Taking Flight with Facebook

I sure like Facebook these days.

That’s not a very popular stance, I know. Most people seem to refer to the site in the past tense these days, keeping an account there just to be able to see the occasional non-public update posted by friends or to be able to log into sites through Facebook Connect.

For the past few years I’ve preferred using Twitter, with all of my tweets automatically reposted to Facebook, and then my interactions pretty much limited to responding to any comments that were made there. Then, in early June, I decided to quit Twitter. By quit, I mean that I stopped reading other people’s tweets, but continued to check for replies sent my way — which I really needed to do oncethis post went live. My tweets now act as a heads-up when I have a new post up, or when a new episode of the Codex is up — this compared to the 20-40 tweets I used to barf out daily.

But during this time, I’ve found myself using Facebook more and more. I’m not just writing the equivalent of my old tweets there, but have come to appreciate the fact that I can write a proper thought or opinion on something. Yes, I really am over the 140-character limits that Twitter imposes — what I used to enjoy for the brevity it enforced has turned into a feeling of unsatisfaction of always having to discuss things or express myself in barely formed sentences.

With the longer “status updates,” I also find that I really enjoy the discussions that happen with the comments (again, with no limit on length) that follow. And because I’m strict with my “friends” list — I’m sorry, but for me, Facebook is only useful and manageable if I keep my “friends” to just that, a list of friends — it’s coming from people I really do like to engage with.

Will I continue my Twitter exodus? Although I don’t want to restart tweeting like I used to, a friend today suggested that I should whittle down the list of people I follow to a minimum — I do still have a lot of friends who share much more on Twitter than on Facebook — so that I can still read but not feel like I’m spending too much time on it. I also think that this sabbatical of mine has helped me realize that it’s not necessary to read every single tweet that goes out by people I follow. I used to be bad about that, starting each day trying to catch up on all of my Twitter reading. I do appreciate the function of Facebook’s “Newsfeed” in that it has trained me to not care whether I see every single little update that are done by friends — and even if I do have a limited number of friends on Facebook, that still makes for a lot of little updates.

Oh, and if you are interested in what I write on Facebook, even if I don’t “friend” you, I do have all of my settings at a very public level — which is the reason why my wife won’t “friend” me — and so you can easily subscribe to my status updates.

If anything, all of this social network experimentation as made me pause and think about what it is that — at this point in my life — I want to put in and get out of these social networks, and that’s something that really needed to happen.

Facebook, Twitter, or whatever else we use, in the end, it’s all about finding the right comfort level to then enjoy all of the virtual interactions that the net — and the act of being connected on a global scale — allows us.

Bosnia. They don’t have roads, but they have Facebook.