Facebook has consumed (I mean spare time-wise) the lifes of 600MM+ people around world, yours truly no exception. There is no update too small to not make it to Facebook. Then from thereon the journey of that trivial update takes a life of its own. Many Likes and Shares later, the journey of that update, be it a link or a quirky video keeps traveling through the FB universe to only resurface a few more time.
Amid all these updates, Facebook keeps surfacing up long disconnected friends, relatives, neighbors. It is simply amazing to see people whom you have not heard from or seen in years connect. For that we thank you Facebook.
As I keep rebuilding those frozen-but-not-forgotten relationships, I run into few conundrums. I am sure, as a fellow Facebook junkies, you share these with me too. Would love to hear other conundrums you might be running into.
Conundrum #1 : Know the name, seems familiar, but nada after that.
You get this request from a person whom you faintly remember. You look at the profile of the person and see many of your friends connected to this person and seem to know(read remember) this person. Now you are stuck with this dilemma – do you accept this request or not? If you do – what is going to be the starter conversation? If you don’t accept, does that make me a arse? Will I run into this person and be embarrassed for not recognizing. Is just disregarding the request my safe bet? I am sure the people I remember and send invites to have the same experience on the other end.
Conundrum #2: Now that I am connected to childhood buddy, do I inquire about their parents well-being?
You connect with someone after 20 years. 20 years is a long time and the growing population of white hairs on the side of my head is testament to that. Lots of things happen during 20 years and included amongst those are eventualities. Parents get old and end up going to a better place. So how do I or should I broach this topic with a customary “How are your parents doing?” What if they are no longer in this bad evil world ? Or wait it out till that person updates something about their parents and once I checked-and-doubled check the (present) tense in their sentence inquire about their parents’ well-being. I don’t know about you but I have a tough time talking about the topic of “eventuality”. I am still struggling with a loss of a cousin 5 years so much so I barely call his parents.
BTW, this same issues applies to details around spouses, girl-friends and so on.
Conundrum #3: Granted Facebook allow lists to group friends, but who goes where.
Facebook allows you to make lists and group friends into purpose-built circles. While not as good as the Google Circles and painful to send select updates to select list, it also presents challenges on who should you share what. Family albums are meant for friends and family and definitely not for past colleagues. But splitting hair amongst all the multitude of security controls in Facebook (Facebook PMs, are you listening?) it gets crazy and you always feel that one of the friends you allowed to see a photo would comment and that comment would be visible to the other who I kept out. Doesn’t it? I am trusting Facebook security model to not do that but I always have a hard time. Right about now, I share the photos of my kids and other personal stuff with only people very very very close to me.
There are many more quirks and questions I run into on a daily basis using Facebook, but that said, for a introvert like myself, it still gives a great way to stay in touch with those I care about. With Google back at the “social networking” thing with much more vigor, things can only get better, methinks.