Facebook is both a connector and a divider for me. It’s one of the few social media sites where I can catch up with most of the people I hold dear. It’s also the place where I see some ugly underbellies. The truth always outs people, doesn’t it.
The good about Facebook usage
- I get to know the personal side of people I meet professionally. Now I know who the dog lovers are, who’s got a secret badass side, and who thinks deeply and lives passionately.
- I can keep in touch with cousins and other far-flung family members who I seldom see in the flesh.
- I get a feel for my tribe’s thoughts on top news topics and I often hear new perspectives and additional information.
- I get giggles from the silly memes my friends and family share.
The bad about Facebook usage
- People assume its contents are distributed reasonably. They are not. Because of Facebook’s algorithms, the average user only sees about 6.5% of the posts published by his/her Facebook friends. (Facebook is trying to drive people to pay for their posts to be more widely distributed. They also say it’s so we see only the most “relevant” contents. Whatever, Facebook. Let ME be the one who picks whose posts I want to see.) The result is that I don’t always see things posted online, and people get the impression I’m derelict in duties if I — for example — don’t attend a funeral they posted about, when in truth I didn’t see the news. The only workaround that I know of for this is to create a friends list with everyone on it and follow that list for new posts instead of just looking at my Facebook feed to see what’s being discussed. I *always* forget to to that, though.
- I see some hateful comments, ignorant views and unsuspected reservoirs of vitriol from people who seem perfectly nice on the surface.
- People post willy-nilly without doing even cursory accuracy checks. Then they get huffy if you give ’em a link to a Snopes.com article debunking their conspiracy theories or shrug you off by saying, “You know I never check anything.”
How I use Facebook today
- I check my Facebook page at least daily and usually more often than that. I try to go back in my Facebook feed for the previous 24 hours so I don’t miss much, and I keep my Facebook page set to show the “Most Recent,” not the “Top Stories” (as Facebook judges, anyway). I follow my favorite groups faithfully and scan the others that I also follow as time permits.
- I also have a Facebook pseudonym account so I can enjoy more private online conversations about topics like relationship issues, personal development, health issues and other things that every single person doesn’t need to understand about me.
- Facebook also helps me connect with my business contacts, who I see on my regular Facebook account under my real name but who are on the “Restricted” friends list so I can choose who sees my posts. For example, not everyone who works with me needs to be alienated by my political stances that I’m passionate about (such as pro LGBTQ rights, pro reproductive freedom, and anti-Trump), my potty mouth, and my my dark humor.
So tell me: How do YOU use Facebook?