As I've said before, Facebook is pretty much taking over the world. I convinced I'm relieved the younger generations seem to be taking it over to Tumblr, just because at least it's different, you know? All the same, I stalk my Facebook page all the time, although I try never to include pointless status updates because no one needs to know when I change my socks or let the dogs out. I talk to a lot of people on there – but I don't discuss anything with them. In fact, I don't think you should ever communicate over Facebook in a really in depth way, and here are the reasons why.
Communication is all about context. Talking on Facebook should be kept light and fluffy for the most part, because it's like any other internet based medium. You say something, and because it's all just black and white text, the person you're talking to can misinterpret it. You might be tired or simply lackadaisical, while he or she might mistake that for indifference or sarcasm – and then the crap storm ignites.
Similarly, it is so easy to misinterpret tone over a text based medium like Facebook. I've got this “friend,” for example, who always posts poor-pity-me, miserable status updates. I don't know what he thinks he's telegraphing, but I know that most of his other friends consider him a drama queen who's always seeking out the wrong kind of attention.
It's like some people on Facebook don't realize you can send private messages. Instead, they air their dirty laundry right out in the open – and then, when the people they're trying to call out, snark or snipe at, or goad into something don't respond, they write yet more posts trying to gain attention. One of my friends routinely calls out members of her family, then throws fits when they don't respond. It's entertaining from my end of things, but I'm sure it's mortifying for the people involved.
To that end, there's just not enough privacy on Facebook to engage in really important kinds of communication. Even if you use the private messaging option, there's always the chance that a., you might be signed into someone else's computer and forget to sign out, or b., someone can see things on your computer because you don't sign out.
When you air your communications publicly, you inevitably get people inserting their opinions. They may well be unwarranted, but when you make things public, you're kind of asking for it. I'm talking about myself as well, because on those occasions when I do actually post something serious, it ultimately happens to me. The same person always tries to nose in, and I always get frustrated, and it's always my own fault.
All these misunderstandings and issues can lead to online fights. I hate Facebook fights. I've only ever been involved in one, albeit unwittingly, but I didn't actually respond to it, so it went away. Still, I see it happen to people on my friend's list all the time. Everyone involved starts snarking at each other – and you know that affects their offline lives as well.
Perhaps most importantly, trying to communicate about really important things on Facebook is just impersonal. It's okay for your friends to see that your status suddenly shifts from single to engaged or something, but your family members shouldn't be made aware of things like that. And you don't need to let your aunt or your friend's boyfriends know you've got beef via a status update; talk to them in person.
I have to say, though, when I'm not involved in them, Facebook fights are really funny. I can't help it, I know that's wrong of me. What do you think about communicating on social networking sites?
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