In Your Face(book)!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Uh-oh. What have I gotten myself into? I just joined Facebook and after one week I have an ominous feeling of doom in my gut.

I've had this sensation of impending self-inflicted destruction before. It is the same feeling that I had when I bought a pet tarantula in high school and then had to feed it hairless baby mice. I think the spider's name was Izzy. I wonder what ever happened to good ol' Izzy? Another time was when I bought a used Kia Sephia and arrived home from the dealership only to find several recall noticed already waiting in my mailbox. In both instances I knew right away I had made a mistake.

In retrospect, I wish I would have immediately taken Izzy back to Petsmart instead of keeping him in my windowsill where he just stared at me year after year devouring "pinkies" and plotting ways to escape from his aquarium and bite into my jugular. Similarly, I should have taken the Kia back under the Lemon Law and purchased something more reliable. Like a Honda. Or a blind, infirm, three-legged mule.

I am afraid that I have made a similar mistake by venturing into world of Facebook.

Quite simply, I could waste my entire evening trolling through Facebook profiles of my old high school and college friends that I have managed to reconnect with. Rediscovering my friends has been wonderful since I am a notoriously poor keep-in-toucher. Despite having vowed to keep in touch with about four thousand people whom I have met in previous wards, high school, college, work and my mission, I have only remained in contact with two of them. That's right - two. My friend retention rate rivals that of Ben from Lost. The time commitment required to being a good Facebooker is more than I had bargained for and I am wondering if I should jump off this train before it gets too far.

Also, my sister recently canceled her Facebook account because of a few nasty political conversations where flying around and there was little she could do to stop it. The lack of control over what gets posted also has me nervous. For all I know somebody could post something terrible on my page without my consent. Like swearword acronyms. Or pro-global warming sentiments. Gasp!

But Facebook is not all bad. In addition to the whole "How in the heck are you doing?" emails, I really enjoy looking at the photos of people I have not seen since 1993 to see who has gained weight, lost hair, or went from "geek to chic" (and then debating what percentage of that transformation was natural versus paid for on an installment plan.) Yes, I'm shallow that way.

While it has been wonderful to trade some emails with long lost friends, I just don't know if I have the time to keep up with everybody now. It was hard enough to keep in touch with two people to begin with. Between work, family, church, sleeping, blogging, fantasy sports, Madden, and TV, I think being a good Facebooker will eventually wear me out. I mean, where am I going to find the time to be Facebook friends with 47 more people?

Since many of you are probably already experienced Facebookers, please give me some advice on what I should do. Do I go for it, or get out before I let 47 people down? If you are too lazy to comment, you can vote as well.

Wait, now it's 48 friends!

Izzy the Tarantula found me! We are Facebook buddies now! You can be his friend as well. Just search for "Izzy Tarantula" on Facebook to see what my old pal is up to.

Just don't be surprised when I fail to reply to his email.

(Updated 11/20)

Amx - My tarantula's name was BUTCHER!!!! Of course! Thank you so much for reminding me about that. How could I have ever forgot the name of the spider who wanted to kill me? Thanks for jogging my memory. And, yes, are you an incredibly awesome sister for taking care of that hideous beast when I took off for my mission. I won't mention whether he was dead or alive when I got home (ahem, ahem), but you were a champ for doing that for me.

Butcher (aka Izzy) Facebook Update - Butcher now has 5 Facebook friends. Thank you to the adventerous people who have decided to take a neglected, ugly spider into their circle of friends. Butcher even has a complete Bio and some photos uploaded. He's still taking friend requests, if anybody else is interested (and hopelessely, depressingly lonely.)


Graham P.B. said...

The best way to get rid of your Facebook problem is to squash the tarantula right now. And delete the bloody Facebook before you develop something like a pitifully emotional connection to it. It's the ultimate time waster!!!

10:17 PM
Amy Btw M said...

I think Facebook is so lame, and yet I cannot turn away from it. Really it is only good for catching up with old acquaintances. To be perfectly honest, most of the "so called" friends I have on Facebook I didn't know that well to begin with.

I think you should pull the plug before you get too involved.

10:53 PM
Charlotte said...

This video about facebook is hilarious:

I found that the infatuation stage with Facebook is short-lived... should wear off soon.

3:24 AM
Real said...

I agree with Charlotte. When you first join, there are lots of people all wanting to catch up. But after a couple of weeks that fades and everyone is content with just reading your little status update whenever they log in. No further contact required.

5:54 AM

Believe me, after the initial crush of friends, you won't be so overwhelmed with talking to people. But it is handy to have when you do want to talk, or just keep up with what's happening with other people. And it really is a convenient way to keep in touch.

6:35 AM
Olivia said...

I'm mostly just on facebook for the flair.

6:52 AM
Col.Smeag said...

I haven't started a facebook page yet however I will recommend to everyone of have a "Junk" email account. Use it to sign up for all those online goodies and stuff. That way only the people that you really want to get emails from have your true email account. Also as you know never open attachments from the unknown. As far as keeping up with the "wildcats" (There's a future post for you High School Musical the 25 year Reunion) I too am some what of a lost soul to the Alumni, having moved my Senior year didn't help much either. So I feel your pain.

7:11 AM
mama cow said...

Its not too bad most of the people accept your friendship request and then never talk to you again....just like in High School. Oh wait I forgot people liked you in High School. Get out now while you still can! Just dont get caught in the rut of updating your status every five minutes! Soooo annoying.

7:20 AM
tkangaroo said...

I agree with Rob & Crew. Keep it, but only check it once a week or every other week (personal experience). It is great for grabbing emails of friends you want to contact (hey, favors are great!), finding out what happened to someone, and wishing a bunch of people Merry Christmas without having to send out a million Christmas cards--which you probably don't do, but I am sure your wife does. It can also bring more people to your blog (ad dollars--yeah!); You can delete anything untoward; and the people who want to facebook/google stalk you will find you no matter what, so you may as well give them your version of the story (pesky public records--just kidding, sort of). It isn't all bad. The Kia looks much worse.

7:21 AM
Bryce said...

For your peace of mind, let me assure you that you can delete anything (or block anyone) that you find offensive that gets posted on your page. Even if the banner ads are offensive, you can block them. It's safer than you'd think.

7:22 AM
Sandy said...

Yeah...I signed up for facebook not too long ago, too and have had most of the problems you've mentioned. One great bonus is the little chat feature in the bottom right hand corner (stinks if there is someone you don't want to talk to, though...). I have been able to catch my little college-age sister online on facebook with the chat several times when she won't answer her phone:)

As for you being a bad keeper-in-toucher, I figure its more fun and easier to keep in touch with your wife anyway:)

7:27 AM
Merry said...

I mostly use facebook to coordinate events with my current friends, although I occasionally talk to my old friends through it. You can be "friends" with someone on facebook and still only talk to them once or twice a year.

On the other hand, I've stopped using facebook as much as I used to. I'm getting more into blogging, so the year that I've spent as a real facebook lover is now coming to an end.

8:21 AM
WhiteEyebrows said...

The trick is to use it to keep up with your REAL friends, not just people that you met once and who added you on a whim.

The truth is, once you get going and settle down into a rhythm, it doesn't take so long... check it once a day for 20 min is usually enough.

8:28 AM
wonder woman said...

I rarely get on facebook since I started blogging, but it's fun to see the pics. I just let people find me and do a quick catch-up that way. If you're not careful, you'll get sucked in for 5 hours at a time. So consider yourself warned.

9:00 AM
elesa said...

Don't worry. After a while you will realize you have found out everything there is to find out about your 47 old friends, and can go back to just keeping in touch with 2. And as my mom always told, 2 friends is more than enough.

9:06 AM
Christa Jeanne said...

Facebook is pretty addictive for me, but that's a) because I have a job that involves sitting at a computer all day, b) pretty much all of my friends are active Facebookers, so there's always fun stuff going on all day, and c) there is something so guilty-pleasureish about being an approved voyeur. I mean, you can't look into someone's Facebook world unless they approve you, and yet, it still is so stalkerish and voyeuristic.

Of course, if I were married and had a family, Facebook would take a backseat to real responsibilities. But I'm not, so I can let the laundry pile up while I waste my life on FB because, after all, it's only me that's affected.

9:07 AM
Ang said...

I'm trying to white knuckle it for a while and not reactivate my facebook account. Get through the holidays and whatnot.

I do think that it's manageable, and I also know a few more tricks now that would prevent other people from posting on my wall. Honestly, I was spending more time playing WordTwist (SOOOO addictive) . . . and add that to my other online activities, something had to give. So I'm taking a breather. I think you can hack it :-).

11:41 AM
Cpt Naykid said...

run away as fast as you can! I know people who live on don't want to turn into them!

You can do a whole bunch of useless things on facebook (become a knight, dragon, werewolf, vampire, sent "pokes" and "superpokes", etc. --they sound cool but you really do is designed for those lame teenagers...)

In the grand scheme of things...a time waster. I get on about 4 times a year to see if anyone worthwhile contacted me...just checked....nope.

Not worthwhile...

2:15 PM
Natalie said...

Be warned...facebook is addicting.

3:17 PM
Candi said...

Stay listed, but don't bother posting pictures and all that - you already have a blog if people want to see what you're up to - and if someone wants to contact you, you'll receive an email from Facebook. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ADDING APPLICATIONS AND PLAYING TIME-CONSUMING GAMES.
There. That's my advice.

4:42 PM
carmar76 said...

Facebook is addicting, but fun, too. Absolutely I would steer clear of all the "entrapments" like games & apps. For the most part they're just kitchy time wasters. But looking at the photos & at least keeping the "hello's" up w/ good friends - and ppl you didn't know where good friends - can be a blessing.

That's my Op, anyway! : )

5:52 PM
cutekittypunk said...

Don't get rid of it... facebook is not lame... some people out there that know you might really want to get in touch with you - and then you may only say hi to them or visit their profiles once a year - but that's what it's there for...

i use it almost everyday - but most of my friends do not... so it's not a time waster for me - i get on, do what i want to do - then I get off... it can be a time waster - but i have a feeling you are more powerful that facebook!

12:14 PM
Amx said...

Izzy?!! Izzy?!!! As I recall, the tarantula was named Butcher. I feel quite confident about that because I cared for him and yes, "played" with him while you were on your mission. How many other little sisters would do that for their brother? I did not enjoy feeding him the pinkies either because I had a pet rat at the time and it just didn't seem right. So I probably led to his demise. Sorry Butcher, or Izzy.

I had a facebook account for a few months, but also got rid of it. It was a bit interesting at first, but too time consuming. Keep us updated on how it goes for you.

2:27 PM
Andrea said...

I get on once or twice a week (sometimes not even that much). Usually I just ignore a bunch of silly requests or invitations, but sometimes I do find new friends (well, old, new friends). That part is fun. And, if someone wants to contact me, I can an email notification, so I don't have to spend a bunch of time on there.

2:29 PM
Melinda said...

I don't do Facebook, but I wanted to know if you're going to go see Twilight and then review it.

7:40 PM
Jamie said...

I have friends that spend hours on it, but I'm too lazy to even upload pictures. I check my notifications, read everyone's updates, and that's it. I don't add anyone I wouldn't want to call. I also found this link about Twilight and was surprised, given your Plucky installment, that you hadn't thought of it:

4:54 AM
cac642000 said...

Why would you get rid of facebook? You already have increased traffic to your blog. It's like all other new inventions, they have greater potential for good, and bad.

8:20 AM
Nelson said...

I would strongly suggest you get rid of it, because of the time that can be wasted. In school I'm sure you talked about opportunity costs, in other words what you are giving up by doing it. One person said 20 minutes a day. I can think of a lot of things I can do in that time. My kids are always asking me to play with them and sure an extra 20 a day still wouldn't be enough for them, but it would still be great. Have you ever told your kids you are too busy to play? We this is just one more thing to keep you busy.

I look at it like, if the people were good enough friends to keep in touch with then you would have kept in touch. Its like going back and reading your yearbook; sure it is a self esteem booster for a couple of minutes to remember how many "friends" you had, but really most of them weren't your real friends.

If you still can't decide, go read Elder Oaks talk Good, Better, Best from October of last year and that might help. Just my humble opinion.

9:40 AM
BigDaddy said...

When I think of Facebook, a slogan comes to mind....JUST SAY NO! lol :)
~Micah aka. BigDaddy

12:56 PM
utmommy23 said...

Hmmm. Search didn't find an Izzy Tarantula but suggested two more "Izzys".
I have a facebook account but I don't go on it often and like Andrea said you can 'ignore the silly requests'. I look through them quickly and if there's anything I'm interested in I do them and then click on ignore all for the rest.

7:12 AM
Shelley said...

since when did "old man sweat" pass me in coolness? uh oh! i do not have a facebook account, and don't plan on it. i made fun of andrea when she told me she opened one. looks like i have to make fun of you too. is this a last-ditch attempt to not feel 55? i have a better idea - stop listening to NPR and other talk radio. that will put you down to at least 42 in the age spectrum. then maybe the nmw can convince you to have one more kid! :)

6:50 PM