Thursday, March 15, 2012

Friends and Enemies

First, the easy part. Deer. Straight up foe. I had just asked my friend Grace if she started using her deer spray yet and this happened the very next day. This year, I resolve to have the most horrible smelling yard (coyote pee) with the most beautiful reblooming daylilies.

The more complicated issue of the moment involves friends. Facebook friends that is. My literary agent (no, I've never mentioned this before and if I weren't so damn superstitious, I'd divulge more info right now...) has asked me to get on Facebook and I have complied. I don't know how much I'll use it because I've never been too fond of the idea. I've always been the type that prefers few, but close friendships. After being on board for a few days, I just have some thoughts, questions, reservations I'd like to journal here just for posterity (or for feedback too!). Here there are, listed in no particular order...
  • I like to say things like "in no particular order", and as I was posting something or updating my wall or status or whatever it's called, my daughter encouraged me to shorten what I was saying. She said, "It's not e-mail, mom." I'm not sure I'm ok with this. I can be concise when I need to be, but for pleasure writing, I like the freedom to be as long-winded as I want to be.
  • I was against Facebook when I saw an acquaintance who had become a new mother. It had been months and months, and when I told her we should catch up and that I wanted to see pictures, she immediately dismissed the idea and said, "They're all on Facebook". And that was the end of that.
  • I have friended people I have not talked to in 20 years. That's really freaking weird. What's the etiquette? Do you have a personal conversation? Do you just quietly accept the friending and continue to not talk? That doesn't really seem right to me. At the same time, I'm going to admit that as much as I love the "catching up" in real life, I don't necessarily want to. Yeah, and for the friends who have quietly accepted my friending, it's weird to just say "Yo", after 20 years, yet at the same time, if nothing is said now, it will just get more and more awkward to suddenly say "Yo" after some length of time.
  • I realize I'm being uncommonly sensitive about this. I was talking it out with my teenager. I was wondering: if I comment on an old friend's wall or post or status or whatever, and I DON'T comment on another mutual old friend's, that person will see, and won't she then be upset that I didn't comment on her's? My daughter assured me that she would not care - that people don't really care. Again, not sure if I'm cut out for this.
  • When my teen was younger and first got on Facebook, I established an account just to stalk her. I really masked my name because I didn't want to be found by anyone. I had like 5 friends, one of whom was the PTA President, and also a guy named Jerry Moyer - not sure who he is exactly. Anyway, on my birthday, I got a few e-mails wishing me a happy birthday and I thought that was so sweet! I wondered how some of the people knew and then I realized they found out on Facebook. Humpf. I wished an old friend a happy birthday via e-mail recently, and I realized that along with my wish, he probably received 300 others. But how is it possible to convey that his birthday is burned into my brain and that we almost never talk anymore, but I think of him every year on that day not because I get some sort of notification, but because he was my best friend for years and years?
  • I fit a lot into my life. It is not logistically possible to do everything I want to do in each day. For the first 24 hours after establishing my fb account, I was completely addicted. It's hard not to view every photo, figure out how this person knows that person, back up and see what he or she has been doing, read all the notifications, etc. I see how people can get addicted and the thing is, it's truly very time consuming to catch up with so many people - and at a count of about 45 friends, I'm at a practically loser-like popularity status. How do people with hundreds of friends do it?
  • I love the safety of my blogging world where people come here because we share a common current interest. People voluntarily read this stuff I write and that seems preferable to being forced to skim through my current interests that all my "friends" see - and that many don't give a shit about.
  • I don't like rejection. I don't carry a lot of baggage, but my fear of rejection takes up a good deal of that small bag. To "friend" someone and wait to be accepted... ha ha, well, it's just not fun for me. And I've definitely had real life friends tell me "He friended me but I ignored it", and then we both laugh at that chump's misfortune. I don't want to be the butt end of that joke!
  • I made a mistake listing my work locations and it ended up posting another job as my current job. When I went to change that, I think everyone received notification that I made a change. Now come on, do people really want to know every minuscule move I make? I just feel weird adding to the clutter of life with these kinds of superfluous notifications.
  • Sometimes I want to comment on things, like for example, all of my sister's updates. But at the same time, I don't want everyone else to read what I've written. Not for any particular reason - perhaps because I'm ultimately an introvert.
So there you have it - all the overanalysis and hypersensitivity related to my first few days on Facebook. There's a lot I'll have to reconcile, but for now, I'm open for friendship!!!


  1. Less is more on Facebook ;) And you can hide or change your birthday (so it's not published) .. I blog under a different name, and don't use my kids first names because it's on the world wide web. I don't list my town either .. just area. On FB and your blog, Pictures you post from your iPhone may have the exact location embedded if your phone settings have the location turned on. I find that people who are on FB blog less. It's such an instant world and if a sentence will convey what a whole blog page does, ... well, let's just say be careful. Check your settings carefully, don't have a lot of personal information available .. and don't make it too easy for people to find you. Over and out :)

  2. My sentiments exactly wendy - not about the deer, we don't have deer or coyote here. I used to be on FB and found there were some positives. My daughter is/was a Burmese refugee and I felt good being accepted into that community on FB. But it's time consuming and ultimately not satisfying like our garden blogging community, where there's real sharing of interests and there doesn't seem to be baggage. Google+ seems to be publicizing every miniscule move we make and making things more complex and so far I've managed to resist that too. Sounds like you're going to need to resist pressure from your literary agent. Isn't that life? We have to make choices, prioritize, all the time.

  3. I'm with you on Facebook (and thanks for friending me - warning that I forget to check it often, though!) especially about the long-winded part. Which is why what I mostly do there is post blog updates.

  4. Facebook can be be both tricky and fun. Have 2, make that 3, pieces of advice:

    1. Be you. If you want to write long updates infrequently, do so. Facebook is about personal connections, so be true to who you are as a person. If in person relationships and conversations are important, that doesn't change simply because you are now 'On Facebook'. If you want to say hello to a long lost friend, do so. You can do it in public on their wall, or send them a private message. What every you feel is appropriate. Etiquette is etiquette, it doesn't change behind a keyboard.

    2. Think about why you are on Facebook. If you are on Facebook for a purpose other than keeping in touch with close friends, remember that when you post. It's a great way to promote your blog, and by casually talking about certain topics that are a part of your daily routine, you give yourself more creditability in a given area.

    3. Spend as much time exploring the privacy settings as you do looking at your friends old pictures for the first few days. You can do a lot with what people are allowed to see, and even putting people into lists with specific permissions. You can also set permissions to individual photo albums. If you do make lists, keep them simple, so they're easily manageable down the road.

    You'll be fine, and you'll find that a lot more people are interested in what you have to say than you realize!!

  5. I completely understand all your questions and misgivings about Facebook because I've thought about most of them myself. I'm still a Facebook resister of sorts. I set up an account about a year ago, mostly so I could establish pages for my blog and for my husband's business, but I don't sign on much. It creeps me out when I get emails from Facebook telling me that I haven't signed on in a while and I need to sign on because "people are waiting to talk to you".

    I think Facebook is introducing features to allow you to restrict your updates to certain groups of people? I guess I should learn more about that, but that's why I set up a page for my blog - to just talk about gardening stuff. Once you have an account under your real name, you can use that account to set up a "page" (sort of an alternate identity) for anything you want. I don't see much difference between "pages" and real-life user accounts except that pages can't "friend" anybody, they can only "like". And I admit to being peeved that some of the gardening pages I "liked" haven't liked me back.

    I'm very conflicted about all this...

  6. Haha, I have to smile aloud as I read your experiences on FB. It was exactly what I had gone through on my virgin FB voyage! Now I have grown to like FB.

    FB is different from Blogging in certain ways.

    1.Blogging is like writing a book/diary. It is so nice to read back past topics of interest again and again because of the blog design, formats, labels and archives features.

    2. FB communication is almost instantaneous, like having interactive conversations with people of similar interest. We post what's on our minds and get quick response. It is a good way to get feedback. We can send a private message to a 'friend' and have a private conversation.

    3. FB helps me reach out to some of my blog readers who visit my blog but never commented. These are another group of active net users who prefers FB. Perhaps they are always on the move and surf the net with their mobile phones. I have learnt a lot from them.

    4. I like the photo feature of FB. If I need to classify many photos of one category, e.g. many different varieties of the rose, I create a Rose Album on FB which is much easier to access, view and comment. I can easily add or get a new comment to a rose picture posted a few years ago.

    5. When you are a member of FB Groups, e.g. Rose Society or Home Gardening Group, you will have a daily active interactive communication with members of similar interest. This is like an informal study or chit-chat group.

    If privacy is a concern, you can have separate accounts for personal and public use. You can change you privacy settings on FB to decide who can access your FB details. Same goes for FB notifications to your email account.

    Wendy, welcome on board the FB voyage!

  7. Really great tips. i think there's a lot I need to learn, become adjusted to, and see the merits of. Thanks for the great advice - and commiseration!

  8. LOL You're taking it too seriously. :-) I have 220-ish facebook friends. I read through posts once in the morning, once in the evening. My life doesn't allow for more time on Facebook than that. I occasionally miss things. That's okay.
    If you want to write something long-winded, write it on your blog. I suggest using Networked Blogs (a Facebook app) to link your blog right to your Facebook page. Then if there's something you want to say occasionally, you can post that as a status.
    I was addicted for awhile, too. Mostly now, I just read, and write my blog, and post funny things my kids do for my family to read.
    And be really careful with keeping things pretty well secure - don't add folks that aren't actual 'friends', keep pictures and info private, etc.
    And, um, literary agent? Awesome! I wish I was cool enough to need a literary agent, go you!

  9. Although I am on FB, I am not a fan. I initially joined in to keep an eye on my son, especially after he went to college. If he posted something, I knew he was alive. (Yes, I am that crazy and paranoid about my kids). He has since stopped FB and moved to twitter, which I refuse to I just get to worry about him the old fashioned way.

    I did also promote my blog there in the beginning, but than I found I didn't really like that part to much. It seems too self promotional.

    What I found I like is being able to see photos from all my cousins who live in Minnesota and I've also re-connected with alumni from my small high school. I've even created a alumni group page.

    Other that that, I'm not a big fan. The postaholics make me a little crazy. I probably check it once a day and I don't take it all to serious. That would be my best piece of advice...don't over-think it.

    It does seem that your joining may have a move business aspect to it, so you should remember that and keep focused on how best to leverage it.


My awesome gardening friends...thanks for leaving a comment! I don't typically repond here, but I love knowing who you are so I can visit your blog as well.

btw - if you're trying to show me nude Miley Cyrus photos, sell me nikes or viagra or antibiotics, or encourage my lovely garden readers to visit your site on solar panel construction, or seo-whatevers, sorry, but I'm not publishing your comment. If you want to moderate my blog - well, I can't keep you too busy, and the pay would be horrible. And lastly, no. I'm not interested in Club Penguin cheat codes. Thanks anyway.

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