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Broken toe, also broken Facebook

As if the world wasn't painful enough (cf: mine disasters, earthquakes, and the constant coverage of a particular pro golfer on national news), I smashed my left foot into my dresser in the bedroom last night. I'm still wincing at the remembered sound, not just the "thunk" but the little "crickle" that happened a millisecond before the "thunk." The bruising did not become apparent till this morning (well, probably sometime overnight, but it was dark and I was sleeping), which I was afraid was what would happen, since I take it as a sign that it really was as bad as it felt. From what I've heard, there's really nothing one can do medically for a broken toe as far as splinting or a cast, just take pain relievers and don't hit it again. If anyone would like a dresser, make me an offer. It came though the ordeal unscathed.

* * * * *

I don't know about Facebook. At the risk of revealing things that I'd rather not reveal, the burdens of social media are beginning to weigh on me. I'm learning too much about people as they happily proclaim they're glad they bought a gun (presumably because they fear for their "liberty"), or defensively proclaim they are a member or fan of every right-wing or Christian fundamentalist cause out there, or coo over every cute thing their offspring does — though I would forgive the latter, even though they'll run out of superlatives by the time their cute offspring gets accepted to university or married. I can easily see talking about the kids, I mean, a lot of people can relate because they also have kids and kids often make us happy. But the socio-political stuff, I mean, weren't there three topics that one did not discuss in polite company, religion, politics, and sex (or money)? Was that COMPLETELY superseded? When was the memo rescinding that sent?

That doesn't even cover the status updates that are basically inside jokes, gettable only by people who've seen that movie or watched that TV show. I've watched maybe six movies released in the last decade, so if you're not saying "I wish I knew how to quit you!"* or "You shall not pass!"** I will not get your movie quote. But these things are unattributed, so I can't tell they're from movies, and several times I just thought the poster was being surreal and decided to play along — I like the slightly surreal, so why not? Only to find out that I was completely clueless all along. Gah.

Facebook is making my social anxiety worse. We won't even go into the friends requests that I can't dispose of because on the other end is a real person, even though it's a real person I don't know well or at all. No wonder I end up retreating into marathon image searches on Flickr or, gods help me, Tumblr.

I'm beginning to contemplate a life without Facebook. Is that even allowed anymore?

On the other hand, maybe it's just my toe that's making me cranky. But I don't think so.

*Brokeback Mountain (2005).
**The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
Y'know, in case you're as clueless as I am as far as movies go and just saw a different half-dozen from what I saw.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 8th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Politics is something that ought to be discussed, at least for those in countries that purportedly are democracies (defined as loosely as necessary). Otherwise, how would a society resolve anything? But even in the best of conditions, setting aside a space for politics is a wise thing. I hardly ever go to Facebook to discover what people think about health care reform or bailing out Greece's economy. But when I do want to know that, I go to specific places such as your other LJ.

What's worse is, we hardly have the best of conditions here. Instead we have people broadcasting sound bites, usually not even their own but some bloviator's idea of a good sound bite. You can't have a discussion if the other person just wants to use a megaphone. I sincerely hope it's better in Europe; the American method of political "discourse" is an import that should be blocked at the border, to be honest.
Apr. 8th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
You're friends are a better quality than mine, then. I see lot's of Farmville updates, changed from MafiaWars six months ago.

Your issue with rejecting friend requests from people you don't know was an issue that I struggled with. Vicious circle: If I don't friend new people I'm not going to meet new people. Then I realized that so many of them are just number collectors ("oooooo...I've got 500 friends...") or I'm not going to meet them in real life anyway, so it's no big deal to reject 'em. Heck FB doesn't even tell you when someone's dumped...er denied...er rejected a friend request.
Apr. 8th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
I've managed to block Farmville from showing up in my stream. It could be a real barnyard out there for all I know. :) I was pretty ruthless in blocking applications for a while, and that seems to have calmed things down. Though one of the worst Farmville players turned out to be one of the right-wing fundies I complained about; I'd rather hear about her Farmville exploits, frankly.

You're right about numbers collectors. I've run into enough of those on MySpace, so I should transfer my thinking on them to Facebook. I always thought Facebook was where one went to keep up with people one already knew. I'm not really looking to meet new people because I have a hard time doing right by the people I already know (at least I think so). I concede mine may not be a majority viewpoint.

Plus, there's a huge difference between, say, my best friend from college and, say, someone I used to work with for a while but haven't seen since. I don't really have the same things to say to both, unless I just make small talk or jokes (um, yawn), nor am I equally interested in what they're doing. I guess I could set up elaborate filters, but my head already hurts from thinking about it.
Apr. 9th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC)
Farmville is popular beyond comprehension. I read a news story about a 14 year old kid who was so unreasonably addicted he ran up a large credit card bill "buying" options on it. People I know personally are apparently spending significant time at it. *shrugs*

Yes, the politics are as polarized on FB as they are in real life. It's a symptom of the illness that besets American society now. The party hierarchies have fanned those flames into a conflagration that is going to be very difficult to control.

I get requests from people whom I not only don't know, but who have blocked all their personal information, so I can't figure out who they are or why they are trying to friend me. There's only one answer to those: rejection. Twitter is the same way. I reject more requests than I accept, and a good many of them I block as spammers.

Yes, there is such a thing as life without Facebook. Not only that, but I don't think you'll become a pariah for choosing it. I've limited my involvement much more than I limit my journaling, so it hasn't become a major issue for me.
Apr. 10th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
I've at least one co-worker who deactivated her account because of the things you and I are saying. She figures she'd rather spend time with actual real live people. Imagine that!

With Twitter, I block the obvious spammers. Otherwise, if I don't know them I'll let them follow me, but I won't necessarily follow them back unless their Twitter feed is interesting. I'm somewhat disenchanted with Twitter too, and I'm not posting much there, but I'm following a few notables such as Roger Ebert, Neil Gaiman, and John Larroquette, so it's fun just to read.

With politics, I just shake my head. It's easy to see why the tea party movement is gaining momentum (or "tea-hadists" as I saw somewhere, a combination of "tea party" and "jihadist"). But that's the wrong response, repulsive in much the same way as the other partisans. Unfortunately, you won't see a movement founded on the idea that a return to civility and sense is what we need; it's not sexy enough, I guess.
Apr. 12th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
What I want to see, but won't of course, is a movement founded on the notion that education needs to return to basic principles and stop passing off sound bites and parroted factoids as a substitute for genuine literacy and understanding of issues and concepts.

Without that, we are going to be getting more and more "personalities" like Palin and Beck, emptyheaded "know nothings" who are proud of their ignorance and narrow-mindedness and encourage others to be like them.
Apr. 9th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
I'm going to go our on a limb and guess you're not a regular South Park viewer... apparently they've just done an episode skewering Facebook, clips from which are making the rounds at my work (which is full of social media savvy types; personally, my only knowledge of Facebook is from logging onto my brother's account to play Café World).
Apr. 10th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
Another friend told me about the South Park ep in a private message — I'll have to look for it. Thanks for the link! South Park gets pretty cutting and insightful sometimes.
Apr. 10th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC)
My condolences on the busted toe. I usually try to avoid such comments as "I know how you feel" because such statements usually aren't (and can't be) true.. but this is an appropriate exception. And, while there isn't that much that can be done, toes do tend to heal up quickly. Just avoid jumping jacks for a while. :-)

I made myself a rule when I joined Facebook, and have mostly kept it. I have to have MET those on my friends list at least once in real life. The vast majority are folks who have well exceeded the "once" limit - friends, family, fellow musicians, classmates, co-workers, or any combination thereof. I have made one or two exceptions - one such is Mike Wendland, former tech writer of the Free Press, because I genuinely admire his writing. And there are one or two musicians that I've friended that I look forward to meeting (we either have mutual musical friends or have been on each others' radar for a long time).

But I have NO problem with turning down friend requests from anyone I haven't heard of, don't know, or who is obviously engaging in "friend-whoring" for the purpose of driving up numbers. On my music fan page elsewhere on FB, or on MySpace (which I rarely use these days), I don't mind... but I want FB to be about people I actually give a honk about. I'm also sharing parts of ME out there - photos of my family, tidbits on my day-to-day activities - and I'd prefer to have an idea about the folks with whom such info is shared. I don't care how badly Joe Schmoe from Kokomo wants to know about me - look me up elsewhere.

And it took me a while to figure out how to get rid of all the Farmville/SuperPoke/other app crap that people involve themselves in. It's become a much better place since then.
Apr. 10th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the condolences. I know you know about smashed toes. Ow ow ow. I hope yours has healed up fine.

Part of the problem I have with friend requests now is, early on I accepted a few that maybe in retrospect I shouldn't have, not because they're bad people but because I don't really know them. The new requests that are pending are the same sorts of people, and I'm trying to decide if I should be consistent with what I've done and accept them, or be consistent with what I want and reject not only these but unfriend the others. I might be overthinking it.

I've been joking that I should have only people I've known for 30 years as Facebook friends. But that would still include the cousin who supports the tea-party movement, not to mention exclude certain other people I don't wanna exclude because, say, I've "only* known them for 15 years or so.

I actually worked through some of my backlog; I went from 19 requests to 11 now. Go me! (slowly, that is...)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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