Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Facebook, Friends and Staying Connected

Had a really nice catch up with a girlfriend last night. :)  It had been a few months since she returned back to work in Germany, after living here for the past few years, so i was eager to see her again and to check on what she had been busy with. I mean there's some updates on pictures and statuses on her fb and we did chatted online. But nothing beats meeting face to face, the focused presence, chilling over a meal and a drink, and just chat and let the conversation flows. And anyway, as it turned out, her life had indeed been happening!! haha! Which she kept from her fb facade. And i'm feeling excited too. haha! And it was really nice giving updates, sharing stories and experiences, encouraging each other, giving second opinions and simply having much to laugh over. Ah.. such is the simple pleasure in life. :) I like!

Anyway, so my friend was telling me, even though she was away, she was kept very much up to date on what's happening in Singapore. All thanks to facebook which she felt churned out news faster then Reuters. ( And of course iphone fb apps too, which allows access with just a touch on the screen.) And so, she was aware of stuffs before they were in the news, about the MRT breakdown, the ministers salary adjustment etc etc. haha.

And so too, she was updated on the relationship status of a common guy friend through fb, having seen the picture of him and his new gf on fb. But she also commented that back in Germany, she had became more mindful, as Germans in general are rather private people. So no tagging of people, or putting up pictures with others before seeking for their approval. And apparently, she is now the one who is most updated on friends update among her friends back home as many of them are not as active on fb. But for her, with friends across various countries, fb is a convenient tool to help keep in touch, which without which, she would be too busy or lazy to stay in touch.

And then we spoke about a friend who had recently got married and i happened to be one of the few invited guests. My friend was surprised this friend was not in my fb. And even more amazed that recently i added his wife just so i can access the wedding photos. Haha! I told her that it's not really that amazing. Afterall, i know the wife separately, and in fact,indirectly, i was the link to how their paths crossed. But as to why they are not on my fb, i guess the need didn't arise. I think maybe they did tried adding me before, but i was new to fb then and wanted to keep different groups separately and conveniently ignore and delayed the adding. (although after one round i am minimizing my fb again. lol) Anyway, it's not like you are not friends if you are not connected on facebook. My good friend is not in my facebook. Many of my closer friends are not active on facebook, and some are like quiet visitors or even stalkers! lol So it's not really a big deal.

Besides, there's other more effective ways to keep in touch, like the group chat on watsapp which is a better and more private way of staying connected and having private conversations with the same group of friends. But for me still, msn remains the best way to keep connected. (and i miss icq..) And i do miss letters...or at the very least, emails...

And while we were on fb, my friend again was surprised to learn that i have a main facebook account, secondary fb account and third tier fb account. And then still, the need to have blocked groups in each account! lol. "Why the need for so many accounts?", she asked. Afterall, you can just block access to your wall. I told her that was before i realised fb is never private or rather privacy setting is not totally foolproof. I once had a colleague commented on my status update even though i had blocked work friends from my wall. That totally freaked me out. And that was when i found out that while people you block on your wall have no access to to your wall, they can still receive updates through news feed... So anyway, I think at that point, i got my friend thinking about the potential merit of keeping separate accounts.

Anyway, i think there are both merits and disadvantages in keeping an active fb presence, and it also depends on an individual personality and situation (example for someone traveling alot, fb can be a useful tool to keep connected) I am currently trying to be on a cautious mode though. In fact, one of my new year resolution is to quit fb or rather, to be less active. (not sure if i can stick to it but for now, i am trying. :p)


For me, i have been reflecting and i realized that left uncheck, fb can really be a quite a distraction and a drain of time. In addition, the other day, this thought just came to my mind... if we were to display all emotions openly and indiscriminately, then there are no private feelings left to share and express to a special few..

 But maybe i am just being conservative.. After all, already 2 years ago, the economist published an article on how the social network are changing the way people communicate, work and play. Another article i read reported about how "the world spends roughly eight billion minutes on Facebook daily" and how "you never know where your own contribution to all this re-acquainting and social climbing and self-promoting will take you.." Or considering that there are now 800 million active facebook user, with more than 50% of active users log on to fb on any given day...It's really amazing, the facebook movement.. And here i am, thinking of slowly toning down my activity...

Anyway, just some thoughts on facebook and friends, plus some bad grammars which i'm too lazy to vet through.

And here's a closing quote to ponder from this blog i came across: 

“ - Facebook Friends don't mean much either. As the saying goes, you are lucky if you have two friends who you can completely trust. Most people on Facebook have over a hundred "friends". By using the term to apply to every most casual acquaintance, we devalue its meaning and encourage fleeting superficial relationships. Friends are about quality, not quantity. Facebook friends accumulation is like checking who caught more fish.  “Friends don't let friends use Facebook