Facebook is the best of sites and the worst of sites. I am generally a big fan. I love that I can keep in touch with my closest friends, updating a whole bunch of people at once. It's allowed me to keep that "every day" feeling with people that I used to actually see every day. It's not quite the same, but as a substitute, it's not too shabby. I love seeing my friends' family pictures, their accomplishments and their unbelievably funny observations and experiences.
A pleasant trend I've noticed is that I feel closer to some people that I never was that close to in person. This is true of high school friends, parents of my children's friends, former co-workers...people that were friendly, but we never really confided in each other. FB allows us to share deeper thoughts, and some not-so-deep-but-insightful comments. While impersonal on some level, it's liberating on other levels. I have to say, on the whole, I've been pleased with how much I've learned about my "friends".
An even more unexpected outcome...I've made new "friends". These people I've never met, but we've had "conversations". We share friends and jokes together..it's a little like we're meeting at our mutual friend's house for a party...only we're in our own houses...drinking our own alcohol. Well, when you say it like that it sounds weird, but really, it's kind of nice to "meet" new people, even if I haven't officially met them yet.
And then there's the downside to FB: defriending, unfriending, whatever you want to call it. You would never (ok, mostly never) do that in real life...at least not without a fight. People don't just make the statement "I do not wish to be your friend" like they do on FB. The thing about friend removal...you kind of know it's happening, but you don't know who it is. Someone doesn't like you...but who? (Well, I'm sure there's a way to track your friends regularly, but really, is that healthy? I think not.) I've noticed a few times, the number of friends I have changes...but I don't know who's missing. If you're not here, raise your hand... After a while, I may notice I haven't seen any posts from a particular person and I'll go check. Hmmm...Gone from the friend list. What's up with that? I don't THINK I did anything to offend...did I? Can't really retrace my steps...don't know when they left! Now this has only happened a few times, but each time I have a fleeting moment of hurt...until I realize that I barely knew these people. These are not my closest friends, but really, who likes to be told outright (well, sort of) that you haven't met some friend standard, especially when you don't know what the standard is. There's only one way to handle the FB drama...shrug your shoulders and give it a "whatever". Move on. It's not like you can work to keep those friends, and do you actually want to? Nah.
Overall, I can't imagine not checking in with my little community online. I can choose to interact as much or as little as I want. (Okay, I'm not sure how much choice I have anymore. I'm kind of addicted.) Yes, I have to ignore some comments and others make me roll my eyes, but that's true in real life too...only it's a heck of a lot easier to move along online. Nothing to see here...