Hooking up: my month with Facebook
Posted by worriedlebanese on 17/07/2010
I’ve been on Facebook for a little more than a month now, and I have to admit that I’m rather hooked. I still haven’t discovered all its possibilities, and even less engaged in them, but I do believe that this medium has an extremely interesting edge to it. Set aside its extremely limited language (where all people who are linked are “friends”, and all pages that you follow are those that you “like”), and look at its possibilities. It gives you the opportunity to communicate with people you know without having to knock at their door every single time. It allows you to work on your readership, nurture it, engage with it, interact on a personal level.
Like many, I heard through friends about Facebook. I learnt that it was a fascinating mutant interface that combines email/chat/blog/social networking. For a long time I was wary of its exhibitionistic and superficial tendencies, and wasn’t very comfortable with the idea that it would link the different networks I’m engaged in (they are not exactly compatible). So I resisted Facebook until a friend of mine (my number one fan and paragon) convinced me that it could be tempting and that I should give in. And so I did.
Truth to tell, I’m rather put off by the “personal” dimension of Facebook and decided from the onset to keep private things private: so no holiday pictures, no display of mood swings or details of my personal and social life (when I have one). No posting will seem to be torn off from my diary (one that I choose to share with others while I write it; that sounds very Tanizaki, doesn’t it). I’d rather share ideas, explore them as I write them, throw them around and see what bounces back. And instead of chasing info, roaming from one blog to another, it’s really great to find so many interesting things scattered around on my page every time I log in.
Tapping into the unexpected
One thing really caught me off guard: The process of creating a “friend list”. Here’s the catch, when you open a personal page with your name on it, you send an invitation to all the email addresses in your possession, and you’re sure that friends and family will accept it. And gradually, people you have met or who fancy you, or know you by name or you’ve lost contact with will send you an invitation. And that’s that. Well, things play differently when your profile is anonymous and you only deal with political issues. Friends and family are certainly among the least interested in your political prattle. So they’d probably refuse your invitation unless you revealed your identity… And even then, you’re sure they’d be the first to roll their eyes (and suck their teeth) every time you post something.
So here’s what I did. After activating the automatic search engine to find the facebook profiles of the people I interact with through mail, I started asking myself whether or not I should invite this or that person. How would (s)he likely respond? Would they be interested in my political rambling? So I started asking myself questions about my readership that never ran through my blogger’s mind. Why wouldn’t people be interested in my political prattle? Is it because it is political or because it is prattle? Could one interest them and how? As I wrote my second note on Lıbnéné Qaliq, I felt things were starting to change in my writing process. I wonder if it is noticeable.