Facebook is not your friend.

It's not a competition.

It’s not a competition.

Recently I upgraded my phone to a newer, splashier model which imported a bunch of Facebook contacts to what I thought was my phone’s contact list. Turns out this wasn’t the case and by moving some of those contacts to the phone’s contact library, some of the Facebook contacts were deleted. It happens. No big deal. Or so I thought.

Apparently, some people get personally affronted when they’re deleted from Facebook, intentionally or, as in my case, otherwise.

Let’s get something straight: I don’t for a minute believe anyone has, let’s pick a number out of the air here, 783 friends. What I believe is that your truest friends wouldn’t care if you were on Facebook at all since they’d prefer your company with them be spent in a more novel, face-to-face encounter during which you could actually connect, share ideas, a few laughs, and in the process become better friends.

This collection of “friends” on Facebook is akin to the silly games you can play on Facebook where the highest number of coins, or “friends,” wins. The trouble is, it’s not a competition. Nor should friends be perceived as something worthy only of accumulation as one would accumulate a collection of porcelain pigs or vintage bottlecaps.

Typically, I have bucked this trend where the friends I have on Facebook are actually those I can speak to in real, live situations and people with whom I have a close family or friendship connection. In fact, more than half the people I know aren’t even members of Facebook and we meet and connect only in these alternative manners. It’s a radical concept, I know. I mean, I get to have lunches with them, meet up with them for dinner and drinks, and some of us also get to chat – dare I say it – over the telephone where we can enjoy hearing the other`s voice. In other words, we make time for each other because we matter to each other. And it doesn’t matter to them that they’re not on my Facebook friend list because they know I don’t equate them as simply something meaningless to thoughtlessly accumulate.

Facebook is a playground, or rather, RECESS, for people who might otherwise be adults. It is entertainment only. It should be regarded as nothing more than that and I would caution anyone who uses it specifically to “connect” with people because by limiting your experience and interactions only to Facebook, you are truly missing out on the best parts of life when you can’t share that laugh with your friend and hear her wonderful laugh, or watch the warmth of joy spread over someone’s face as you tell them in person your good news. By collecting virtual “friends” on Facebook, you are cheating yourselves out of the real win.

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