“There’s Friends and Then There’s Facebook Friends” or “Excuse Me, But Your Slip is Showing”

Facebook is a strange world.
It is a false world – not reality.
We agree, right?

When I got on board FB years ago, it was mainly to connect with high school and college friends. Then I started “friending” people I knew like family members and acquaintances. Next, I added friends from my special interest groups. Then, my last surge has been my effort to “friend” anyone who would want to know about our efforts and events in storytelling. I have a pretty big list of “friends” now.

What are the results of all that?

  1. Voila! My classmates of long ago appeared before my eyes. Many of them – we connected and then moved on without much more interaction. Makes sense because we have all grown in many different directions. It was still nice to have someone say, “I remember you.”
  2. Now, about family. I, of course, friended family – close and distant. That resulted in two things:
    • One, the family didn’t feel the need to call me directly anymore. Why would they need to call me and connect directly when they could get basic updates on FB?
    • Two, if they disagreed with me, they would eagerly rebuke me with the same familial attitudes of “they knew more about that than I.” After all, they “were/are smarter or older or the all-knowing, reliable repository of all things family.”
  3. Then I started using FB as a means to connect with folks about our storytelling activities. I purposefully focused on “friending” local folks because they are my community and neighbors. Also, I “friended” many others from farther away who I felt could help us get the word out.

The folks in our town and county, well, that has been a blessing. Being new to town, it has given me a way to know my community-members better, how they are invested in the community, and how I can better participate in this community-family we now call ours. We all get along well here. Madison County is filled with kind and good people of many political, moral, and religious views. Yet, we get along.

  1. Then those special interest groups. For example, I stumbled into a world of professional/practicing storytellers. These folks, like myself, love the art and tradition of storytelling. We do have that in common. It has been my honor and joy to meet these folks, truly. Some of them have become precious friends to me. A whole new world indeed.

Among all those groups there are “friends” who are living in worlds that are very different world than mine. Other than our special interest or our history or our blood kinship, we really have little in common. What puzzles me is that many of them, I never hear from. We don’t ever “speak.” Never or very rarely do they invest in my real life or my FB existence with a “like” or a note or a comment or even smiley face.

However, if I dare to post anything that crosses their political, personal, or moral agenda, they quickly appear on my feed and stake their claim on that ground (my page) proclaiming their all-knowing correctness and my error.

Me? Well, I’m over here thinking, “Oh, hi! I didn’t know you were here. I’m fine, how about you?”

Is it just me, or do you too consider that to be rude?

Let me ask you. If you walked by a person whom you know or perhaps really don’t know all that well, and he or she were having a conversation with someone or just talking to themselves, would you jump in and give them your thoughts or correct them? Is it your place to do so?

Back in the day when women wore slips (look it up), it was a constant battle to keep the slip just shorter than the skirt or dress that was over it. If a woman saw another woman whose slip was showing, she didn’t stand on a city bench and proclaim to the world that her slip was out of its boundary. Nope, she would slide up next to her and whisper it to her. Every woman was grateful that she was made aware of the slippage. Never would she have appreciated that observer’s talking about her issue with a loud voice so others would hear.

Well, I’m not sure that the analogy is all that precise or fitting, but darn it, if you think my slip is showing, or that I have posted something on FB that is not accurate, why not tell me privately. Then I can go fix it if need be.

As I write this, I’m thinking it through, and I guess it isn’t so complicated. A friend wouldn’t act rudely toward you. If they did disagree with you, they wouldn’t embarrass you with an argument in public.

So, I know what I can do, just stop calling these people my friends. Maybe I will just go change some statuses.

Have a good day, my friends.

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