Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Do I Do All Day? I Facebook

download This is the ninth in a series of posts about how a disabled person like me passes the time at home, now that I no longer work.

I’m aware that Facebook is childish, an invasion of my privacy, a huge waste of time, and the leading candidate to bring about the end of the world as we know it. Nevertheless, I am an enthusiastic Facebook user. Here are a few reasons why.

I can remain connected with organizations I belong to or that I am simply interested in, like these:
American Humanist Association
MA Class of 1982
Knightville Mill Creek (my neighborhood Association in South Portland)
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Positive Living with MS
Save the IBot
Boston Red Sox
New England Patriots
I can read the latest updates from my favorite local businesses, such as:
Snow Squall
Portland Lobster Company
Through EnjoyingtheRide.com, I have decided to make myself this transparent, public figure, albeit a minor one. I have become an open book, seemingly to inform people of what life is like for a disabled person, but perhaps because I simply crave attention. I’ll discuss almost any personal topic, as evidenced by my recent post about emptying my bladder. I have come to use Facebook as a tool to promote my platform, my personal brand –Enjoying the Ride. As with my blog, I consider my Facebook page to be public, and I treat it as such. I don’t put anything on my wall that I don’t want the entire world to have access to.

I approve almost all friend requests, other than obvious spammers. What does a friend-request spammer look like? Nobody knows, but their Facebook image depicts a young, sexy woman. Their “About” page is essentially empty. Usually the spammer and I have a solitary friend in common – one of my male acquaintances who was suckered into believing that a beautiful young woman actually wanted to be his friend.

I have almost 500 friends, but here’s the thing. I only subscribe to updates from maybe 100 of them. Here’s a partial list of behaviors that cause me to stop accepting updates from people:
Too many mediocre jokes or memes
Too much information about boring day-to-day activities
Too many posts about political positions that I disagree with
Too many posts about political positions I agree with (although I have slightly more tolerance for this)
Just too many posts, even if high quality
Too many religious posts – spirituality should be a private issue
Too much incorrect information (according to Snopes.com)
Pushing your personal business interests too hard
Being mean to other people
Talking to dead people on Facebook
I simply don’t know you at all and therefore I’m not interested in your personal updates (no offense)
I hope I don't sound too harsh, but if I don't manage this than I am inundated with too much information to process. Of course some of my closest friends and relatives get a pass on more than one of these exclusion criteria. You know who you are.

I also take advantage of the Facebook chat window. This mimics cell phone style texting. However, because I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking on my laptop, I much prefer to chat on Facebook as opposed to texting on a cell phone or tablet.

Finally, Kim likes to use the “check in” feature of Facebook. When we are at a bar or restaurant or some large event, she can indicate as much in her status update. More than once, friends have seen the check-in and have been nearby and joined us. But one time in particular the check-in feature was awesome for us. We were at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park a few years ago, and Kim checked us in. My cousin’s daughter, Cynthia, who we hadn’t seen in many years, was up from Philadelphia with her new husband, who we had never met, to take in a Sox game. She saw our update, and we were able to visit with them during the game. If not for Facebook, we would have been oblivious to one another’s presence at Fenway.

My friend Marc Stecker posted this link recently, explaining how our online presence, including things like Facebook “likes,” is used by marketers in a very sophisticated and almost creepy manner. Frankly, I don’t mind. After all, I’m an open book.

Although Facebook is riddled with shortcomings, there are enough advantages sprinkled in that somebody with as much free time as I have can benefit from participation. For very busy people, Facebook may be one habit that doesn’t make sense. For me, it’s a vital connection to the world outside my cocoon.

Here are my other posts in this series:

1. I Watch (mostly) Quality Television
2. I Digitize and Archive Family Photos and Videos
3. I Read Books
4. I Attend Courses at Top Universities (sort of)
5. I Nap
6. I Blog
7. I Read Other People's Blogs
8. I Obsess over Our Finances
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  1. Always wonderful to read your posts. And I have read every one! Thank you for sharing what you can only know, for the rest of us.

  2. Tami, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Wow, every post? I'm not even sure I've read all my posts, wait…