My love/hate relationship with Facebook

I've had a personal profile on Facebook since February 2007, and after seven years in this relationship, I'm seriously wondering if it's still for me. More and more, I'm finding it's becoming a love/hate relationship.

I get that people can and should use Facebook however they want, and I respect that. So the things I'm quibbling about are very specific to me, and things I'm personally not crazy about as a Facebook user with a personal profile (this does not refer to having an author or business page). You may or may not agree.

Things I hate about Facebook:

The same 30 people on my friends list (out of 600) are the ones who post every day.
And because they post so much – multiple times a day, for some of them – it drowns out the people who only post once in awhile, who are usually the people I'd love to catch up with. I know every minute detail of those same 30 people's lives... and I wish I could care, but I can't, because I've become desensitized.

People who use Facebook like it's Twitter.
There are folks who put out rapid-fire status updates every hour, and sometimes every few minutes. They do this while watching sports, or a TV show, or a movie. Or they post every detail of how their day is going, and how they feel about it. On Facebook, this is a drag, because everyone else gets buried, and so when I log in all I see is a page full of this person and nobody else.

You know what's great for rapid-fire status updates? Twitter. IT'S SPECIFICALLY WHAT TWITTER IS FOR.

People who VagueBook.
Example of a VagueBook status update: "I'm having a horrible day."
Multiple comments: "Oh no! Are you ok? What's going on?"
Initial poster: "I don't want to talk about it."
THEN DON'T TALK ABOUT IT. AT ALL.

People who complain ALL THE TIME.
You know how you avoid that person in real life who never has anything positive to say? Same goes for Facebook. Yes, life is hard and some days it downright sucks. But when all you do is complain about your neighbor, and the gas station clerk, and the server at the restaurant, and the person who cuts your hair, and your shitty day, over and over again... maybe the problem is you. And nobody likes someone who's toxic. Chances are, I've hidden you.

People who announce, "I've just cleaned out my Friends list and so if you can see this status, you're still here! Congratulations!"
Believe it or not, I have seen this status more times than I can count on both hands and feet. It's obnoxious. And mean.

You know what I do when I see that? I quietly unfriend you. So that during the next clean-out, you don't have to stress about whether to keep me or not.

People who flood your News Feed with promotional stuff.
Look, I get it. As writers, we all have stuff we need to promote, and Facebook is a great tool for that. Some promotion on a personal profile is fine, especially when there's something big to share.

But you know what happens when you use your personal profile to promote your books every day? When all you do is post quotes from Amazon or Goodreads reviews constantly? When the majority of what you talk about is your books, and not yourself, and therefore I feel like I'm constantly being spammed to buy something I likely already bought because we're Facebook friends?

I HIDE YOU.

That's why you see the same five people "liking" your posts, and only those same five people. The rest of us don't even see you because we hid you two years ago.

You know what's great on Facebook for constant promotion? An author page! Then people who aren't even your Facebook friends can Like you, and you can promote your stuff all you want, and that's cool because that's what an author page is for. Everybody's happy.

But hey. Facebook isn't all bad. There are lot of things I enjoy about Facebook, that keep me coming back.

Things I love about Facebook:

Photos.
I love seeing pictures of your kids and your dog, and of the awesome vacation you took. I even like your food porn.

Personal observations.
I love hearing about your real-life conversations, life lessons, things that make you laugh, things that scare you. I love authenticity.

Meaningful discussion.
Politics, current events, books, TV shows, movies, food. Bring it. I don't always participate, but I love reading the exchange of ideas.

Check-ins.
The better to stalk you with.

Relationship status updates.
Because who doesn't want to know who's doing it with whom?

Links to news and interesting articles.
I follow my publisher, CNN, the National Post, the Seahawks, and Stephen King, among other pages, and there's no easier way to keep up with the stuff that interests me than to be on Facebook.

Announcements.
I love it when something good happens to you, whether it be a book deal, or your sister had a baby, or you've hit your weight loss goal of 50 lbs. That's great news, and I love being able to hit the Like button and congratulate you.

I can also appreciate the ease of announcing something bad on Facebook. It can be hard to tell people something one-on-one, and maybe you have don't have the energy or the time to call people individually. Whether your sick dog just died, or you had a rough day at work and need to talk about it, that's cool. I'm here for you.

What do you love and hate about Facebook?

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