19 June 2013

Facebook and Me

I was a late convert to Facebook. I was hesitant to get involved with "social media" because it just seemed too much -- too much information, too much time, too much everything.

When I dove head-first into publishing my novels, everyone (and I do mean you) told me I had to have a Facebook page for my writing. Fair enough. I started a professional page and began putting up content related to my books. Lots of content. I'm reminded of the comment someone made back in the 1930s about the famous vaudeville stars (think Jack Benny and Fred Allen) as they made the transition to radio: In vaudeville, you could use the same material every show, every day for years and get laughs. On radio, you use it once and that's it.

To figure out what I should post, I began looking at what others posted. There are a lot of baby pictures. There are a lot of cat pictures. There are a lot of photographs of people I don't know. But all that's fine. It's interesting to see what other people think is interesting enough to post on a public forum.

I joined Facebook in May 2012. In that year, my feelings about Facebook have changed. I still think it's too much information and too much time, but I'm also starting to understand its world-wide appeal.

I've connected with people I knew from high school. People I didn't realize I missed being in touch with. I met new friends (a lot of new friends) who share my interests. I've latched on to some personal and professional pages on which I read very interesting stuff. I love learning, and it's a new opportunity.

Occasionally, I post personal thoughts and insights -- like this one. I can't imagine too many people care to hear my opinions on things or stuff, but I occasionally post something I consider pithy -- or at least interesting.

My spouse, Matt, says I always discover something really fascinating about ten years after everyone else found it fascinating. Fair enough. I don't care if I'm late to the party as long as show up. (And, for the record, I don't believe in being late. It shows respect to be prompt.)

Generally, I'm enjoying my time on Facebook. Although there are still a few things I don't understand.

For example, why do people think cats are illiterate? All the cats I know would ask properly for a cheeseburger -- and would add "please." Cats are many things -- stupid isn't one of them.

Another example: how can people not find animals beautiful? I love all the kitty photos, the doggie pics, the rabbit snaps. All of them. But I don't understand why people feel a need to "shame" their animals on a public forum. Would you like it if someone publicly "shamed" you every time you peed on the bed, or ate through a power cord? Probably not.

Lastly, I don't understand why people say mean and hurtful things on other people's Facebook pages. It astounds me some of the rude comments I've read. Perhaps it's the supposed "anonymity" of posting online that gives people power to be mean. But, even if no one else in the world knows you said it, YOU still do. There's no anonymity in knowing yourself.

On the flip side, I've been on the receiving end of some very considerate, thoughtful, even kind words from people who follow my pages or just stumble onto them. People I've never met, perhaps people I'll never know in person, taking the time to type something kind and encouraging. I'm so amazed at the generosity of some people. I always try to be kind and considerate of others -- keeping in mind the tired but true dictum: if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

But, right now, I have writing to attend do. I'm working on another novel and my time is very precious, and I need to -- wait, another picture of baby kitties! Hold on! I'll be right back.

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