The minute I get up to speed on one new facet of Facebook, something happens and I'm confused. It isn't the technology, that's relatively easy to understand. But there are emotional and moral situations popping up daily that catch me off-guard. Still, I get it. I wouldn't want it to change, but now I see that Facebook can be a cruel mistress.
My most recent dilemma is with my grown kids. They were the reason I got on Facebook years ago. They mounted a campaign. "Get with it Mom" they'd say. They cajoled, they begged, and eventually persuaded me to try it.
Now, I'm a pretty trendy Mom, so I wanted to be cool and hip. I setup a FB page, and posted a picture of myself from my Venice vacation. I started inviting friends and family to join me and mounted my own campaigns with non-users.
And a wonderful thing happened. I saw regular pictures of my grandkids all the time. I connected with my nieces and nephews I never saw; I got to hear about how my girlfriends were doing and whose birthday it was. And, some people were so funny! They posted the best and sometimes the wisest things about life, love, the war and politics.
It was great. Finally, instead of having to read the media-crafted version of news, I got instant thoughts by my favorite people. I connected with the broader world in a way I was never able to do. And, I was able to keep people updated on me since I live between two cities.
Yes, I have to admit -- I'm really into it now. I blog and tweet things. I'm not only on Facebook, but I'm on Google+ too. And my kids? I've left them in the dust. They don't even know what Hootsuite is. I mean, how out of it are they?
All this was pretty fun, until I noticed my oldest son was no longer showing up in my Facebook feed. He'd quit Facebook! He was upset when his friends nominated him for a Facebook best picture contest held by their favorite lakeside bar. He was shirtless in the picture with dollar bills pasted on his chest. Yes, you guessed it. The picture won, getting tons of likes. But as much as everyone liked it, he was shocked that he had no control over his picture. So, he bailed on Facebook.
Right around the same time, the posts from my youngest daughter stopped. This was especially tragic to me because this daughter was a wonderful Facebook contributor. She posted great pictures of funny things she saw throughout the day, made comments on local news that were interesting, and posted many kid photos that I loved. Still, she was having some kind of drama with her Facebook friends knowing her business and getting snarky. Ultimately, she eliminated her entire profile. Without any warning at all she was off Facebook... for good.
Two kids down, two kids to go...
Well, the story continues. Last week, my youngest son had an obsessive old girlfriend make trouble for him at work. Have you ever heard of Facestalking? He didn't realize she was facestalking him until she saw that he had a new girlfriend from his postings. Because of this old girlfriend, my son's job is in question. Of course things will work out in the long-run, but it's shocking to think that Facebook is a risk to his livelihood. Needless to say, I received an invitation to his "jumping off of Facebook" party. It's next Wednesday.
I am now down to one child left on Facebook. She is my oldest daughter, and I hope she continues. She lives the furthest away and posts the most wonderful videos of her kids. I can't see her and her family easily, so her postings make me a part of their lives.
But, here's the rub. I miss my kids more than ever now. I hear from them occasionally and maybe see them every couple of weeks. They have their own families, jobs and responsibilities. But I miss knowing who these people are becoming. I spent so many years helping them get to where they are, and now I don't even get to hear about it. Keeping me updated on their life is the last thing on their minds. And I don't want to be like my nagging mother, begging them to let me know what's happening. So, I feel like something is ending that I won't get back.
I guess the moral of the story is that Facebook isn't for the weak of heart. Hopefully the bonds you feel with those you've friended are true ones. And hopefully you'll do what you need to manage your presence, rather than bail. You may be leaving something behind that would be a true loss.