Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Too much information

I love and hate Facebook, much like I love and hate Twitter (although my fondness for Twitter is nowhere near my fondness for Facebook). What I love most about Facebook is that it has allowed me to be in contact with people that I have lost touch with over the last 20 years, as well as family members and friends that I see every day. I will readily admit that I also enjoy looking at people's photos and reading status updates and following links that they post. Heidi always gives me a bad time for being a snoop, and yeah, I kind of am but I prefer to look at it as being interested in what makes people tick. It's people's little idiosyncracies and weird interests that make them interesting, not the boring suburban face that we all put on to a degree. It is cliched, but even though our similarities bring us together, it's our differences that so frequently cement friendships.

I have always said that I am pretty deliberate about what I put on Facebook - even moreso than I am on this blog. I like the way Heidi puts it (paraphrasing here) in that if people are reading my blog, they're here by choice. It's also a much more limited audience. Facebook, on the other hand, is full of people from all areas of my life - family, friends, old acquaintances, online friends and, most importantly, people I work with. And I feel like discretion is the better part of valor and balls-out honesty on Facebook is just not appropriate. So as a consequence, my most thoughtful, deep-thinking stuff always ends up here, going out to a much smaller audience which sometimes kind of bugs me but really, that's probably for the better. People reading here know what to expect of me and know that I will cycle into periods of intense self-reflection and then cycle out of them and blather on about Madonna like a fool.

But I've also found that even simple status updates elicit too much attention. For example, I changed my status to "Dan is drinking for diversion and thinking for himself" Friday night because I had heard that Joni Mitchell song and thought it appropriate for the weekend. But I got so many comments on that status from co-workers in real life that I'm tempted to go back and delete it, even though it is certainly not anything to be ashamed of. I guess I just don't like going in to work every day and having my status commented on. It is these kinds of things I think about when I am tempted to show someone I work with my blog. I don't think I would mind in the abstract - there are some I would really like to show it too, but I do believe that you have to draw some sort of a line between your personal and professional life, and sometimes, even Facebook is too much of a violation of that rule.

As usual, I am full of contradictions. I am irritated by both too much and not enough attention. God, am I high maintenance or what? ;)


P.Viktor said...

My golden rule with Facebook - do not add colleagues as friends. Even if they take offence, that's just tough. I disclose to my colleagues only what I want them to know, and hate the thought that they would have this window in my life. It's not too late either. Just delete them, and if anyone asks tell them. People get a bit uppity about it at first, but then they're not the one's you hang out with, so they'll get over it!

John said...

Facebook is my social network connection. I've pretty much left all the other ones behind, although I check LiveJournal on occasion.

Dan said...

P- I can see where you're coming from. I'm torn about going back and deleting people that I've added that I actually have to see. I have to decide which is more important - getting rid of the discomfort that I get from people talking about activity on Facebook at work vs. enjoying that personal connection that seems to be missing from so many work relationships. We'll see.

John - You do keep your blog going though, which is admirable in this day and age of tweets and status updates substituting for real blog posts. I will also never but NEVER syndicate my blog to Facebook. Just how I roll.

John said...

Yeah...I guess I don't think of the music blog as social networking, but it has turned out to be just that. So much for narrow interpretation.