I’m not on Facebook a lot these days. It can be great for a lot of people, but my experience of FB is this: I log on, get sucked in, and come out an hour later feeling kinda lousy about myself. It’s not that anyone is mean to me on FB. It’s just that FB users, myself included, often use FB to either present a scrubbed clean of any worries image (“I have accomplished all the things! My life is a sugared stick of butter, nom nom nom! Happy!”) or one that is deeply deeply sad (“I am misunderstood by all around me, if not downright attacked. I eat butter sticks and will die alone.”). (sidebar: apparently those negative statuses can have a negative effect on how others see you) Either one affects me adversely — I feel that I am not accomplishing enough (everyone I went to college with is a multi-millionaire) or I catch their bad mood (you’re right…life is pain…). So I log on maybe every two weeks, just enough to miss people’s birthdays. I have toyed with deleting it, but the social pressure keeps me in, as it does for many people, I think.
Twitter is a different experience for me. The same promotional nonsense is there, but it’s somehow more tolerable and honest due to brevity. Rather than couching, “I have a poem coming out, read it, yo” in some coy narrative, people on Twitter just say “Seriously, it’s over here, read it.” I like that. I can read or not read, but it’s not asking much more than that out of me. Mostly, there’s a lot of humor. People who use twitter well craft those tweets, and I end up repeating them to other people around me — which means I oddly, communicate more with the outside world while using Twitter than I do with Facebook.
So it was surprising today that FB was good for something. I posted a video of the Punch Brothers, and two poets I know began to discuss bluegrass, and to share bands. Now I have a list of good stuff to listen to, and I learned about people’s musical taste that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. The longer character limit on FB made this possible, so…yay?
But I still don’t think you are good for me, FB.