.

    Good luck getting acclimated!

  4. Kerry I’ll still read your blog and you will figure out how to block things on Facebook. :). Can’t wait to see you this summer!

  5. I will still try and send emails.I just cannot type as fast as I can talk! I agree on the letter writing, it is still an art and not the same as email.

  6. Hi Kerry, an interesting and thought-provoking blog, as usual. A good friend of mine recently made a rare statement on FB, explaining that he preferred not to hit the “Like” button on FB posts, but he did read all the thoughts and messages from friends. He had decided there was too much dubious activity around “Liking” things (Google “like farming” for more detail). So, although it appeared that he was inactive, he was keeping in touch.

    By the way, we might be around Trujillo and Lima in the latter half of July. I know it’s not far from you and Matt, but I am reluctant to travel to altitude, (because of my eye problems. I’m probably paranoid, but hey ho.). I’ll email you our itinerary when its set, and hope we can catch up. Otherwise, I’ll enjoy reading your blog, Cheers, Peter

  7. Turncoat! BTW, I had a piece of homemade German chocolate cake for breakfast today — and it was delicious if I do say so myself! Ha!

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