I’ve Just Seen a Face…book

Ahhh Facebook! In response to my post yesterday in which I announced the creation of a Facebook page for The Ptero Card, Don, a fellow blogger over at A Candid Presence, said he’d love to hear my thoughts on Facebook, so, here goes…with one huge disclaimer:

At one time or another, with the exception of playing games, I have participated in every aspect of the Facebook experience – from mudslinging in the comments section to hit-and-run posting. Perhaps the captive audience that Facebook presents to each of us places us in unfamiliar territory and by communicating to everyone at once (all of our friends, each of whom we know in very different and particular ways), we lose the sense of tailoring our speech to any one particular person. And although I no longer regularly post on Facebook, every criticism noted here just as easily applies to myself as it might to others. I’ll end on a positive note by summing up what I see as a few of the potenial benefits that Facebook does provide.

I’m probably not alone in appreciating that Facebook, like a lot of internet technology, brings us ways to bridge geographic and chronological distances, while offering all of us an opportunity to create a public square of our own making. But knowing people on Facebook is very different then knowing them offline or through the blogosphere, which I see as spatially different.

On WordPress bloggers meet each other in the semi-private and personal places of their blogs. It’s more like visiting someone in their home. Bloggers find each other through common interest discovered online. That might be why people are, for the most part, a bit more respectful and kinder to each other here. I’d love to hear any thoughts my blogger friends might have on what makes the atmosphere here different from Facebook.

If WordPress resembles a visit to someone in their home, what kind of place does Facebook resemble?

File:Pointe-a-Calliere Public Market 2012 - 44.jpg
Courtesy of Wikicommons, Jeangagnon

Participating on Facebook feels as if I have walked outside my house, into the street that is now a public market.  But no matter how near or far, all of my “Friends,” along with their friends, are also in varying degrees, present there. What we find in this shared place is a trail of conversations, some already in progress, – check-ins, memes, games, and photos, all with their likes and comments trailing behind them. Spatially, except for private messaging, it is a public place and always looks just like Facebook wants it to look like; very impersonal and very collective, because Facebook does not allow customization of their pages the way that WordPress and other social media software do.

So we meet our Friends in a public market, only we’re not necessarily buying and selling, we’re sometimes there to let others know that we’re not there, via the Facebook check-in feature, or we’re there to participate in game apps or to let others know how we feel politically, or about social causes and issues. But instead of presenting an idea in our words, we borrow someone else’s meme.

Perhaps for some of us, it feels safer to post memes to our newsfeed because they carry the weight of collective opinion with them. I get it, but…should we at least drop the pretense that we want a world in which we think for ourselves? Memes are kind of like creativity condoms, they keep a certain amount of creativity from being born. But, do we really want the wellspring of human talent to be reduced to what can be said in 2 x 2 cartoon, one that usually ends up getting shared only because of its viral nature?

On Facebook there are no introductions between your friends and friends of friends, or other’s friends of friends. We all just show up at the market place wearing our name tags and doing as we do. We freely not only talk to strangers, but sometimes even argue with them.

Facebook offers a prompt to help us post – in case you’re not sure of what to post, but you want to post something. “What’s on your mind,” or “How are you feeling today,” are the auto-generated questions that show up in the posting box at the top of my news feed.

MR MAGOO READING COLOR CROP Every time I post to my newsfeed I wonder if there’s anything I really want to say to all 134 friends of mine at once. There are no visual clues as to who you’re talking to when posting to the newsfeed or who is even listening. It’s something akin to playing pin the tail on the donkey, you post and when someone likes your post or comments on it, you know you found the donkey. So the face-to-face contextual relationships that we experience offline are abandoned for something a little more impersonal. Scary for some, freeing for others.

On Facebook I am often surprised at how willing many people are to show sides of themselves that are not often seen offline. I’ve known many of my Facebook friends for a long time and had no idea what political or religious affiliations they have. It truly seems as if people use Facebook to say things they either couldn’t put into words, didn’t have the nerve to say to your face, or perhaps say things that are not aimed at anyone in particular because maybe no one ever asked, so now we have a place to unload all those things that we really do want to say to each other or at least to some cumulative sense of humanity that we think needs to hear us.

Okay, before you all unfriend me, here are the things I do like about Facebook:

Staying in touch with friends and family who live far away.

Getting reaquainted with old friends and family.

Seeing friends’ photos of places I’ve never seen and perhaps never will. Seeing photos of friend’s families and kids.

Knowing when people are having a difficult time and in need of some words of encouragement or prayers.

Being aware of creative activities that friends are involved in – from music performances, crafts, writing projects, graduations, community involvement or news of family and friends or the passing of a loved one. The creativity and generosity of my friends never ceases to amaze me. Like.

According to CNN, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the 2nd largest philanthropic donor in the US:


40 thoughts on “I’ve Just Seen a Face…book

  1. Deb, I joined FB a couple of months ago and believe me, I am using it like a blog. Haha. A blog is a way too different an experience where I have this distinct feeling that minds interact with minds, and that too with a certain amount attention and seriousness towards creativity and writings. FB is a boring to me but a lot of my friends who did not like to ‘read’ or even knew that I myself could write came to know this hidden aspect of mine. Seems like there is a kind of interaction there and I have kept it strictly intellectual which is working for me, but slightly I must say.

    Btw, just liked your page. If you see someone with the name Rekha, it is me 😀


    1. Thanks!
      That is great that you found a way to use FB that you’re comfortable with. I am slowly making my peace with the aspects of FB that are important to me.
      Most of my friends do not seem that interested in my writing, but I know they love me, as I do them, for the ways that we do interact, which is through music, or family or a childhood connection.


      1. Yes, Deb. Sorry to be so honest here but I find it a bit distressing the people do not like to read stuff on FB. They like to browse and check out. What does browsing and checking out get one towards the end anyway? I have added a few blogger friends and our interaction that way is good. Also, the friends of the bloggers have landed on my FB account and have become my friends because they resonate with what I do. So a few like-minded individuals are there. People who personally know me have told me that I must not shut down my FB page because apparently they love my quotes and pictures a lot. Haha. So this positive feedback is making me stay for now. But I still believe it waste time a lot.


  2. Great post Debra. I like the market/ home analogy, you certainly hit the nail on the head. I’ve yet to create a facebook profile but think the time may be due for a trip to the market. lol


  3. Nice post! I spent 2 months on FB and did find it fun especially connecting with long lost friends 🙂 But after a while felt it was a bit too fast for me. Couldn’t keep pace with comments. So I reluctantly opted out. 😦


    1. Hi Dilip!
      Good point about the pace. It can be a lot to keep up with. I log on a couple of times a week and spend about ten minutes there. Just enough to see if anyone’s messaged me, or if there’s anything interesting going on.
      Thanks for the note!


  4. Thanks Debra. I have always found blogging to be far more satisfying than FB. I’ve never really known why. That has just been the case and that’s why I found what you said about FB in your previous post rather intriguing. Thank you for your post. In it you have just crystallized for me why I have felt more at home with blogging. I must say that the concept of FB as an extension of my blog has got me thinking. I like the idea. Again Debra, thank you for a thought-provoking post and thank you also for the link in the post. Your blog is extremely challenging and always a joy to visit.


    1. Thank you Don, for your very kind words!
      I see fellow bloggers creating FB pages and figured it might be better in some ways to separate my personal fb page from my blog posts.
      I suppose like many others, I am happy to have found so many wonderful blog friends here on WP!


  5. Facebook is the reason I started blogging! The dive beneath the surface of living life was just not supported in that format so I closed my account and started writing here. I have gone back twice for very short bursts, but do not anticipate ever being a regular user again.

    I CLOSED facebook because:

    I temporarily reopened it because:

    Using facebook for what the “control system” 🙂 created it for is very destructive. Using it for and from a place of growth and love can help change the world. Which of these things happens to us and our “friends” is completely up to… US!

    Set a pure intent for you and your use and you are basically bullet proof either way (looked for the NEO dodging and catching bullets clip from MATRIX, but couldn’t find a neatly edited one.



    1. Thanks M! Likewise, I started blogging because I enjoy deeper engagement and a way to explore ideas with myself and others.
      I’m very grateful for having met some wonderful people here who don’t refer to me as being “too serious.” 🙂
      But, I do have some close friends and family on FB, and am grateful that we have a FB as one more way to stay engaged.


  6. The primary concern for me is the privacy issues FB has. We are apparently living in a surveillance state. Before Snowden’s revelations came to light, others like William Binney, Thomas Drake, and Jacob Appelbaum were trying to alert us to the depths that the NSA and others were undergoing to gather as much information about the population as a whole. One person in the anti-surveillance camp calls Facebook Stasi-Book after the East German secret police who allegedly spied on most of its population before the Berlin wall came down. FB is apparently an easy and available map for those who want to monitor our on-line activities and immediately determine our network of connections. If I can make it harder for them to poke around in my business by not being on FB, (perhaps naively so) then that is an easy sacrifice I am willing to make.


  7. I love this post Debra… and so true, it feels like home here and people visiting each other.. I love being with all my sacred friends here… I use Facebook myself to keep in touch with my big family all over the world and local friends to see what it going on, birthdays parties etc…. photos too… Barbara


  8. Just liked you on fb! Yes, a blog site is like your own little cozy home. Facebook is more like you’re at an open-air event where you can get in little comments, queries and questions in a hit-and-run, dinner party sorta way. I like having people into my home, because there I show who I really am and, hopefully, my guests open up about who they really are, too. Peace, Ik


    1. Thank you Ik! I appreciate the FB like. Almost to 30, which I guess is the magic number to be publicly available.
      Yes, it does seem easier to get to know people here. FB is like having a conversation in an elevator, lol!
      Thanks for stopping by. Miss your regular posts, but am totally supportive of your list of priorities!


  9. I energetically feel drained as opposed to fed when I have read much of the posts and conversations on FB. Yet, there are a few souls with whom no connection would have been possible had we not found each other there, again, after separation. And the wonderful pictures and videos I would have never seen are large in number had I closed my account. I find I need discipline to not peruse the feed; it is hard to take the bad with the good at times. WordPress is whole foods, FB, junk best in moderation 🙂
    I love the accessible and personal flow balancing with a thoroughness in your writing, Debra!


    1. Thank you Marga!
      You express it so concisely. I would never want to abandon the connectiosn on FB that I have, but the engagement here on WP is definitely whole foods 🙂


  10. Debra, I love your analogy! Not being a Facebook person I can’t speak to that end but I do so appreciate what you say about the blog world being as if you’re inviting friends in for a visit. Maybe that is why I enjoy the blogging as I do as it seems a bit more intimate and personal.
    I’m simply old school that’s all 🙂
    Thank you for your shared wisdom 🙂


  11. Wow, we have these relationships we think are so important, yet we think that by using this limited communication device, that we can have the intimacy we need without making the effort we need to to have it.
    Facebook desensitizes us to the emotional needs we have and allows us to accept psuedo intimate communication as the real thing. That is my only problem with it.
    Skype to me is better as it allows real time.


    1. I like skype too! I think anything that is one on one allows us the time and place to open up to one another.
      I think too that letter writing, as in using snail mail, is a dying art that allowed the passing of time to drive the conversation.
      Yes, beware of what might pass as intimate connections. The things that are lasting take time to gather.


  12. Not a fan of fb, I am afraid. I just wanted to have my blog page there. I actually have two fb accounts, one with my real name for everybody, the other as an accompanying page for my blog. This is connected with not wanting some people to know about my blog. Anyway, most things I see on fb these days are so predictable. I am not inspired or inspiring on fb, I am afraid. But the chat function is my favourite.


    1. Yes, I agree with what you say Monika. There seems to be a dissonance between FB, what I feel drawn to do on my blog and yet, not wanting to distance myself from friends and family who don’t share my need to write and engage with others here on WP.
      I do like the chat feature too, but since my dear childhood friend Regina passed on, I feel nothing but her absence on FB. Maybe that is why I find myself uncomfortable there?
      PS, had a lovely dream last night in which you, Linda and I, traveling in a car together, were driving to an old house that each of us had reason to visit. In the old house, I was shown a writing desk, where letters and writing paper were piled high, but I did not know whose papers or house they belonged to.


      1. This may seem a bit strange, but then again…. I remembered a dream last night that stayed with me, featuring my former supervisor Regina. It bothered me for a while and have not dreamt of her recently. While watching TV tonight
        the name Regina was mentioned and I started mulling over the dream again. Now reading this comment in which you dreamt of me and Monika, I am wondering if perhaps I was dreaming of your Regina and not mine ….

        I was also recently thinking about how many bloggers have mentioned dreaming about me! I have also dreamt about a few blogger friends. I do not have any conclusions but felt the strong need to respond here! ( I did say I would be reading all the comments 🙂 )

        very sorry about the loss of your dear friend,


      2. Wow…I know there isn’t anything concrete or clear to make of it, but somehow there is something there, something that we share and maybe it’s still in the future and Regina, my friend and your supervisor are a bridge that we, or I have yet to cross.
        In the dream, you were driving and I could not see your face. Monika was also in the front seat of the car and she looked nothing like the picture on her blog, but I knew (in the dream anyway) that she had a regal presence.
        I was seated in the back, enthralled by both of you.
        I’ll admit that I am late and awkward in understanding and feeling comfortable with my female nature, so maybe it is just more much needed psychic distillation of the feminine that I am experiencing, partly from Regina’s absence and partly from meeting you, Monika, Sindy and other women here on WP.
        Thanks for moving the conversation on Linda!


      3. I think last night’s dreams are beginning to show a theme. I think I am revisiting the relationship between masculine and feminine modes.
        I had a very big and powerful dream last night. In the dream I was looking at a bridge that crossed a large body of water when a very large man, twice the size of a human man, came out of the water and started to tear a piece of the bridge off. Then I woke up.
        Went back to sleep and had another dream with a similar large male figure. This time we were together outside at some sort of event. My former husband was there and the very large man grabbed him and sliced the back of his shoulder and peeled back his skin. I watched and did not feel afraid, nor was I me. I was an adolescent male. The very large man then took me under his wing and gave me drugs. We were traveling together but the drugs made feel strange and I woke up.
        The last dream that I remember, I am getting off a plane with a female friend (I me now), and I have three things to carry, but can’t grab them all at once. I walk some distance from the boarding tunnel to put down the large knapsack that I carried on. I go back to get a guitar that I had carried on and my female friend starts yelling at me to hurry or they won’t let me back on to get the guitar. Sure enough, airline attendants (all female), are telling me I cannot go back to get the guitar. I am reduced to tears and want to tell her how much it means to me to get the guitar. I can’t speak, my voice is gone, but suddenly, I can speak and the attendant brings me the guitar.
        I open the case and start telling he about the instrument. It is a 1927 Martin Parlor guitar that my aunt gave me and is an actual guitar that I own, but it needs some repair. In the dream, the guitar is beautiful, all restored with new strings. I pick it up and begin to play it for her. I wake up.
        I probably should start dream journaling again. It has been years since I have had this kind of very powerful dream sequences.
        Any thoughts Monika?


      4. I am not sure but there indeed seems to be a transition from a negative, threatening masculine to the delicate, artistic feminine. Welcome, oh goddess. Are the three of us in the car like the three graces?


  13. This was very well thought out and I appreciate hearing all your thoughts. I rarely post on Facebook, mostly chat or message people privately, share tons of artwork, look at pictures, play games from time to time. Some of my friends are family, coworkers, acquaintances and old friends. A few are people I never met, but they are a minority. Being so scorpion, i am more an observer at FB than participant, But on my new FB page, the real me is alive and kickin’ It is an extension of my blog, my baby.

    I am grateful that people found me at FB and I found folks I would never see again otherwise. But the strength of my connections there vary enormously.

    It is different here! I get to hide a little behind a blog name and be my truest creative self. And those who visit me here have to make an effort to see me, not the masses at FB. Here i share my heart and soul and seek out others who do the same. Some of the most wonderful people in my life are here. I may never meet you in person but it doesn’t matter. Hard to really express verbally, but the word sacred will suffice for now.

    looking forward to reading all the comments!

    peace, litebeing 🙂


    1. I am so touched by your thoughtful reply Linda. We do share heart and soul here, don’t we?
      Maybe some people don’t have that need, or not yet anyway, but for those of us who do, it is validating to find others who do.
      I read your reply to my husband who said to me, “Wow, that is so much more than a like on FB.” 🙂


      1. thank you Deb. It is very cool that you shared my comment with your husband. I am not anti-FaceBook, but there is simply no comparison, Still, happy that some of my FB friends read my blog and some of my blogger buddies have become FB friends 🙂


      2. Yes, I love the idea of mixing it up and hope that my new FB page allows for that.
        My husband helps me to understand why it is difficult for some people to engage on WP in the way that I do, and need to. He doesn’t have the inclination to write like I do, and does not enjoy reading the same genre of books as me, although he is a smart guy and has his own path to follow .
        There are different ways of perceiving and using language and I do respect that.


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