". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Yesterday I linked to an article that discussed how sites like Facebook and Twitter are starting to encroach on some of the web communication that used to be mostly limited to blogs. Seems that a lot of people are finding them to be better forums for sharing links, photos, brief comments and late-breaking personal life updates. From my limited experience with some of these sites, I can see the logic. Blogs seem to call for a little more breadth and depth than the one-sentence news flashes (e. g., "Cheryl is getting ready to wash her car") that proliferate on Facebook and Twitter.

But what I don't quite get is some of the virtual aspects of these sites. I joined Facebook a few months ago, not because I wanted another account to manage, but because I wanted to be able to visit the home page of an old college roommate (she doesn't have a blog!). Little by little, I have discovered a number of other people I know who also have Facebook accounts and with whom I have become Facebook "friends" (meaning I can view their profiles and vice versa). I have enjoyed this new network, especially the connections I have made with a few people I wasn't otherwise in contact with. But I have been a little slow to figure out how to "play" on Facebook the way a lot of people do (with virtual games, presents, and contests). When I have received some of these invitations I have scratched my head, wondering what I am supposed to do. Now that I am finally starting to figure them out and respond (by accepting and/or reciprocating), I'm thinking that I don't have time for this, as fun as it might be! Not only that, although I wouldn't describe myself as a "slow" blogger (I am too eclectic in my subjects and inconsistent in my style), I do prefer the greater depth afforded by a blog. Visiting someone else's blog, and having him or her visit mine, is like sitting down together for a cup of coffee, while messaging on Facebook is akin to waving at each other from passing cars. When I read a personal blog, I feel like I've heard that person's voice and spent a little time in his or her world, whereas on Facebook it's more like we ran into each other at the grocery store, surrounded by a bunch of other people.

Right now, in addition to this blog, my 5-year-old's mini-blog on Tumblr (where I journal about things that he says), and my Facebook account, I also have a Wittenberg Trail account (social networking for Lutherans). And I am trying (hopelessly) to follow about 50 other blogs (some of which post only rarely or intermittently). While I try to write here almost daily, I often go a week or more without logging into Facebook, and it has been at least a month since I have been on Wittenberg Trail. I just can't keep up with it all (not to mention my email) while trying to be a good wife and mother (something I fail at, in ways big and small, every day). So for me the priorities are my personal email, my own blogs, and certain never-to-be-missed others. Sometimes there isn't even time for all of those. Anything more is definitely dessert.

This is all a rather long-winded way (slow blogging, yay!) of saying that if you are one of those dear souls on Facebook who has recently sent me a snowman, thrown a snowball at me, given me a Christmas present, invited me to join a group or take a quiz, or nominated me for an award, please don't be offended if I didn't respond. It may be that I am simply too dense to know what I am supposed to do. Or maybe I am just cooking supper, and the fun will have to wait.


Dave Zeman said...

Amen to that... and thanks for the chat while I was getting ready for work.

I too was lured into facebook. I find it easier to get intouch with a few of my family and a few friends that migrated there from MySpace.

My love of music will keep me on MySpace for awhile.


Susan said...

I don't have Facebook because of the same time restraints you mentioned. But Gary does -- solely so that he can see pictures from other people. He doesn't care two hoots about the "poking" and the "martinis" and joining groups and all that stuff. When I break into his Facebook account to see Katie's or Anthea's pictures, I am fascinated (and sucked in!) to all the one-liner notes about what people are up to that minute. I know I'd have a hard time not "throwing that snowball back" or not joining a group that I was invited to join. But like you, I wouldn't know how to do it. (Good grief, there are all sorts of blog awards I haven't put on my blog because it takes SO much effort to cut-n-paste it and figure out again how to copy the thing!)

All this to say, hey, Cheryl, I'm with you!

Elephantschild said...

I have a no-games, no toys Facebook policy - so, anyone who reads this and knows me on Facebook - I'm going to ignore your trees, farms, flair, snowballs, quizzes, and probably a bunch of group and causes invites too!

It's not personal. I don't have time!

(By the way, I think that's why Twitter is growing - it's like the flash-blogging of status updates on Facebook, but without all the other baggage.)

Susan K said...

As someone who has been on facebook since it was for colleges only (yes, I'm THAT special ;), I can offer you assurance that all applications are stupid. I never reply or participate. Usually the person using them (throwing snowballs and the like) was required to invite all their friends to even use the application. So I highly doubt anyone feels bad when people don't reciprocate with those things. At least, they shouldn't.

I like facebook for keeping up with old friends, seeing wedding and baby pictures, glancing at status messages, and reading shared items from my conservative friends. Beyond that, there's not much point!

As for keeping up with blogs, have you tried Google Reader yet? It'll change your life. It's the best thing since sliced bread. :)

Cheryl said...

I never got around to trying Google Reader, but I am now making use of the Following feature on Blogger, and I love it. I can follow any blog that has a feed, not just Blogger blogs. When I log into my Blogger account all the updates are right there for me on my Dashboard. Easy as pie!

Susan K said...

Oh good! I didn't look into how the following feature worked, but it sounds like a good analogue to Google Reader. Glad you're enjoying it!