I love to network. If I am not careful, I can spend all day making connections, in one form or another. I’ve been diligent about keeping up with social networking – a blessing and a necessity. My LinkedIn account is purely for business networking, and my Facebook account (which I spend less time on) is for a little of both, but mostly for personal use. Lately, though, I feel a little Facebooked Out. It is partly my own fault. I accept invitations from old classmates, from long lost friends, from family members (estranged or otherwise), and everyone else I knew way back when.
Each time I log-in to my Facebook account, I get “friends requests” from people I cannot remember. I get request to “become a fan” of different groups; to take quizzes; to view results from quizzes my friends have taken; etc. etc. etc. After I’ve sifted through the dozen or so daily requests for action, I get to read what everyone is doing…at every moment of their day. And therein lies the central problem with Facebook, at least as it is currently used by most.
Facebook markets itself as “social networking,” which is true to an extent. But I often wonder: would my life somehow be less social if I didn’t know that high school friend “X” planted a garden yesterday or relative “Y” was annoyed because it was raining? Am I being a bad social networker because I don’t update my page with the intricate activities of my daily life? After all, the Golden Rule of Networking is that you have to give as much as you receive – an exchange of information and ideas from both parties. When it comes to Facebook, I am not giving nearly as much as I receive, that is for sure.
And then I wonder: Can I UN-accept friends that I’ve already accepted? Because I do have a short list of “friends” I would like to UN-invite from my Facebook page. If I do this, will they know? Will they be offended? Will they even care? Do they even know me? Will I be blacklisted on the Facebook social networking scene? Do I even care if I am?
I am being cynical, I know, but I really feel that Facebook is taking over our lives. Reading random, minute-by-minute, play-by-play daily happenings of high school friends I haven’t spoken to in 15 years isn’t my idea of effective networking. It’s kind of creepy, actually.
Maybe I am lame, but the time and energy I devote to extending my on-line social and professional networks – time away from my daughter and husband – is spent in ways that build true, meaningful connections. If I want to tell someone I spent all day watching back-to-back episodes of Law and Order, I’ll pick up the phone, so as to spare the rest of the world who could, quite frankly, care less.
P.S. I don’t have the time, or the desire to participate in any on-line surveys, so if you send me a “poll request,” you’re probably not going to get a response.