Yesterday I asked my Facebook “friends” a few hypothetical questions about “friending” and “unfriending.”
(I put quotes around the word “friend” because, for me, that word evokes something very different from what I have with the vast majority of my FB “friends.” I use quotes around the “-ing” variations of the words because, no matter how acceptable their usage has become, I don’t like when nouns are morphed into verbs for expediency.)
One of my questions from yesterday was:
If FB had an “unfriend request” button, would you be more selective “friending” people because you would need permission to “unfriend” to get out of the “friend” relationship?
The consensus was that most were “selective” about their “friends,” therefore my query was almost an N/A. Most added that FB didn’t “matter all that much” to them.
I was tempted to ask, tongue-in-cheek, “Then how come I see you on here so much, making copious and voluminous comments?” I didn’t though, because I ran the risk of my rhetorical question being heard as critical instead of humorous; moreover, there I was on FB, asking for copious and voluminous comments.
Nevertheless, I knew what they meant.
I’d been there already.
I went on a total break from FB, i.e., deactivated my account, from August 2014 for close to a year. I didn’t miss it. I wasn’t missed.
(Side note: the only drawback was that my sister had to take the additional step of emailing me pictures of my nieces if she wanted me to see them. She was willing to do this, but I know I missed lots of pictures because my sister is pretty active on FB. I didn’t join Instagram until a few weeks ago; I suppose that would have solved the auntie/niece disconnect as my sister co-posts between FB and Instagram.)
But now I have returned to FB, primarily, to share this blog.
While many may regard this as little more than self-promotion — which it may be to a degree — I am someone who likes reading people’s thoughts.
Not one-line comments. (Though I tend to read those as well.)
I have found that the FB posts I have enjoyed most are those which are long and reflective — sometimes even opinionated. But somehow, when the opinions are strung together in sentences which combine to form full paragraphs, I don’t hear the opinion, as much as I can hear the voice.
FB, for most, is a place to vent about your disgust in the political or your assessment of the selfishness of human nature. FB, for many, is a place to brag about your last good meal or your kids’ awesomeness.
And I get it. I’ve done those things.
But now — for me — FB is a place where I put out a daily invitation to my “friends” to hear my voice.
Right here and in 500 words or so.
If you made it here, thank you for reading. And, if you’re inclined, hit the “like” button at the bottom of the page. Even better: make a comment. I’d “like” to hear your voice today.
9 thoughts on ““Till human voices wake us, and we drown.””
I missed you on FB when you left. 🙂
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Thanks, Seana. I’m glad to see you here.
I like our conversations in person the best and enjoy reading your thoughts on your writing blog very much.
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And I like talking to you — in person — as well. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement.
I have the same attitude towards FB. I’m an occasional user, most of my posts are my blog, and I lurk around a lot, just seeing what friends and family are up to, and make an occasional comment. It has its uses, but I don’t have the same fascination with it that other people do.
By the way, I like your title; I seem to remember a movie called “Till Human Voices Wake Us” with Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce. Not much about it, though.
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Oh, Tina, please tell me you have read (and subsequently loved) “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S.Eliot.
If you haven’t, stop whatever you’re doing now — unless it is CPR — and find it. Then indulge.
The blog title is the last line of “Prufrock.”
I’m sure I read it in college at some point, but not since. Since I’m not doing CPR, I’ll take a look!
I also missed you on FB during your break. It coincided, more or less, with my move across the Atlantic, and FB is for me, in part, a way to stay connected to my friends who are stateside. So you got that one point wrong at least because I suspect that many others besides me, Seana and your sister also felt your absence.
I was intrigued by how many comments on your post were so righteous. At least I read them that way; a self-congratulatory proclamation of the lack of importance FB plays in so many Facebookers’ lives. I was tempted to reply a second time, but decided against it for many reasons (mostly because so many had denied FB could be a means of sharing meaningful connection), so I’ll put my “voice” here instead.
I have been unfriended by one person (to my knowledge) and unfriended one person. I learned that the friend (who was also a friend IRL) had felt confused and even offended by my posts for quite some time leading up to the unfriending (which occurred concurrently online and IRL). I learned quite a bit from the conversations we had before we stopped talking to one another, and altered my behavior on FB a bit as a result. Yes, I can’t take responsibility for someone else’s reaction to what I say and do (or write), but I can strive to be more thoughtful in my communication and actions.
The person I unfriended I first unfollowed so his posts wouldn’t be in my feed everyday. The vast majority were inflammatory remarks and links to articles filled with condescending insults aimed at people who make parenting and health decisions similar to my own. He is my brother, however, so I would occasionally hop over to his page to see updates about his family and what they were up to, particularly if we hadn’t seen them for awhile. I made the mistake a couple of times of replying to some posts or sharing a link to his page, but the vitriolic responses led me to remove my access all together. I didn’t have the self discipline to avoid potential conflict, so I eliminated the temptation.
Perhaps many who commented were not being entirely honest…? It would be disingenuous for me to claim that I hold no stake in the thoughts and opinions of my fellow humans, especially those with whom I have an online relationship, no matter how it stacks up to those relationships I tend offline.
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Oh Alissa. I just love you. I can absolutely hear your voice in your words, and I desperately miss you. While it’s a boon to have “Italy” come up as a country on my blog’s “stats page,” I’d like you better here.
(Side note: Today is the first day since I started my blog in late October that I’m not going to check my stats until the close of the day — which is 7:00 PM aka 00:00 GMT.)