As I mentioned in a blog post a month back or so, I am always interested in what a relationship can get me. I like surrounding myself, in real life AND online, with people who enrich my life in one way or another. Initially, when you think of this, it may sound selfish (and it really is), but relationships with people are what make life worth living. I understand that Facebook allows you to show your “good side”, but I’ve gotten to know some truly amazing people online that I have never actually met in the “real” world.
Oh Facebook, you wily devil, you are everywhere. You’ve made it into just about every commercial I see on television. You’re in the fine print at the bottom of every movie poster, billboard, and flyer. I get it, you want me to find a particular thing on Facebook, “like” it, and then tell others to do the same. I “get” how it works, I really do. I just like to delve a bit deeper and try to linger on certain events at times.
Facebook is many things to many people, however, in my time on the site I’ve noticed that Facebook is treated less like a long road trip and more like a treadmill. Let me explain what I mean exactly. On a long road trip, you may stop at certain landmarks and attractions, take some pictures and have some discussion and then move along. Days, months, or even years later you may revisit these places/events and you’ll most likely discuss them even if you’re not within close proximity. So my question is, why is what we put on Facebook treated so differently? Some people treat their Facebook page like a Twitter page (a whole other monster), updating with very little breaks between. Post witty picture/status, wait for likes/comments, rinse, repeat.
This is where I come in to wreck it all. Remember that funny picture you posted six months ago? Maybe it wasn’t necessarily inappropriate, but you’re over it. You posted it, froze that celebratory moment in e-time, and moved on to your next absolutely hilarious posting. Well, since Facebook has maintained a constant state of flux since its inception, there are always changes to the management of the newsfeed. If you aren’t already aware, when you like/comment on a post it will randomly (or at least the algorithm makes it appear that way) appear on the newsfeeds of your other friends, showing that you have recently interacted with said item.
I assume you can see where I’m headed with this. Every so often, when I’ve got a few minutes, I love to go further back on someone’s timeline and comment/like on something they’ve already moved on from (sometimes to their chagrin). Trolling? Perhaps, but if you posted it you want some sort of feedback on it right? Whether I provide said feedback five minutes after you post it or five YEARS after you post it, you’re still getting some feedback right? With the birth of Facebook, and subsequent explosion of the social media network, it is now possible to keep in touch with people you haven’t seen or heard from in ages. Good and bad can come out of these interactions, that’s for sure, but it’s definitely changed the way we maintain relationships with people.
I’ve got a buddy (his blog is hilarious and worth checking out when you have some time for an overload of snark) who I’ve discussed this with before and I’ve enjoyed digging through some of his old pictures (he’s a bit like a fine wine, aging well over the years as evidenced by some of his earlier pictures) and bringing them back up the top of the newsfeed for our mutual 90+ friends to enjoy. With several hundred people as “friends”, it can be very time consuming to dig through all of those old postings, but every so often it’s fun to do.
If you’ve made it this far into this post, I challenge you to dedicate a few extra minutes (I know you’re lurking on Facebook anyway) and scroll further back down a friend’s timeline and see if you missed anything. Maybe a prayer request that has since been forgotten? Maybe looking at a picture of them having fun brought back into the limelight could improve an otherwise cruddy day they’re having. A picture of their teenager as a toddler? Perhaps you’ll put a smile on their face because they’ve completely forgotten that they posted the picture.
Don’t let Facebook and its constantly churning newsfeed dictate how you interact with your friends. YOU take the reins, have some fun with it, get yourself a history lesson, and maybe even learn a bit more about your e-friends.