How many friends do you have on Facebook?
Editor's note: West Linn Adult Community Center volunteer Mary Jean Rivera shares thoughts about Facebook, and how it widens her circle of friends.
I am not really very techie as techies go in the modern world, although for a grandma, I am doing OK with emails and Amazon self-publishing.
I have several email accounts. Thinking I might foil some of the spammers, I abandoned my original email address to them entirely. Now I will give it to anyone. It collects about 50 contacts a day as a result of my intentionally sharing it, and another 100 or so in spam.
My address has been passed around so carelessly. It certainly doesn't mean I am popular. I don't mind getting coupons from Michael's and stores I signed up with, but some of the offers for medications, enlargements and personal services really ought to be illegal.
Facebook is a whole other world. An acquaintance of mine has over 300 "friends!" And he seldom posts anything, and practically never responds when someone comments even.
I have only 167 "friends." Now why is that? I am really "friendly" and "like" just about everyone's posts, unless they are very gross, or politically not at all to my liking. I figure everyone wants to be "liked," right? Shouldn't that result in more "friends?"
On the other hand, I don't want any more invitations to play games. I found the control to eliminate that nuisance permanently.
At first I took the invitation to post on my wall to mean to post great thoughts, or good advice, or quotes. That's not it at all. It's more of a ME BOOK, an ego booster, with photos.
When I head to my own name on my wall, I see personal information I want to share, and all my own posts and photographs. This is something potential employers can view, so beware!
I am glad I put comments on my photos at the time they were posted, because now Facebook has gathered them up nicely for me in a year-end album. I like looking through those, and a few other people have "liked" them, too. That's gratifying.
If I go to Home, then that's a "news feed" and the latest posts from my "friends" are there, most of the time, but sometimes outdated ones show up, too. Under Find Friends are lists of friends of my "friends," whom I am encouraged to send Friend Requests to, but I don't. That would probably expand my list considerably.
I like the pull down under the globe icon, where I find any contact others have tried to make with my posts, "likes" or "comments" or "shared." That's a little more like a conversation.
It's not safe to expose too much of your life on Facebook, because you don't really know who is watching, so it's at least a little bit pretending, maybe a lot of that. Of course, I have to wonder about everyone's sincerity. How can you really have 300 friends? Or like all photos of dogs and cats, or political people, or the latest escapee, or lost child?
There's a posting that invites your "friends" to say Hi, or something back to you, just to prove they really, really like you. I don't think that proves anything about them being real friends.
At first I looked at Facebook only every few days, and then it got to be very regular, morning and evening, after I checked my email accounts. And now I check so often, hardly anything has happened in the meantime.
My dog might be begging for a walk or some interest in his toys. I could be dusting or cooking something good for dinner. Watching TV might be more enlightening.
What is so addictive about the attention of near strangers? Yet here I am, typing away my time in life.
Real friendship happens mostly face to face, when people talk to each other, and know the truth about one another's lives: Who succeeded or failed, lived or died, loved or left. Now certain of that, I am going to give up Facebook for Lent and instead talk to people.
Thank goodness, though, Lent doesn't start until Feb. 26.
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The lunch menu at the WLACC this week features meatballs in marinara over spaghetti and chocolate cupcakes on Friday, Aug. 9; pork stew with brown rice and broccoli with cookies and cream pie on Monday, Aug. 12; and baked potato soup, turkey sandwiches and lemon meringue pie on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Cost is $5 per person.
The WLACC is located at 1180 Rosemont Road, West Linn. Call 503-557-4704 for more information.
Mary Jean Rivera is a volunteer with the WLACC.
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