Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

What Exactly Does Facebook "Friend" Mean? The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

WANAs at DFWWWCon
WANAs at DFWWWCon

What is a “friend?” That’s a good question. One of my personal peeves about The Modern Age, is that English is a very rich language and too often words are employed as a synonym when they aren’t. A HUGE bugaboo? A 13 year-old girl cannot be mature unless maybe she survived a concentration camp or other horrific events (and even then she could actually be emotionally stunted). Maturity only comes from life experience. She is too young to be mature.

The kid can be precocious, meaning she seems very adult-like. The danger in using these two words as synonyms is they AREN’T. Often a precocious child will be given more freedom than is age-appropriate or even handed burdens and responsibilities that are NOT age-appropriate.

For instance, I did most of the accounting, banking and bills by the age of twelve. I helped my mother get through nursing school, cleaned the house, packed the lunches and made the meals. A year earlier, my biggest concern had been scoring a Cabbage Patch for Christmas and where I put my favorite Barbie. Growing up happens quickly after divorce (especially a in home about as functional as the Jerry Springer Show).

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Geriant Rowland
Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Geriant Rowland

Anyway, my point is this. Words have POWER and we need to respect that. When I go onto LinkedIn? I don’t see the same camaraderie as Facebook, because they use the term “Connections” which keeps the psychic distance, well…distant. Also, people generally are talking about professional things, not necessarily posting pics of the new grand baby or their beautiful garden or failed attempt at a chocolate soufflé.

Same with Twitter. We have “followers.” Most people who are active on Twitter, unless you are part of a TRIBE like #MyWANA, conversations and ideas float past. We talk, chat, have fun. If someone is a flaming a$$clown, we block. We really aren’t vested in a tiny picture and a stream of 140 characters.

Facebook is different and I think that’s what makes it really powerful. Facebook uses the word “FRIEND.”

The Good 

What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)
What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)

I “friend” all kinds of people. Yes, I am a conservative gun-owning Christian but I have friends who are Wiccan, communists, socialists, liberal, gay, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, vegan, pagan, or even just plain weird or seriously normal (which scares me more because I am one of the weird ones).

What using the word FRIEND does is it humanizes and connects me emotionally to people very different than I am. Folks I might not have sought out as friends in person, namely because I’m an introvert.

Also, geography and not being a bazillionaire prevents me from traveling the globe making friends on other continents who possess other perspectives, ideas and opinions to enrich my own.

Facebook “friend” interaction makes people I might not philosophically agree with people. I see their cat pics, funny memes, love for Star Wars, the office they are proud they just finished painting…and I am part of their world. In fact, on Facebook, I have more “human” interaction than with people I know in person.

I have lived in the same house for five years. My neighbor finally asked me to housesit and feed the cats.

I didn’t even know she had cats.

Are they single and dig Ginger Guys?
Are they single and dig Ginger Guys?

I had no clue what her house looked like inside or even what other family members looked like until I stepped inside to fill food bowls and scoop litter boxes.

Facebook can be very personal and that is a GOOD thing. We need more of that. I have had some fantastic debates and discussions with people who are very unlike me and oddly, more often than not, we find out we really are a lot more alike that it might appear on the surface.

I’ve taken trips to hang out with people I met on-line. In turn, they’ve come to stay with me. I’ve gotten people jobs, helped them relocate, or even introduced them to other WANA Facebook peeps who might be in the area where they are moving so they have an instant group of friends in a new city.

My FACEBOOK friends have been there to offer emotional support through accidents, surgeries, death, support I could NOT get from family because they were just as distraught. I was not ALONE at two in the morning when Spawn was in emergency surgery after a terrible accident knocked his four front teeth up into the maxilla.

It was a FACEBOOK friend (and WANA) Rachel Funk Heller (a purple-haired liberal Flower Child) who stayed up talking to me to keep me awake when I was the lone caretaker after my sister-in-law had an excruciatingly painful surgery on both eyes. I COULD NOT go to sleep and miss giving Kim her pain meds. It was Rachel who kept me awake from Hawaii by making zombie jokes.

Facebook friends are as real as it can get. Yes, some are closer to me than others, but ALL are real and ALL are friends (to me).

And on the business side of things…

Connecting with people is the WANA Way for building an author platform. In a sea of endless choices we will default to who we “know” and like and these relationships can be critical to our success. If we hope people will buy our books or recommend them, the least we can do is consider then a friend for-reals.

The Bad

Original image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Manuel W.
Original image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Manuel W.

Using the word “friend” should mean something. Yet, often when someone does or says something hurtful or is on the opposite end of being hurt, I see things like, “Well, these are just Facebook friends, not ‘real’ friends.”

Thing is, that specific word elicits something in the human mind. It makes an association. X Person=Friend.

We have to be careful being dismissive of this (likely) subconscious phenomenon in others. It’s akin to using someone for a purpose (interaction, conversation, connection) then placing little or no value on that individual or their feelings. There are no consequences for being hurtful because the “Other” wasn’t ‘real’ anyway.

Though maybe this is a poor example, it’s like that one-night stand where one person thinks there is a relationship beginning and the other just had a great time and has moved on.

The Ugly

Meet the "Facelessbook Friends"

I HATE politics, religion and social issues being meme-ified, especially when they are hateful or negative. These are SUPER COMPLEX issues that just can’t be boiled down into a meme. Most of the time, these attack posts just evoke raw knee-jerk emotion for those on the other side.

No thoughtful debate comes from this, just hurt feelings and more division. I am adamantly opposed to ANY meme that makes ANY group the “Faceless Other.” It’s dangerous and is the beating heart of hate, bigotry, racism and on and on.

If we study history, that is DANGEROUS territory. When we can make another group less than human? Fill in the rest.

I’ve seen memes comparing all Christians to Westboro or the KKK. I’ve seen memes calling all Muslims rabid Jihadis. That is just moronic, unproductive and, bluntly? Cruel. I might not support or agree with a group, but I will not tolerate them being dehumanized.

***Westboro is the exception and they did it to themselves 😛

Anyway…

I found myself on the bad end of this a couple days ago. A Facebook friend who I know and like, posted a meme essentially comparing Texans to Al-Qaeda Jihadis (and this wasn’t the POINT of the meme, but it was not a CLEAR meme).

And BOY did I have a PTSD moment. All I felt explode inside me was anger and hurt.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.49.05 PM

I was transported back to the moment my 6’6″ husband came home from drill and broke down in tears because he’d just been given orders to deploy to Afghanistan. All I felt was the six months of hell, the non-stop crying when I noticed EVERY cemetery, funeral home and gravestone maker in DFW. It was as if I’d been emotionally side-swiped (which I KNOW was NOT the intent of the person who posted and we made up and all is good.).

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.47.22 PM

This isn’t to say we need to be all happy-happy melba toast, but let’s be honest. Most of the time? We know “those” memes when we see them.

Some we might even agree with or find funny, but that doesn’t mean it’s good to publicly share. My challenge to all of us though is to simply take a moment to think before we share. There could be someone on the other side it could devastate, especially because the “attack” is coming from a “friend.”

A Better Approach?

Having been abused, I steer clear of any meme or article or video about child abuse unless it is something POSITIVE and empowering. For instance, this is BRILLIANT. It’s a sign using lenticular printing. Someone the size of an adult sees one version of the poster. Anyone the height of a child sees a way to reach out for help when they are in a high-risk situation (and ADULTS cannot SEE IT).

This is VERY different than posting graphic memes of little kids who’ve been victimized. Yes, I want to support something I believe in, but those on the other end aren’t subjected to something that might be traumatic. It’s also EMPOWERING. We don’t feel sucker punched by our feed.

If there is something graphic we might want to share, it’s better done in a link with a warning, so the person has a choice to go there or not. I even do this with funny stuff. I am generally PG-13 in all I post, but if there is a REALLY funny video, I will say, “Hey, adult language.”

We Can Change the World by Being POSITIVE

Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all bringing breast cancer awareness in her won Susie Style...
Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all bringing breast cancer awareness in her own Susie Style…

All of us have faiths, beliefs, ideas, etc. and we have a right to have them and be different. We have a right and a duty to be passionate about those beliefs. And guess what? I don’t have to agree with others and they don’t have to agree with me. And that’s OKAY. Anything else is a police state, which is the definition of un-fun.

We can all support our beliefs by being passionate about we love instead of bashing what we hate. Love is always more powerful anyway. When memes or links or whatever are non-threatening, people might pause to listen and maybe even see another point of view. We change minds by changing hearts.

But here’s the thing. A hardened heart needs to be softened to be remolded 😉 . When we spout off attacks, all we do is build armor so thick the heart disappears and might even wither and die.

Facebook is a tool. How we USE it is our choice. Make people MORE human or render them faceless, heartless “things?” We have the power to decide.

We Need to Get Over Hurts

I know a lot of reflex options involve, “Report” or “Block” or “Unfriend.” You know what? I got over un-friending people who hurt me ONCE when I was about five. If someone hurts our feelings? Cry, dust off, then shake hands and go ride digital bikes. We need to be grown-ups. Now, this doesn’t mean if someone is relentlessly spewing hate and ad hominem attacks we have to tolerate that. We shouldn’t in life. Both extremes are BAD.

We all need to learn to make up and move on. Image via Wikimedia Commons
We all need to learn to make up and move on. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Hitting an Un-Friend button is a lazy shortcut that doesn’t repair relationships and leaves an open wound. Life is better when we are whole and when others are there to make us better than who we are alone.

What are your thoughts? Do you view Facebook friends as real friends? Maybe it is just my personality. If I SAY you are my friend, I MEAN it. I say what I mean and mean what I say. But maybe I am being childish.

Do you know your on-line friends better than people you know in person?

Have you ever been sucker-punched in your feed? Have you had posts you liked and then stopped yourself from posting because you were concerned you might unwittingly hurt someone? Do you seek out all kinds of friends? Or do you stay in the comfort zone? Why? And feel FREE to disagree just be nice or civil, please :D.

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JUNE, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

****Just FYI, in an effort to combat spammers your comment won’t appear until I approve it, so don’t fret if it doesn’t appear right away.

Talk to me! And MAKE SURE to check out the classes below and sign up! Summer school! YAY!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of JUNE, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

NEW CLASSES!

Obviously, I have my areas of expertise, but I’ve wanted for a long time to fill in some gaps on classes I could offer.

Cait Reynolds was my answer.

She is an unbelievable editor, mentor and teacher and a serious expert in these areas. She consults numerous very successful USA Today and NYTBS authors and I highly, highly recommend her classes.

OMG, Like How to Write Fleek YA July 7th $40 with Cait Reynolds

How to Dominate Your Sex Scenes (No Safe Words Here) July 14th $40 w/ Cait Reynolds

Gaskets and Gaiters: How to Create a Compelling Steampunk World July 21st $35 w/ Cait Reynolds 

Lasers & Dragons & Swords, Oh MY! World Building for Fantasy & Science Fiction 

July 28th w/ Cait Reynolds $35/ GOLD $75/ PLATINUM $125

Classes with MOI!

Plotting for Dummies July 13th $35 ($250 for GOLD)

Blogging for Authors June 29th $50 ($150 for GOLD)

Branding for Authors  July 7th $35

OTHER Classes with Cait Reynolds

Shift Your Shifter Romance into High Gear June 30th $35 Basic/ $75 GOLD/ $125 PLATINUM

Classes with Lisa Hall-Wilson

Growing An Organic Platform On Facebook June 24th $40

 

 

105 thoughts on “What Exactly Does Facebook "Friend" Mean? The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”

  1. Marilyn Hudson TuckerMarilyn Hudson Tucker

    I sometimes feel side-swiped. Recently, for instance, someone posted an article whose title read “Oprah wants to Exterminate Whites.” I read the article, and what happened was that someone asked when racism would end. She replied, “When the racists die.” Since people of any color can be racist, I took offense at the headline. Facebook troubles me because so many falsehoods become famous. I am almost to the point of giving up Facebook completely. I know I’m not getting as much writing done as I should.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      Yeah, that crap irritates me. But, I glaze over the idiocy and look for the good and for the most part it has landed on the positive side. The only way we will EVER be clear of stupidity is if we live on a deserted island alone and even then we are stuck with our own stupidity, LOL.

  2. Nancy LiPetriNancy LiPetri

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Kristen! You put so many of my thoughts about FB friends and their posts into perfect words. From how close I feel to online friends…to feeling sucker punched by some of those political and alarmist posts, yet not “unfriending” or blocking them because I don’t want to miss out on their good posts–agree with you!

  3. HeatherHeather

    The people I’ve unfriended have typically been people I knew outside the internet, who I found out later lied to me and the people closest to me, and about me and the people closest to me. their stances didn’t mean anything to me personally, until I and my friends were actually attacked.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      I don’t tolerate abuse. I have rarely unfriended and it was generally people being unkind in a thread. My “Friends” need to feel safe to have a different point of view and not be attacked for it.

  4. Normandie Ward FischerNormandie Ward Fischer

    As always, Facebook/blogging friend, you’ve written something true, something real, and something we should each consider. I have friends all along the faith/political/ideological spectrum, both online and in person. We get along because we share a mutual respect and are kind to one another. “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all” was drummed into me by the sweetest woman I’ve ever known, my mama. And, yes, that sometimes means biting my tongue or heading into the closet for a rant, but it keeps me from loosing the words into the hearing or sight of others. (If I were the disarmingly innocent person my mama is, I’d be a lot further along toward perfection. Sigh.)

    And, yes, Facebook allows for real friendships (in spite of what my son says). I’m real. You’re real. And a lot of other folk out there certainly feel real to me. I love interacting with them and being stimulated by their conversation, grinning at their photos or cartoons, applauding when they achieve something they want, weeping with them when they hurt, and praying for them when they ask.

  5. Kait NolanKait Nolan

    Really great post, Kristen. These days I tend to unfriend a) Random dudes who friend me and immediately start behaving like a creeper, b) People whose feeds have become nothing but drama mongering political BS (without legitimate fact checking or care about FACTS at all), and c) Super negative people. There’s enough negative out there in the world, and I prefer to surround myself (IRL and out) with people who are positive, who will lift me and others up.

  6. P.L. TaylorP.L. Taylor

    Kristen, that was a wonderful post, but the video just rocked my day. Having been an EMT and involved in security I’ve seen some sad things. The concept of a child not being able to see what the adult does and get a message safely is amazing.

  7. Beppie HarrisonBeppie Harrison

    As a relative newcomer to Facebook, I am fortunately inexperienced in encountering what I would call abuse of “friend-ship.” Your blog has made me think about it more than I had before, and I guess what I will do personally is what I do with real live people: assume they mean well unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. So far, so good–some people think things are interesting that I don’t (this is not a problem), some people are at home with rawer humor than I am (also not a problem; I just skip that one), and some people hand out solid gold. Your sharing that video was in the last category.

    • Stephanie ScottStephanie Scott

      I also generally assume people mean well. The problems I’ve encountered are mainly extended family who I know in one context, say a family gathering where people might act one way around grandma, and then online, which can reveal a whole host of attitudes and beliefs I was unaware of. I ended up unfriending an extended family member of my husband’s because he kept saying insensitive things that I think he meant to be funny, and it was just too much energy to explain every time why these things he was saying were not only unfunny, but insulting. If I see him at a family event, I’m sure he’ll be nice, but I don’t want a constant feed of his noise.

  8. kristin nadorkristin nador

    Reblogged this on kristin nador writes anywhere and commented:
    Have you ever been offended by a Facebook ‘friend’s status? ‘Unfriended’ (how is this a word now?) someone because of what they post? Thought about chucking it all and deleting your Facebook account?
    Read this blog post from the wonderful Kristen Lamb, where she honestly deconstructs Facebook friends, virtual offenses, and how to deal with them all.

  9. yosemitesydyosemitesyd

    I agree that a FB friend connection can lead to valuable relationships with people you would not normally encounter because they travel outside your circles. I have only ever unfriended two people. Both were men who cheated on women I love and I don’t want to see their faces anymore. I have changed settings so I don’t see posts of some friends because they post too frequently on subjects that raise my blood pressure; I value the connection but prefer not to have them in my face too much.Great post. And BTW, I got a lot out of your First Five Pages seminar. Thanks.

  10. sharonhughsonsharonhughson

    First, Friday is June 27 (my husband will be 49).
    Second, I like being friends with people who see things differently than me. I personally think creative people are more open to such inter-culturalfaithpolitical friendships because we want to expand our worldview. We know it will make our art better.
    Don’t mistake my openmindedness and willingness to listen as compromising my beliefs. But after losing every argument ever had with my older brother (because he never listened), I decided arguing is counterproductive. I need to live what I believe without condemning others who don’t believe the same.
    I feel strange when I say, “My writer friend I met on Facebook (or at WANA)” because it is a new culture. To be friends, you have to know someone. I believe we can know people even if we’ve never met them face to face (I do believe I know Jesus Christ, after, all and I’m nowhere near old enough to have met him in person).
    Thanks for saying what we’re all thinking in a clear and engaging way. When I grow up, I want to write with the same clarity.

  11. hovisbhovisb

    I don’t agree with you about the maturity thing. I’ve come across 15 year olds who were incredibly mature, not simply for their age, not precotious but Mature human beings. However, I was late to Facebook. I can’t admit to liking it but it’s better than the rest. I’ve got a lot of “friends” but I don’t consider any of them to be actual friends just “links” in a chain. Not sure what the chain powers as it doesn’t produce much activity on my lifeline however, that’s probably because I’m not sure how to use Facebook effectively. Pathetic isn’t it?

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      Nah, I didn’t get a lot out of Facebook until I connected with the right people and then those lead to other great people. A lot is learning how to use it. Not pathetic, just “new” 😉 . And sure, maybe there are 15 year olds who are mature, but I see a LOT of the latter. People don’t realize that kid really needs adults to help and be there. Teens often go through this. parents might back down but they still need us, even though they are coming into adulthood.

  12. JenJen

    Hi Kristen! I’m a huge fan! Love your emails. I totally agree with you about FB being frustrating when it comes to people foisting there political agenda on you. I noticed on the first photo of you and some gals that you are all holding up three fingers. What is that all about?

  13. nrhatchnrhatch

    When I first joined Facebook, I added lots of casual acquaintances to my “friends” list. Over time, I decided that I couldn’t be “friends” with all of them because friendship takes time and effort and I didn’t feel like spending the time it would take to follow all the ups and downs in their lives. So I unfriended those that I didn’t feel rose to the level of “friend.”

    Now my friends on Facebook are all real friends.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      I use my energy to varying degrees. Friends flow in, life gets busy and they flow out and new ones come. The cycle repeats. I might not see someone for a few months, but then find out there was a death or a major life event. This is why I don’t unfollow for inactivity. I just bee-bop on and chat with who ever scrolls past.

  14. Kit DunsmoreKit Dunsmore

    Great post. I do my best to always remember that my FB Friends, many of whom I’ve never met, are people. Individuals with their own lives, opinions, and hot buttons. I prefer to friend people who are positive in their shares. I skip the hate posts. If someone posts something truly cruel or is consistently hateful, I will turn off their posts. I don’t want to live in a fantasy land, but I don’t want to live in a world full of hateful messages that make other people into targets.

  15. Shawna CoronadoShawna Coronado

    If we have never met before and have friended one another, there is a period of time that we spend getting to know one another. What if we find out that person is abusive and mean to others or posts things we don’t like overtime? I don’t think that we should be expected to be a permanent friend to them if they are cruel and mean to others.

    I often unfriend people who are not active with me. I am about to my 5,000 limit and while I would never unfriend a close friend, I don’t think I can stay friends with inactive/non-participants, extremists, mean people, bigots, or people who offend me and my followers by hating and being a troll. So I unfriend them. I do it quietly. If they contact me and want to know why, I tell them honestly.

    I recently unfriended an acquaintance who I’ve never met in person who was very upset with me for unfriending her. Yet every time I posted something on my feed it seemed she had some hurtful or abusive or argumentative thing to say. She wanted me to remain her friend so she could continue to abuse me. That is wrong. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life and I wouldn’t want that for anyone else either. So I unfriended her.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is FB is a great place to build friendships, but are you saying you’d actually stay close friends with every single person you ever met in your entire life? Once we get to know someone intimately we sometimes find that they aren’t really friends at all. It’s a life lesson we try to have our children understand – that friends are here to stay unless they are cruel, abusive, or hateful, then we don’t want our children to stay friends with those types of people. Same for we adults. We have to make smart decisions when using social media that is good for our emotional well being. Bottom line.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      No, at the end of the post, I do say that if people aren’t adding to the relationship or are being abusive, cruel, hate-spewers? Leave. But if the person most of the time has been cool then has a bad day? The knee-jerk shouldn’t be to un-friend. And I also say they are friends by varying degrees of closeness, but I wouldn’t talk the way some people do to Facebook friends to STRANGERS. YIKES! Just be kind.

      I’ve unfriended people who were abusive to me or others in my feed. I also unfriend people who are hate-spewers or perpetually angry and negative. If I want that crap? I’ll watch the news to get indigestion.

  16. DianaDiana

    I have FB friends I know in real life, some who have been board buddies for over a decade and with whom I have had real life contact, and some whom I have never met and never will. We run across the spectrum in all areas. I’m seldom blindsided but I do admit I get tired of all the political/religious stuff or the so-called “feel good” posts-I can guarantee if one posts what I call a “fluffy bunny land” post, many will also post the same dratted post to the point I will see it at least three/four times on my feed-but I learned a long time ago to just scroll on by until I find an entry I actually want to read.

    I have unfriended 2 people, one who asked a question and didn’t like my answer so he had his buddies gang up on me instead of asking me for clarification, and the other was a real life acquaintance who pulled some very uncool stuff to the point of physically harming a friend. I wanted nothing to do with the acquaintance after that. Oh, and I’ve hidden posts by a few friends when it feels like they become far too obsessed and vitriolic about politics. One or two of those and my feed becomes a maddening mess of fluffy bunny land vs. partisan rants interspersed with an occasional cat picture(Because I think it’s a law that there is at least one cat picture on the FB wall at all times).

  17. Amy KeeleyAmy Keeley

    Politics is possibly the worst thing I’ve encountered on FB. I’ve found it’s best to just ignore it (most of the time) because those people are generally alright the rest of the time. Plus, I know and interact with the vast majority of my FB friends in real life, so I just tell myself I now know which subjects to avoid in RL conversations to keep things smooth. It’s made my RL more pleasant as a result.

  18. Jess MahlerJess Mahler

    I actually have more ‘friends’ on Twitter than Facebook. The chat layout lets me have actual conversations with people, where the more forum-style comment system o Facebook always feels a bit awkward to me.

  19. Tarla KramerTarla Kramer

    While I get vexed by the LGBT agenda posts, I will ignore them except if they cross the line into persecuting Christians then I will message the person (then like a few of their good posts). Some things I disagree with strongly I might ignore if they only have a couple of likes, or make one comment then leave it.

  20. Elizabeth Anne MitchellElizabeth Anne Mitchell

    I’ve definitely got online friends who are as close as my IRL friends, many of them WANAs. The support I got from everyone when my brother passed away was unbelievable. WANAs have stood by me and helped me so many times, when they only know me online.
    I have blocked only the creepy men who direct message me, and don’t take my “No, thank you,” for an answer. I have hidden the posts from people who sprinkle negativity liberally on all their posts. I struggle with darkness myself, but I try to shut up about it rather than be the harpy of Unhappiness pooping everywhere.

  21. logankeyslogankeys

    What a fab post! Guns, Christian, writer, and military over here lol

    I’m on a FB break right now to get my physical in order. The chunky golum look is so last season so I have to pry my hands from the keyboard and hiss at the sun for an hour here and there.

    FB is simply a tool yes. But how is it effecting your life is the question. If it’s a negative thing more than not I feel a break is in order but some don’t get the blowback others do. 🙂

    I love you blog btw! Just found it recently and needed to hear a lot of the stuff you post 🙂

  22. Kelly RobertsKelly Roberts

    This is my second go on FB. The first time, it was just me, with all of my opinions, politics, religion, etc. And what I surrounded myself with was like-minded folk…and a really small bubble of reality. But what I know now, on my second FB rodeo ride as an author, is that my bubble is wider, it NEEDS to be wider, and I like it that way so much more.

    Don’t get me wrong—I’m still me, with all my same opinions, politics, religion, etc.—but I keep that stuff to myself because it doesn’t have any place of value in my world as an author (at least the kind of author I want to be). I learned that from a really smart woman—hey, you have her same name!!

    And the funny thing is I don’t have much tolerance for people who feel the need to pummel the world with their extreme views. I wholeheartedly believe that people have the right to express them and I wouldn’t want to live in a country where we couldn’t say what we felt compelled to. I just don’t have to be friends with them, online or otherwise.

    I’ve found that as I’ve modulated my own expression of opinions, I feel more centered. At first I thought I’d feel the opposite, like I would explode if I couldn’t express my deepest opinions. But I haven’t felt that way once—my outward civility has cultivated an inward calm.

    Sure, there are a few people I follow who still spout off extreme views. If they’re the same as mine, I read them and move on…nothing new to see here, folks. If they’re the opposite, my first instinct is to counter comment. Instead I read what they wrote and let it sit with me for a bit. I’m a logical person, and my opinion can be (and has been) changed with logical, rational information. So I give their words a chance. If I’m not moved to change or alter my opinion, then just as with my like-minded peeps, I move on.

  23. julipagemorganjulipagemorgan

    I’ve only “unfriended” one person since I’ve been on Facebook. She was a relative of my son-in-law, someone I’ve never met, and she was the most negative individual I’ve ever run across. But I will block posts from people. I have a friend (a guy I know in real life) whose political opinions are the polar opposite of mine. He doesn’t post a lot of political crap, but there are times when he gets in a mood and that’s all he posts. And they’re not things designed to foster discussion, but snarky, hateful attacks. Since I don’t log into Facebook to be told people who think like I do are all incredible morons with no functioning brain cells, I block him for a while. I’ve also blocked people for posting gruesome photos of animal abuse, ostensibly to “raise awareness” even when there’s no link to donate to an animal charity. No, all it does is break my heart, and those horrid images stay with me for WEEKS. I block anyone who posts photos like that, and I’ve realized I’ve never un-blocked any of them. Huh. Don’t miss them at all.

  24. Cyndi PerkinsCyndi Perkins

    Those of us who use Facebook for good and not evil should never give up on promoting positivity. I’ve only had to unfriend a couple of hate mongers and I have a few times filled in the explanation blank where you can explain to a friend why you’re deleting their comment. I simply tell them that I can’t abide personal attacks, prejudice or negativity. I adore Facebook for its ability to connect us with life events – and I always tell my friends who fear they are posting too many baby pics or “bragging” to shush. If you don’t like the good stuff, fellow facebookers, then just scroll on by. I have 20-plus cousins with children who have children that I would never have engaged with at this level without Facebook. And I’ll pray for anyone who asks for healing, blessings or understanding. Who doesn’t need a prayer-circle mechanism as powerful as Facebook – or for that matter whatever new social media connector eclipses it someday. Professionally, I share published pieces that I think my friends and family will relate to, either because they’re rejoicing for me or its news they can use, like how to grow a better tomato or stand up to a bullying bill collector. It’s a soft promotional tool. I don’t like anything pushy or drama-ridden on Facebook. It’s not the appropriate venue.

  25. Susanne LeistSusanne Leist

    I agree with your post. Politics and religion have no place on Facebook. Personal beliefs should be kept personal and not forced on others.

  26. Cheryel HuttonCheryel Hutton

    Kristen, not long after I read your FB post about being hurt and angry because of a meme, there was a post that distilled two very complicated issues into a one-sided anti-semitic post.

    The guy who posted the thing had only asked for a “friendship” a couple of days before. I quick check of his timeline showed this was not unusual. I unfriended him, and I will be checking the timeline before i friend anybody else I don’t recognize from other places. Why he picked me to friend in the first place is beyond my ability to understand. Another writer, I guess. But Jewish is on my profile. Why friend somebody you obviously hate? Crazy!

    I think of you as a friend, and hope to give you you an in-person hug one day. You and my other FB friends have helped me through the last few months. Thanks.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      RIGHT??? Like there is a GIANT PIC of me with a sniper rifle on my FB page. Um, if you hate people with guns that much? Errr? I have gotten where I check timelines too. Everyone has a bad day and I am addressing the ANOMALIES. Obviously the person who hurt me I LIKED and had liked enough of her posts for her to show in my feed…and then there was this WEIRD TURN. I DO think of you as a friend and if you are ever in DFW, let me know and I will cook for you or—time permitting—join us at the ranch :D.

      • Cheryel HuttonCheryel Hutton

        I would love that. Now back to the writing so that someday I can afford to go somewhere besides the grocery store. LOL-sort of.

  27. alicamckennajohnsonalicamckennajohnson

    I have definitely thought about not posting things, but if it is funny, upbeat, or positive I go ahead and post it knowing if it doesn’t appeal people will pass it by. But I have made mistakes, I post this ridiculous church sign that made me crack up, and most people took it in humor, but one guy was offended, and a friend who can be aggressive with her beliefs decided to argue with him. GUH Drama on my facebook, I was able to stop it, with humor, but I felt bad for accidentally starting a scuffle.

  28. Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

    I don’t have a Facebook account any more, but back when I did I was annoyed by people who ‘friended’ me but didn’t seem interested in any further interaction. Yes, you can have real friends online, but putting someone’s name on a list headed ‘friends’ doesn’t make them one.
    Also annoying when ‘real life’ friends issue invitations on Facebook only and then wonder why people without Facebook accounts don’t come to the party!

  29. Leigh Verrill-Rhys: EverWritingLeigh Verrill-Rhys: EverWriting

    I came to adulthood during the Vietnam war. Before that it was the Korean War. One of the results of all wars before and since has been the demonization and dehumanizing of the enemy. Whatever I do, on whatever side of any issue I stand, I don’t reduce the ‘other’. In every case where that happens, the person who reduces their opponent has already lost the argument. It is easy to dismiss someone who opposes your point of view by calling them stupid or idiotic or simplistic. It is much more productive to listen and respect the difference.

    I learned my lesson with Facebook when a very good friend objected to my post on a particular extremely explosive topic. I considered all my options and decided I liked him more than I had a strong opinion about this. I didn’t change my mind – his argument was insulting – but I let him have his say and dropped the matter. I learned that Facebook is not the place to discuss heavyweight issues. These are better handled face to face, except when people yell at you. :{ Even then, my friends are my friends, regardless of disagreements.

    Most of my Facebook friends are people I know or who know someone I know. I have a FB page and Twitter account for my professional work. I stick to good news.

    Another great post, Kristen. Thought-provoking and so important in this very divisive social climate.

  30. Mira PrabhuMira Prabhu

    Kirsten, when the internet exploded, I was in the Himalayas, “finding” myself…as a result I missed out on the first and second and third waves…and have been getting into it now…over a decade later. So much of it is mystifying…and you make it all so easy to understand, this business of “friending” etc…which does get people into all sorts of crazy situations, because we are all so different. Thank you for your always thoughtful and meaningful communications…love reading your posts!

  31. rumadakrumadak

    Great Post!! So many people would not agree with this but I certainly do. Social Media is an amazing tool to use and explore! I need people who disagree with me and vice-versa around me!

  32. emeraldobrienemeraldobrien

    Great post Kristen. I agree that people need to try to work through disagreements instead of just unfriending. This post also reminded me of something I’d read a while ago, and while I can’t find the post, this is the theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number It suggests that people can only have true social relationships with 150 people at a time (I’m paraphrasing), so it’s interesting that the majority of people have more Facebook friends than this.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      Seth Godin has explored this and when I mean “friend” it doesn’t mean we are all hanging out braiding each other’s hair. It means you are in my tribe and I seek to realize you have FEELINGS and your opinions are your own. Just be KIND. I am not intimately friends with everyone on FB, BUT I know I have a VERY diverse group, so I take time to ponder if I am being poignant or hurtful. I can post stuff people disagree with that doesn’t just NAIL them to the CORE. And vice versa.

      • emeraldobrienemeraldobrien

        I definitely agree that everyone should be respectful in any online community, but for me, that doesn’t mean I view each person I have as a friend on Facebook an actual friend (the hair-braiding type, or the get together in person type). Some are old acquaintances from school that I have never interacted with. There are so many varying opinions about how close people are/feel to the people on their Facebook, but as you said before, it’s an intimate title given to someone in a social network compared to others. I understand when you say you see these people as people, more so than some you know in real life. I do too.

  33. Kristina Rienzi, AuthorKristina Rienzi, Author

    Reblogged this on Embrace the Unknown and commented:
    I love what Kristin Lamb has to say about Facebook friends. I touched on sharing our lives on social media in my post, “When Private People Go Public,” but Kristin explores it with insight and depth. A must read for all of us social creatures. Enjoy!

  34. doovinatordoovinator

    I really hate Facebutt, though I have a certain circle who knows who I am (NOT my standard “given” name) and make posts to them and readily and frequently un-friend anyone I don’t wish to argue with (and Facebutt is particularly good at inciting pointless, middle-school arguments). For real interaction I go to Google+, where I have about 10,000 folks in my circles, from all over the world and from every possible background!

  35. ShariShari

    Great article. I’ve made some wonderful friends on facebook and also had bad moments where I felt angry at meme’s designed to spawn anger and hatred. For the most part, it’s been a very good place for me and I’ve met people who I consider lifelong friends. I like your perspective. It’s good to have a balanced approach, much like with everything in life.

  36. Bernadette RowleyBernadette Rowley

    Enjoyed the article Kristen. I do consider my Facebook friends REAL friends. I get a lot of support there and try to give some too. I feel overjoyed at the successes and commiserate with the disappointments. There are some I know I wouldn’t see eye to eye with in real life and who share deeply personal stuff that just shouldn’t be aired on FB but I ignore anything like that. I try to stay positive in my comments. I tried to avoid FB for so long but when I finally succumbed, it’s one of the best things I ever did.

  37. A Writer With Something To SayA Writer With Something To Say

    Facebook is a great tool for writers if you use it correctly. I appreciate some of my Facebook friends and there are some who never reach out to me, but add me because of my writing. I think it’s all about the person.

  38. Bianca HerdinBianca Herdin

    Wow this message has stirred up a mix of emotions, tears and thoughts. I can relate to most of what you say and other points have made me re-think some of my actions. Mainly my approach to converting people to veganism. I am one of those guilty of posting explicit and shocking info to try and make people see what I see. I personally became vegan after seeing sad and distressing footage of animal abuse and my rationale was if others see this, they will be just as moved as I was and take action. But as you say, perhaps that has done more harm and angered people creating an opposite reaction to the one intended. Perhaps only positive and loving posts where people don’t feel judged and condemned will penetrate the soul. Thank you. X

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      I think it would be more effective. I do the same with GF and had to stop being an annoying evangelist, LOL. I would LOVE to be a vegan because I just don’t care for meat and am an animal lover. I just have SO many food allergies and mostly to the sources of vegan protein. I remember one time I was talking about grilling and vegan LAMBASTED me and went on this graphic rant about slaughterhouses and I was all….um, GO VEGAN, but I am allergic to soy, nuts, legumes and I kinda dig being ALIVE.

      • Kathryn JaneKathryn Jane

        oh boy, I had the same happen recently, and when I said I had to have animal protein in order to live she told me to use protein powders because they didn’t come from plants or animals… I waited for a while, wondering how to respond, and yes, did some quick research to be sure I was right before politely saying all protein is either plant or animal based. I didn’t want to start a fight, or a discussion about research and development of synthetic protein.
        I braced, ready to here an earful, but she never responded.
        That’s as close as I ever get to “engaging” on a hot subject.
        I grew up believing conflict brings pain, so I usually slink away instead of engaging.
        I love Facebook, and love sharing about kindness and gratitude — even though it leads some to believe I must be deeply religious, and I am not.
        Facebook has allowed this introvert to be friends with people all over the world, and to be vulnerable, which was began by reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, and was recently egged on by one of the blogs you wrote… so thanks!

  39. suesconsideredtriflessuesconsideredtrifles

    You make some really good points. I frequently see things I’d prefer not to see on Facebook. They include ill-considered posts, inappropriate public discussion and some innocent requests to share memes, which would be painful for me. I prefer Twitter! Sue

  40. Richard A SnowRichard A Snow

    I think this is one of the most thought-provoking blog posts I’ve ever read. (And to compare all Texans to Jihadi’s??? what was that person thinking?) I’m going to try to exercise more care when sharing things to ensure I’m not blasting an entire group or religion because of how a few people behave. Too often I’ve thought “Yeah, that’s right” and hit the share button, without pausing to consider whether I’m blasting an entire group. Thanks for this.

  41. David EricksonDavid Erickson

    A thoughtful article. FB has allowed me the freedom to stay in touch with friends and relatives I otherwise wouldn’t be and connects me to people I’d not have met. The variety of posts they offer and the connections to articles I’d not have seen otherwise are invaluable. And yes, sometimes it changes my opinion on things while at other times they reinforce my beliefs with incontrovertible facts and unique perspectives.

    I find it hard to unfriend anyone, but there does come a time. Like when I get a guy telling me he loves me whom I just friended or someone who turns out to be a not-obvious at the outset troll. Rare though it may be.

    And I find it far easier to start a conversation or provide content than I do with a blog.

  42. Tamara LeBlancTamara LeBlanc

    I read this fantastic post quick and have a ton of work today so not a lot of time to comment, but I loved it, Kristen, loved every word and image.
    Tamara

  43. N.E. MontgomeryN.E. Montgomery

    This is so true! People forget that FB friends are people – and not stupid ones, either. What I love about FB – helping and connecting – I once helped on FB friend who needed to get adopted cats out of a foreign country (long story) connect with an old friend from Jr high who had a foreign service gov job and knew the resources she needed. No way would they have “met” otherwise. (Yes, she got her kitties home).

    What I hate about FB – using it to hurt. I have a group of IRL friends who are no longer friends with each other, partially because some of them wrote supposedly “general” FB posts clearly targeted to snark at each other – things they would never have said in person. Now they won’t even be in the same room with each other. Super fun for those of us who are friends with them all.

    And people who use FB as just their personal soapbox. I hid a friend who’s posts were just a constant political harangue, and I agreed with the politics! But I want personal on FB, not soapbox. It’s one thing to post an FYI link, another to go on and on…

    Thanks for this – it’s worth stopping and thinking about what you post, and how it affects the real humans behind the screen, humorously intended or not…

  44. Lanette KautenLanette Kauten

    A year-and-a-half ago, a FaceBook friend was brutally attacked and left for dead. The only time I have ever seen him face to face was when he was in a medically-induced coma. Though we never saw eye-to-eye on anything (I’m a conservative Christian; he’s a liberal atheist), I always enjoyed talking to him and sitting back and reading the debates he got into. I truly cared about him and was distraught when the doctors weren’t sure if he’d recover. Thankfully, he did recover, and he and I have become better FB friends since then. We still haven’t met face-to-face since he’s been out of the hospital, but I still care about him, and we chat through IMs frequently.

    This morning when I checked my FB, I saw that he had sent me a message asking me to check on a thread I hadn’t been following. I cannot begin to say how angry I got and how upset I still am over what I read. He’s a lawyer and loves nothing more than a good debate. Well, a debate became very personal. One guy (I’ll call him Bob), asked what my friend did to provoke the other guy to attack him. My friend calmly pointed out he doesn’t remember that night, but the lack of defensive wounds suggested he was completely blind-sided. Bob kept dogging him with the same questions about what my friend did to deserve his attack. That not only made me angry, but I have cried today because this is someone who means something to me. We’ve never hung out, I haven’t seen him in person while he’s alert, but this is someone I’ve gotten to know over the past 2-3 years, and I care about him.

  45. Ruth Ann NordinRuth Ann Nordin

    Facebook has been a wonderful way to connect with people. I agree about keeping positive. I think some online friendships can be the best ones we have. I recently met two people in person I’d been communicating with online for a couple years. The best thing was since we had talked so much online, it was much easier to break through the phase of not knowing what to say when you’re face to face with someone new. It was a great experience.

  46. geralynwichersgeralynwichers

    I’ve often wondered how much a Facebook friendship can ‘count’ for. Do I really know that person if that’s the only way we’ve met?
    But after the invaluable help I’ve received from writer friends, and the accountability from health-group friends, I’m really thankful for them anyway.

  47. JeannineJeannine

    Kristen, shouldn’t the antagonist class be taking place now? It’s 12:30 on June 27, but I’m still getting a message that it hasn’t started and the website doesn’t mention anything abouht a delay or rescheduling. Thanks.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      I am an idiot who looked at the wrong month when I gave Jay the information to load the class. Apparently the 27th IS a Saturday…in JULY *head desk*. So I am rescheduling it. I was totally ready for tomorrow :D.

      …yes, I am a moron.

  48. Annikka WoodsAnnikka Woods

    I’m essentially house bound because of my disability. I get out a few times a week, but that doesn’t leave much of a chance to make friends in the “real world”. I have more online friends than I do real life friends, and my best friend is someone I’ve never met but would love to one day. For people like us (my friend is the same way), social media and IM chats are our main source of conversations and interactions. And I met my best friend through Facebook by asking a question about something she posted. I think social media in general and Facebook in particular are great for people like us.

  49. RebeccaRebecca

    I don’t have a Facebook. I haven’t for years due to extensive bullying. It started to become a trigger rather than a resource.

    I don’t feel safe on Facebook. I’ve seen far too many people weaponize it, blocking those people, and them finding another way to wage a war. The hypervigilance became too much to maintain.

    However I like what you’ve written. This was an awesome article. The points you made were absolutely excellent and I love that you made it so beautifully personal.

    Hope your day is a good one 🙂

  50. Hannah KubiakHannah Kubiak

    Hi there, Kristen,
    Thank you for this thorough analysis of the pros and cons of Facebook. I haven’t had a Facebook in several years, so I’m not sure what’s going on there anymore, but I definitely agree that it has, in a way, diminished the value of the word “friend.” As a fellow introvert I am very careful about who I form friendships with, and I take being a good friend very seriously, going so far as to say that if I died and someone sincerely decided to write, “A good and loyal friend” on my headstone, my life’s ambition would be fulfilled. There’s value in being able to talk to someone face-to-face, but unfortunately, while Facebook keeps everyone connected, paradoxically it also keeps them apart.

    Keep on blogging! I greatly enjoy what you write!

  51. Addy RaeAddy Rae

    This is a very thoughtful post. Oddly enough, some people that I’m very close to on Facebook, I’m very awkward and comfortable around in real life. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t close friends, just that we’re friends through the computer screen. 🙂

    As a side note, I’m often more annoyed by the missing dog/cat posts that get forwarded through my feed. The ‘This dog missing from Hawaii’ posts when I live in Wisconsin. I mean, if I see a stray dog I’ll bring them in to the vet, and hopefully they’ll be chipped and recovered, but I’m unlikely to see THAT particular dog, and when someone posts dozens of these in a day from all over the country, it annoys me. Possibly cruel of me.

    Political posts, I tend to skim over. Graphic anything I block and report. Touchy feely posts I skim over as well. Really, what I like to see is how YOUR day went, what YOU are thinking about, not knee jerk shares. I care about you, not what the Internet coughed up today.

    • Addy RaeAddy Rae

      ‘Uncomfortable’ I meant to say. Whoops! Didn’t see that on any of the read throughs I made.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      I LOVE your line, “Really, what I like to see is how YOUR day went, what YOU are thinking about, not knee jerk shares. I care about you, not what the Internet coughed up today.” AGREE!

  52. lisalisa

    I myself am a Christian, writer, mother, wife, friend. I use FB and enjoy it. I have cousins across the country and it is great to catch up with their lives. I don’t get into political and religious discussions. I like to see what my friends are doing. I usually only friend people I know. I have unfriended people. One was a church friend. One of her friends used a word that I consider worse than the F word, so I unfriended her. I did message her and let her know why. My kids sometimes look over my shoulder, so I have to be careful. My friend of 20 years unfriended me and I still don’t know what I did. I had to let that go. I tend to look at profiles as well. Here and on Twitter.

  53. Kerry GansKerry Gans

    Kristen – I do seek out friends who hold other viewpoints than mine. I ENJOY discussing differing views with people who can do so in an intelligent, non-insulting manner. I often learn a lot. And although I am not always persuaded to their POV, I do understand more of where they are coming from, and that’s so important. Like you, I usually find that we are more alike than different. And yes, I do feel that some of my FB friends are real friends. I know more about them than my neighbors–I am highly introverted, with anxiety disorder, so dealing with people is incredibly hard for me. I am thankful that so many people on FB have let me into their lives, and made me feel comfortable there.

    And, yes, I have sometimes seen a meme I liked or found funny but didn’t repost because I felt it might not be appropriate or might hurt others. If I really liked it, I might “Like” the original post, but often I just smile or nod and go on my way. FB is a public forum, no matter how friendly it feels, and some things in my head don’t need to be shared with the world.

    Kerry

  54. jorgekafkazarjorgekafkazar

    What I hate about Fæcebook is the deliberate, organized othering. A friend, someone I actually know, shared a photo that claimed only 6% of all scientists were Republicans. Setting aside liberal academic hiring bias (which studies show exists), the photo was intended to portray Republicans as mentally inferior. What if the photo had said, “only 6% of all scientists are non-Aryans?” Would she have caught on to what was being done? I sure hope so.

    Too many people think that their noble beliefs make them holy in some way, and that thus anyone who believes otherwise must be EVIL and inferior, deserves shunning and, ultimately, death. I recently wrote a review of “In the Garden of the Beasts,” a history of William Dodd’s tenure as ambassador to Nazi Germany. [http://preview.tinyurl.com/kx8vc56] The book drives home how thoroughly the Nazi propaganda mill did its work. It started with othering…

  55. Raani YorkRaani York

    You know, I had the experience that people on FB are “normal” people we could meet every single day in the streets. Some of them are friendly, funny, “stupid”, with or without humor, unfriendly, grumpy, frustrated, “weird” or crazy, and/or helpful, supportive, happy when I am and just become “friends” in a very clear form… I know, I haven’t seen them (very often) – but I connect to some of them more than I ever connected to some people leaving nearby…
    Yes, I agree, there’s all kinds of stuff going on on FB but I prefer just picking the “nice” stuff – the useful one – and the nice people I like and make FB fun for me.

  56. E.b. BlackE.b. Black

    You summed up why facebook is my favorite social network. I try to post on twitter and my blog as well as much as possible, but I get closer to people on facebook than any other social network. And for me, I like to socialize and connect with people as an author. It’s great because I really get to know people. But it’s also extremely painful when feelings get hurt on there.

    For me, I do go out of my way to try not to be offensive on facebook. I have certain political and religious beliefs that are very personal to me. I have certain events in my past that were traumatic that formed some of those beliefs. But you’ll never hear me talking about them.

    But I also know a lot of people in person who have completely opposite beliefs to what I have in these two areas. So I try not to do more than just “like” posts in these areas that I agree with. I sometimes state my opinions on certain subjects like women’s rights, but I keep it to a minimum.

    I haven’t been sheltered. I’ve met so many people with a variety of beliefs in person that it isn’t unusual to me to have people with a variety of beliefs as friends on facebook. I have friends on facebook that are hindus, muslims, mormons, christians, and athetists, and I have conservative and liberal friends who post their beliefs on facebook all the time. Sometimes I like pictures that don’t even have to do with my personal religion, in fact. I just like them because they are interesting and I’m used to talking to people about their beliefs even when they are different from mine.

    I agree, that you shouldn’t just see one offensive thing that someone posts and immediately hate them. It makes me like you more that you don’t do that.

    I offended an author once with something I posted on my blog. I took it down and apologized over and over again, but I know this author never forgave me. How do I know this? Because they told me so. And that’s the kind of thing that I dislike that people do.

    And I have one person on my friend’s list in particular that mocks/argues whenever she posts a response to something I posted. She isn’t really bothering my other friends or arguing with them. It’s just with me, so I figured,”Oh well. She just likes to express herself. If she gets entertainment out of debate, then I guess that’s how she connects with people.” And I’ve accepted it.

    People sometimes post weird pictures on my timeline or add me to groups that I don’t want to be in without asking. I get game requests all the time. I do not complain. I just delete it (or leave the group or whatever) and forget about it.

    Anything can offend anyone. On facebook, one of my friends was complaining about how women who post cat pictures annoy/offend him. I am someone on facebook who does this ALL THE TIME, so lol, I knew I was one of the offenders. But I went,”Oh well” and moved on. I guess even my cat pictures can be offensive. But what I liked is that this person didn’t immediately unfriend me even though they said this annoys them.

    So there does need to be some forgiveness of each other on facebook. No one’s perfect. Everyone has annoying sides. And everyone has different triggers. It’s about if you can accept people for who they are (faults and all) or not.

    And you never know what people’s triggers are. I have really weird triggers because of my past. And people on facebook have posted about my triggers. But I ignore it if I can’t calmly confront them about it (because I know that will lead to a disaster). Because everyone is a person and we all say/do stupid things.

    It’s why you don’t see me posting those pictures about strangling idiots either. Because I don’t consider myself superior to others. I know I’ve said/done stupid things and every day, I’m just trying to be a better person.

    I hope that made sense.

  57. jbw0123jbw0123

    Ha! Just watched a video, and I mean just, as in the previous click, on how to delete a Facebook account. Didn’t end up going nuclear, but the finger was hovering over the button.

    Thank you for the reminder about offensives posts — can’t be said enough. An over-simplified, knee-jerk and provocative post, phrased in just the right way, can play me like a fiddle, and not in a productive way. Maybe the point of all this social media though, is to get us used to stupidness, and not react to it. And, as you say, it is amazing how many people you find who are amazing and wonderful, who you wouldn’t have “met” any other way.

    The photos of your son and husband had me in tears. It was a war I didn’t support, but I honor and respect the men and women who serve in our military, particularly those who were involved during this last conflict, which was a painful and divisive for so many in our country. Many thanks to your husband for his service.

    PS: the next time I feel a joke about Texas coming on, will substitute the name of my own state to make sure it’s still funny.

    • Tonette JoyceTonette Joyce

      I do not support the wars,esp. the recent ones; I think few do. I believe that is why the push for “Support the Troops” is so big; who won’t support the troops even if you don’t support the military action? Yet when I said that, when MY SON was serving in Iraq, no less, I was attacked for “not supporting the troops”! I admit that I was upset when folks constantly posted and emailed photos,stories and videos about servicemen/women dying and their funerals.I found it terribly insensitive, far from comforting, as they thought it would be(?) Yet so many others sent prayers, concern, and kept me sane, knowing that they cared and kept me laughing.

  58. Judith PostJudith Post

    You said, in a brilliant way, what I feel. Thank you!

  59. katherineclairehaywardkatherineclairehayward

    A great article. I have had people I have been friends with in real life for 16 years or more, and who I have been there for through thick and thin be repeatedly unkind and judgemental to me about my life choices directly on Facebook, and another person I thought I’d be friends with forever just cut the contact completely with me for no reason as I saw it and they did not explain why. Was I right to block them? part of me misses their friendship due to the years of good times we had, but they also occasionally let me down in real life too, and badly.

  60. Nancy SegoviaNancy Segovia

    Great blog, and like Maryann (sp?)Faithful say nearly a half a century ago, “What the world needs now is love”. It was true then and even truer today.

    Smiles and blessings, Nancy

  61. Elizabeth DrakeElizabeth Drake

    Still a valid post even 3 years later.

    I have yet to really embrace Facebook. Sure, I have a page, but it’s not caught on for me. Maybe I’m too private. Maybe it takes too much time. Or maybe after it revealed things about people I really didn’t want to know, I decided I’d rather believe the face they showed the world when you were with them in person.

    Or perhaps joining Facebook during the 2016 election timeframe jaded me.

    Perhaps I need to give it another chance.

  62. Rhonda LaneRhonda Lane

    I love this post. I have FB and even have enjoyed friendships made on Twitter, about eight years or so ago when Twitter wasn’t such a firehose. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve made good professional contacts and friends I cherish, but the relationships deepen on Facebook. I don’t unfriend for politics or beliefs. I did unfriend once when a former co-worker of my husband’s posted a thinly-veiled insult on my page. (Yup, it stung, and, no, it wasn’t chops-busting joshing.) I told my hubs, who told me – for the first time – that this person wasn’t trustworthy. For my hubs to say that, he who gossips about No One, prompted me to unfriend my first person. I don’t believe unfriending is something to brag about or threaten with, but I see a lot of that on The Book of Faces. Thanks for writing this, Kristan.

  63. Tonette JoyceTonette Joyce

    Kristen,
    I could not agree more with every word you said. I found my self in a community that was only unto itself.I’ll spare you the violin music, but suffice it to say that moving t a small town in the Midwest or South is a bad idea unless you have family ties.
    I found myself alone, tied-up with family problems and becoming more unwell. FB gives me access to THINKING people, caring people and fun folk.I have gotten so much support! I would not be writing anywhere near as much, nor interviewing without FB. Memes have made me laugh when there was no light in my world, given me support when I didn’t know if I could face another moment of family problems, connected me with extended family and let me know that, as you, there were people of every creed who were good, if not perfect. And that being less then perfect, but being fun,thinking and nice are what matters. The abusers I have no use for and fortunately, most drop me.I am no longer offended by being unfriended; I don’t need more drama in my life.
    I will put a link to this on my shared blog in a few weeks, when we have ‘free week’, but I am going to put a link on FB right now.
    You Rock!

  64. David CallanDavid Callan

    I just finished a camping trip with you in the majestic Idaho wilderness. Your powers caused it to rain for two day and nights. Lucky for me I had downloaded and read “Rise Of The Machines”. I’m so glad it was recommended to me. This post relates to one of the questions I have. (I’m newer to FB) I originally had one of my privacy settings to only allow friends of friends to contact me. After reading your book and this post, I gather you are suggesting that I/we, should allow anyone to request to become friends on FB. Correct?
    Finally, Do you have plans on releasing an updated version to ROTM?
    As a new writer, the information you provide is a must for folks like myself. I will definitely give you a shout-out on Twitter.

    Best,

    Dave
    Boise, ID

  65. AnnaAnna

    I’ve been using the ‘unfriend’ button judiciously the last few months. I just had to. I was waking up, glued to Facebook, and FURIOUS every single day. I had random urges to throttle ‘friends-of-friends’ when walking the dog or driving. I was a snapping, snarling, negative bitch who saw the worst in people and couldn’t connect to anybody in real life anymore.

    That’s not ME…

    That’s me, on social media, following a vitriolic election where the loony-left and the radical-right are constantly going after one another, shrieking kill-kill-kill and pointing fingers at one another, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    Here’s my criteria for keeping people as my friend. Can we disagree? Can we discuss our differences, using logic and fact, and if we still disagree, agree to respect that decision? Do you have something positive to post in your page feed, or is it all politics, all day, every day, all the time. And here’s the big one. If I disagree with something you post, and your loony-left or radical-right friends jump on and start shouting me down, will you stick up for me and say ‘we’re all adults here: let’s be civil.’ Or will you remain silent while I get doxxed.

    I went from thousands of ‘friends’ to under 150. And you know what? I’m better for it. I’m happier. Social media hasn’t made things better. All it’s devolved into is a crazy, shrieking mob of strangers. I’d rather quit writing, or write books and sell them to just those 150 friends, rather than put up with all of the vitriole for the sake of maybe selling a book once every six months. This past week, I’ve begun the process of changing all the back-matter on my books to direct people to my useless Facebook ‘author page’ which nobody sees unless I pay to boost a post because I just don’t want to be connected to all these people, and their problems, anymore. I’m all done with being a monkey, dancing on a high wire.

    If that makes me a cynical @$$#0!e, or even if it’s a bad business decision, I don’t care. Social media has become a toxic, soul-sucking beast. I feel like a drug addict, swearing not to take a drink, but then the little red globe lights up and it’s like, “I’ll just peek…” and the next thing 4 hours have gone by and you’re feeling angry, hopeless, and frustrated all over again.

  66. David CallanDavid Callan

    I just finished a camping trip with you in the majestic Idaho wilderness. Your powers caused it to rain for two day and nights. Lucky for me I had downloaded and read “Rise Of The Machines”. I’m so glad it was recommended to me. This post relates to one of the questions I have. (I’m newer to FB) I originally had one of my privacy settings to only allow friends of friends to contact me. After reading your book and this post, I gather you are suggesting that I/we, should allow anyone to request to become friends on FB. Correct?
    Finally, Do you have plans on releasing an updated version to ROTM?
    As a new writer, the information you provide is a must for folks like myself. I will definitely give you a shout-out on Twitter.

    Best,
    Dave
    Boise, ID

  67. Maria D'MarcoMaria D'Marco

    When FaceBook first came into being, my sister-in-law and I decided it might be a good way to exchange pictures of estate sale items, which she had in hand and I was to back the ‘keep’ or ‘go to charity’ decision. We tried it for awhile, and then realized that other people were determined to invade our space, and the distraction made it impossible to do what we intended.
    I dropped my FB account, only to discover that the darn thing wouldn’t go away! I got ‘reminders’ that I had deleted the account, perhaps in error? This went on for 3 months, with all notices reminding also that if I went to my account that it would be ‘reinstated’ automatically.
    My then husband had to chase the FB tendrils to the depths of my computer, until we finally had to do a complete re-install of my computer’s operating system!
    In the meantime, I have had many talks with real-live friends, who have been crapped on by their FB ‘friends’, trying to help them recover from betrayal when their ‘friend’ has hurt them, and then refused to respond to mend fences or face their responsibility of hurting someone.

    To me, FaceBook is the land of passive/aggression. The ease of irresponsible behavior, hurtful, mean, thoughtless behavior, is way too dangerous for most people to access. The open-mouth-vomit-words urge is too available.
    I also know it can offer invaluable help and support in times of crisis, but qualify that awareness of good by noting that many people find a sort of ‘status’ in sending those messages of goodwill. I’ve heard people comparing notes on which recent tragedy they’ve supported.

    hmmmm—appears you struck a nerve, Kristen — my apologies. I’m tender about mass communication, as it can have such dramatic affect — thinking now of Twitter and the damage that comes from its use by the top.

    I know all my neighbors. They are the people that I will be in a position to help, should tragedy strike. Conversely, they are the people who will help me in those times. One neighbor is elderly (well, older than me) and when the storm came through that knocked a tree onto her car and front porch, I was the one climbing through the mess to find her and bring her to my house for safety. All my neighbors watch out for each other. We have no burglaries, kids safely play in the streets, we trade plants and advice, we shovel one another’s driveways.

    My long-distance friends were gathered through common passions (writing & editing) and are maintained through emails, phone calls, and Skype. We are delighted when we connect, like getting a letter in the old days. To me, the happiness I feel with these ‘analog’, deep connections can’t be replaced by daily blurbs on what someone is doing, and not meant just for you, but for whoever is on your ‘list’.

    shutting up now — thanks, Kristen, for giving me the energy to go out and lug 40# bags of pea gravel around! hahahahaahaha :o)))

  68. Charles de LintCharles de Lint

    Another excellent post, Kristen. I did find myself struck by your lines:

    “All of us have faiths, beliefs, ideas, etc. and we have a right to have them and be different. We have a right and a duty to be passionate about those beliefs.”

    Which sounds right until one has to ask does this still apply when those beliefs are racist or sexist or such? I’d say no. I also can’t get past that. When people are–let’s pick one–racist or support openly racist people but claim that they themselves are not racist, it’s a deal-breaker for me. And I find myself unable to appreciate their other beliefs or good deeds that they might do.

  69. Michael J LawrenceMichael J Lawrence

    I am very particular about my friends list. Everybody on that list is somebody I’ve come to know through a context outside of FB in a positive way over a period of time. Some are real life. Some are gamers. Some are bloggers or otherwise known through their writings on the Internet.

    But I rarely check in on Hatebook anymore because of the ideological spew (most of it slung in ignorance), either promulgated or referenced. I truly have come to the point where I cringe when I have to go to FB for something and don’t do it unless I absolutely have to. And that’s sad, because there are very cool people on my friends list. But I am totally burned out on anything having to do with politics and social issues that even the most mundane statement, link, reference or meme just really bugs me. To me, the only important conversation in the political arena is about how we have been prodded into shouting at each other so we don’t pay attention to what’s really happening, but nobody wants to talk about that. They’re too busy calling each other names. And then I just feel even sadder because I am very aware of history. (Which means, more or less, nothing going on right now is new or different.)

    Honestly, I’m just really done with that conversation. So that pretty much means I’m done with FB and Twitter, too. Fortunately, the blogosphere remains untainted by all of this and we have tasty conversations like this instead. And, honestly, my WP followers (and those whom I follow) mean more to me than my FB friends list.

    I know I’m giving up an important leg of the marketing equation by not participating in social media. But honestly, my mental health and happiness is more important than selling books. It just isn’t worth the trauma.

  70. Sasha KildareSasha Kildare

    “We can all support our beliefs by being passionate about we love instead of bashing what we hate. Love is always more powerful anyway. When memes or links or whatever are non-threatening, people might pause to listen and maybe even see another point of view. We change minds by changing hearts.”

    Thank you Kristen 🙂 I am having a hard time with all of the snarky hatred being expressed lately. So I shift my focus to the many honorable Americans fighting for civil rights in many ways.

    Re overcoming the scars of child abuse… there are many ways to channel the pain, anger, betrayal, and anxiety into positivity, such as community service and artistic endeavors, but first one has to acknowledge the pain. There is not enough public information about the neurological effects of child abuse (especially in the first year of life) — the damage can be accommodated and somewhat healed, but not without some informed medical knowledge.

  71. Robert M GoldsteinRobert M Goldstein

    This is a good take on Facebook. It’s good to read something positive about it. I particularly care for Facebook but that may be because I internally rebel against the use of the word ‘friend’ to describe someone I don’t know. I do have life-long friends that I check in with on Facebook and like you, I know and love people who don’t share what some might call my ‘liberal’ ideas. My ultimate reason for keeping Facebook at a distance is that I think the whizz kid who invented the platform is also responsible for making sure it isn’t used destructively.

  72. Lisa Hall-WilsonLisa Hall-Wilson

    Great post. On a side note – you don’t have to unfriend or block (I mean, you can if you want to). Unfriending is taken VERY personally. You can create friend lists and choose what you want to see from those people. They’ll never know they’ve been put on that list. You can choose to see nothing from those people, and you can exclude that list from seeing anything you post if you want to take that extra step.

    You can unfollow them too, which means their posts will no longer appear in your newsfeed. They will still see your posts in their newsfeed if you unfollow. This replaced the more complicated notifications choices (where new posts from a particular friend wouldn’t appear in your newsfeed but you would get a notification they had posted so you could still stay in touch but they didn’t crowd out your newsfeed).
    You can also report individual posts if they’re are abusive or whatever. Facebook learns, so you’ll see fewer of those posts in your newsfeeds. If other ppl complain, Facebook will show their content to fewer people (kills organic reach).
    Just a few options. Ppl think their only options are unfriend and block, but that’s not necessarily true.

  73. Cindy MahoneyCindy Mahoney

    What a great post!

    I have a family member who barely talks to me because I am an infidel. OK, whatever I still love her. She’s entitled to her opinion, faith which is different than mine. I won’t unfriend her despite her vitriol and links to prove how idolatrous I am. She’s my sis. Same with a super far left friend of mine (I am as you, Christian, gun toting etc) and we respect one another. He is friend face to face as well as on FB. His followers however jump into the fray and can’t be respectful. So I didn’t unfriend them, tho I just stopped commenting on their thots.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have made a zillion promises to myself that I wouldn’t post anything on FB that would/could start a controversy, because our world has split, and it’s a harsh world. I’ve broken my own promises when something blows me away. Then I think, man I should NOT have posted that.. now look what happened! I started my own firestorm!
    I am an introvert, always have been so my friends are online. I know more about their work pain and loved ones than my neighbors, also. Long time ago I visited my neighbors daily. They were elderly, friendly, wise. Loved them.
    But I don’t like to post a lot of personal stuff about me, it’s a thing I have about others getting info that I don’t want. On occasion I do. Mostly, if it’s personal, it’s something funny but I don’t talk about my kids much–with the exception of one out of three no one in my family connects with me. I post under a different name, use really old pictures or funky pics.
    Like you, I have been sucker-punched, and don’t care much for that. I hover my finger over the keys: should I block em? Stick with it? Send a sarcastic, rude comment? NO.
    And … I agree with you abt Westboro. I also believe that shoving faith in someone’s face, and I mean down the throat, thru the gullet etc, is.not.my.job. It’s a turn off. And I am not on the Junior Holy Spirit Committee.
    So my friends on FB are varied. I try not to post stuff that is rude or would sucker punch anyone (but I am pretty sure I have). My FB and twitter friends I find to be closer than ppl in my life, physically speaking. Social media brings me out of my introvert-ness into a social setting. Someday I will go somewhere important :)and maybe connect with family. One family member I won’t connect with is a family member who is in the military and I could compromise his and his family’s safety. In fact, finding them on FB is a trick in itself. I started the whole concept of safety with family from the comments I used to make consistently (the political sucker punching kind of stuff). They may agree with me, but I figured, could anything I say put someone besides my military family member in jeopardy thru my vitriolic verbal diarrhea? Paranoid self, I suppose, but… so my friends on FB are my friends. They may not know much abt me, but I love them all nevertheless, no matter their beliefs. Twitter is supposed to be my author spot. LOL. I retweet a lot of political stuff. The good thing is Twitter is like FB on steroids-my words are gone in the space of a gnat fart in a whirlwind.

  74. Lisa OrchardLisa Orchard

    Great post. I try to avoid political posts of any kind. However, every once in a while there’ll be something that makes me laugh out loud that I have to share. 🙂 Only for the humor.

  75. StacyStacy

    90% of my ‘friends’ on FB are people I’ve never met. I don’t see them as real friends.
    But, I deleted my FB account. I am so glad I did.
    FB has become trashy, IMO.
    And, I don’t want to support Mark Zuckerberg.
    There are just too many blatantly stupid people on social media.
    Bullies just love harassing people they don’t even know but they feel brave when they are hiding behind a keyboard. I’m sure most of them are living in mommy’s basement waiting on her to bring them some microwaved pizza rolls.
    It’s like they have no conscious or common sense.
    I’m an omnivore and proud of it. But, one vegan in particular hated me for eating steak. So, she wanted to show me how vegan she was and how much she hated killing. So, she threatened my life and then threatened to eat my flesh because, you know, it proves that she’s a committed vegan. One vegan said she would ‘NEVER RESPECT’ meat eaters. I told her she must have a very small circle of friends then. Seriously, what is wrong with these people?
    They think that being on social media gives them a right to stick their noses in where it doesn’t belong.
    I comment on issues but I don’t point out individuals. I keep my comments about the article without cursing, mocking others or acting stupid. I don’t ask for anyone’s opinion. Just because I comment, some people think it means that I must hear their 2¢; like the world will stop rotating if they don’t plaster their opinions on every comment on the site.
    FB is eat up with bullies.
    I had commented about Trump(he was the subject) being president and saying that people will just have to get over it and accept it. Then, some immature guy left me a comment, saying ‘Jesus is dead, get over it.’ See? The subject had nothing to do with Christianity, Jesus or God. But, he felt the need to say something stupid like that because he didn’t like my comment.
    That’s the problem. If people don’t agree or like a comment, instead of having a backbone, realizing that not everyone will agree on everything, they play keyboard warrior and start name calling, not just you but your family as well, type in ALL CAPS, curse, call you a bigot(and being a Christian automatically makes you a bigot in their eyes). They fail to realize that their actions and words are the true definition of a bigot.
    And, what’s with all the PC, safe spaces, triggers and microaggressions? These people have turned into jellyfish!
    It’s not my responsibility to make these people happy or to edit everything I say because they can’t control their emotions.
    I just wish threats, cyberbullying, etc would be taken very seriously and those who do these things should be arrested and fined. Maybe a lot of them might start acting more maturity if their bad actions actually had consequences.
    Nothing is truly deleted on a computer. I watch what I say. I never bully, curse, make fun of anyone, especially disabled people. I don’t even do that in the real world. And, let’s be honest: 98% of cyberbullies would never say these cruel things in the person’s face. That’s why they are actually cowards.
    Sorry for such a long reply. I needed to get it all out. 🙂

  76. Icy SedgwickIcy Sedgwick

    I have plenty of people on Facebook who are closer friends than those who live in the same city as me. Thankfully most of them are also in a similar political/world view space to me. But every now and then one of them will post those “I bet no one shares this…” meme statuses, or a graphic image of animal abuse to “raise awareness” and I just want to shake them. I don’t, because that’s the power of the scroll function!

  77. Terri BensonTerri Benson

    I love this post. I was gone over the weekend and didn’t see it until today, but the timing is perfect. I spent the weekend with friends, one of whom is very (very, very) conservative with extremely strong opinions and “facts” to support them. I’m a middle of the roader and he took extreme umbrage when I said that my favorite new slogan is “just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you’re right”. He didn’t understand that I mean that for EVERYONE not just any particular opinion, mine included. I don’t unfriend, but I have muted. I hate to see the cruel, one-sided memes, or the “facts” that are totally not and could easily be researched, that just keep getting passed around and pissing people off. I’m a bit tired of the cute cat photos, but I’ll watch them anytime compared to the other. Thank you for reminding us that we have control of how we act, and react, and that just because it’s “only Facebook” doesn’t mean it isn’t taken seriously by other “friends”.

  78. Suzanne LuceroSuzanne Lucero

    I got into a discussion with a rabid Trump supporter several months ago, not a yell fest but an actual discussion. I refused to smear her with a broad brush and instead, told her I was seeking clarity of her POV and asked her questions. Worked like a charm. I ended up following her and she follows me. The upshot of this is I no longer thoughtlessly retweet a negative Trump meme or rant when it shows up in my stream. When I see something negative I think, “What would Shay say about this?” The most I’ll do is “like” it. That let’s the poster know I agree or found it funny, but it doesn’t automatically show up in my Twitter stream. (I’m still not 100% perfect about it, but I honestly do my best to catch myself.) I WILL retweet articles that discuss various Trump-related issues, but if it’s written in a way that slanders the political right without mercy, I won’t. I’ve become a nicer “Tweeter” because of my friendship with a person who believes differently than I do.

    • Suzanne LuceroSuzanne Lucero

      Forgot to !mention this was on Twitter, not FB. :-\

  79. Earnest PainterEarnest Painter

    There are some people that I have to turn off on facebook because what they post is vile. I know them personally and they know me, so posting anti-gay hate messages sends a clear message to me. Posting certain political things sends a message that is almost a clear.

  80. CherylCheryl

    Hi!
    Have I ever been sucker-punched? Yep. My day job is veterinarian. Many of my friends also work in the field. I know they mean well but it kills a little piece of my soul every time I scroll past a video or meme showing abused animals. I understand this issue ridiculously well. I work daily to do my part, however small, to solve the problem. (I do low cost spay/neuter work to help end overpopulation and shelter euthanasia) I don’t want to see it in my feed. If I want to overdose on feels, I’ll listen to ‘In the Arms of an Angel,’ I’m sure I have it somewhere around here. I loved this post. I’ll admit to being guilty of the political meme repost, there are issues that I feel very strongly about (I have pre-existing medical conditions and purchase my own health care. It’s a horridly scary time), but I always try to think twice. I have definitely been on the verge of responding or reposting and just scrolled-on before I posted something that might put off some of my friends. I wish some of my friends would do the same. Let’s all be honest, does anyone know of another person who’s had their mind changed by a meme?
    I love ‘Author’s in a Digital World,’ I’m right in the middle of it now. I spend my free time writing romance like a good and proper introvert.

  81. Kathy MarkerKathy Marker

    I love Facebook. It is my “me time” in the morning, before I begin my hectic day full of too much to do. I am kind of a loner because I keep so busy and work long hours, so my Facebook friends are who make me feel important and wanted.

    I try to make sure I say happy birthday to everyone, and it makes my day when they all do the same for me, and when they comment or share my posts.

    The only thing I don’t like is that I don’t automatically get everyone’s feeds as I get more friends (only the ones who you respond to or like comments the most, I guess), so I need to remember to type in others’ names sometimes to see how they are doing.

    Facebook has helped me to find so many people! By typing in their names and leaving messages to say who I was and why I was looking for them (I also messaged friends who may have connections to them) I was able to locate many missing classmates for a reunion, and am currently using it to find missing distant relatives for a family reunion.

    I joined Facebook to keep up with news and pics of my kids and grandkids, and then extended it to people at church and work who I wanted to get to know better. I began asking to be friends of my cousins, and now I feel closer to that generation than to my cousins. Plus I see more pics of cousins that way.

    I was careful to only accept friend requests from those who knew my other friends at first.
    I learned that for MLMs you want to build more connections, since people buy what you sell because YOU (as a friend) are selling it more than because they want the product;so I began to allow more requests to be my friend.

    I always check on new friend requests to see if they have pictures and other friends on their page. If they don’t, and all they have is a profile pic and basic info, I won’t friend them, thinking they may be stolen identities.

    I’ve only unfriended a few people. One had a lot of swearing and complaining, and a few others were the ex of other friends who were paranoid that the ex was checking up on them by accessing their page by clicking on them in my list of friends.

    I’ve been able to share my life with others, plus what I and others are selling, plus info about local events coming up.

    I love that we can create groups and events! I’ve created groups for each side of my family as another way to keep up on them. I also have groups of recipes, religious thoughts and good to know about (how to clean things, etc).

    It saves clutter around the house to have invites (and reminders about them) on Facebook instead of scattered around/buried at the house.

    Yes, I am thankful for Facebook and all of my friends on it. I may not ever meet them, and may forget how we first connected, but I enjoy being a part of all their lives. It makes me feel special.

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