If Facebook Disappeared Would You Notice?

Onefool

My 11 going on 30 year-old daughter finds my high school yearbook and can’t decide if it is more interesting to make fun of the way the class of ’87 dressed or to read what people wrote.

“Dad, how many girls signed your yearbook and why did so many write “love” in it?”

I smile and suggest there are some stories she doesn’t want to know.

“Don’t treat me like a baby, I know you had other girlfriends before mom.”

“I had a big life before mom and before you guys came around. So did she. You should too.”

She doesn’t know somewhere in the pages she will find the words my high school girlfriend wrote to me and instead of a simple “love” she said “I love you” and made the usual promises teenagers make to each other.

I don’t take the book from her hands, if she stumbles upon it, she stumbles upon it. Though I am not bothered by the idea of her finding those words I am not particularly interested in having the discussion that will come if she locates them.

Better to play it cool and not react because she is far more likely to get bored and move on. Or maybe a friend will Facetime her and that will be the end of it.

“Dad, I know you are friends with a bunch of girls on Facebook, will I find your ex-girlfriends there?”

Sure enough her phone rings and the conversation ends. Dad’s yearbook isn’t nearly as interesting as whatever conversation she is going to be involved in now.

If Facebook Disappeared Would You Notice?

Yeah, I am connected with a few of them but until my daughter mentioned it I didn’t even notice that there is no interaction there.

We connected on Facebook years ago during the time when very few of us put any thought into whether there should be rules about who to connect with, probably because we were too busy poking people or throwing sheep at them.

That was before Zuckerberg and company spent countless hours working and tweaking algorithms that make it hard to see the updates of the people you care about, let alone those you chose to connect with for other reasons.

And it was certainly before Facebook became a place where people would collect to go apeshit about politics, hunting and whatever else incurred the wrath of the faceless, nameless internet mob.

Sometimes I look at the crap I see there and I ask myself if I would notice if Facebook disappeared.

Is it adding value to my life or is it taking something away?

Maybe a little bit from column A and some from column B with a dash of something else in there too.

Don’t mistake that to mean that I think everyone of my updates are meaningful, significant and or special because they aren’t, but some of them are a hell of a lot of fun to write.

What Kind Of Schmuck Quotes Himself?

The answer is me.

I do.

Those are my words below and there is a reason they are there.

“What I know for certain is there are people who come into our lives who turn them upside down and inside out. If you open the eyes inside your chest and clear the clutter from your soul they will help you wake up and remember who you are and who you might have been.”  Write From The Heart & Edit With The Head

When I collected the mail today I received the latest copy of Sports Illustrated. It is the one with Pete Carroll on the cover and the tease about it being the 25th anniversary of Friday Night Lights and how the author followed his heart back to Texas.

I looked at that cover and glanced at one of those Occupy Democrat pictures that are going around on Facebook and shook my head.

Not because I am a Democrat or a Republican but because it is more opinion disguised as fact and pushed our for emotional impact.

You don’t need to know that I am registered Democrat but that I have considered an independent for years but I’ll share it now because it fits the conversation I am trying to have with you.

What I want for my children is to eventually have the sort of relationship I alluded to in that quote above, not the one about arguing with a fool but the other one.

I want them to find someone who turns their world upside down and inside out in a good way. I want them to reach a place where they think long and hard about what they believe and why.

Ask questions and be prepared to go a different direction.

I want them to think.

Facebook doesn’t make me think very often. That might be because of how I use it and I might be responsible sometimes for adding to the noise too.

But I am aware of this.

Hell I am probably far more aware of what I do or do not do than at any point in my life.

Doesn’t mean I haven’t been the fool in the argument or the dude arguing with the fool. Sometimes I have done so knowing full well I was involved with an idiot but I continued because my intent was to influence the lurkers, not the jackass who kept telling me how smart they are.

Hell it is not that hard to find people who are smarter than I am. I can name quite a few and if you ask around there will be more than a handful of people who will volunteer names of people they think are smarter than me too.

If I told you I don’t give a fuck if they are a midlevel VP at a bank in Texas you might wonder if I am speaking to one person in specific or not and I’d say it doesn’t matter.

That is because being smarter than me is nothing special, at least without qualifying it and adding some sort of context to it.

That is part of the problem with so much of what I see on Facebook, it lacks context.

Can’t and won’t say I am going to delete my Facebook accounts because I don’t see a need to go that far, but if they closed up shop and it all went away I don’t know that I would miss all that much about it.

What about you?

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12 Comments

  1. Mitch Mitchell August 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    You caught what I was going to say in your response to a comment here. If it weren’t for mainly family and friends I might not miss Facebook. Realizing that it wasn’t really so long ago that the only way I could reach most of these people was via regular mail and phone calls, which cost a lot because few lived close, I love Facebook for giving me the ability to connect with so many friends at once… even if not all of them are close friends. Frankly, that’s what it’s more appealing than G+ or LinkedIn in that regard, though Twitter is still my favorite social media place to hang overall.

    So yes, I’d miss it. Then again, there’s lots of things I miss the older I get…

    • jacksteiner August 6, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      My mother’s side of the family set up a “reunion” group this past week and it has been the main reason why I have spent more time on FB than normal. As you mentioned, the opportunity to speak as a group and reach out like this has made it very compelling.

      Certainly makes me forget about the obnoxious political commentary that is never ending.

  2. kat August 3, 2015 at 5:01 am

    I went for over a year without touching Facebook. I wasn’t a conscious decision; I just realized one day that I hadn’t been on in a while and that I hadn’t even missed it. I recently started going back on and it hasn’t changed a bit. There are some good things that make me smile and there are the things that pushed me away to begin with. If it went away for good, I’d miss the easy way of keeping up with certain people who live far away but, if I cared enough about them, I’d find another way to keep in touch. Overall, the loss of Facebook wouldn’t have that much of an impact on me.

    • Jack Steiner August 3, 2015 at 7:07 am

      If it wasn’t for work purposes keeping me around I could see how I might forget about it for a year or two as well.

      I do like how it has helped me keep in touch with some people but it definitely has enough crap floating there to make me wonder.

  3. Adrienne July 31, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Hey Jack,

    Saw the headline and had to come read this post. You know, my answer would be that I would notice of course but would I actually care? Probably not.

    I’m finding that as more and more time goes by I’m not that thrilled with Facebook anymore. I use to love the conversations I had with friends but I still only have my handful of friends that we really stay in touch and trust me, we do that on other sites than just Facebook.

    There is SO much crap now that I spend more time either blocking or unfriending people because they aren’t connecting with me, I’m not connecting with them and I don’t want to see that stuff. It’s like a mini news fest and I hate watching the news.

    Will I delete my account? No because of the reasons I did mention. I still keep in touch with certain people and every once in a while someone will come out of the blue. Plus my nieces and nephews are on there and they’ll share their photos there but not personally with me so if I want to see them I better keep my account. LOL!!!

    Love your take though and I graduated in the 70’s so you can imagine what my year book looks like. Your daughter would be laughing so hard. LOL!!!

    Have a great weekend.

    ~Adrienne

    • Jack Steiner August 3, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Hi Adrienne,

      I had this same conversation offline with some friends and family who all voiced similar opinions to what you said here.

      The more I think about it the more I focus on the family aspect because that is really where it has made a huge impact for me.

  4. Janine Huldie July 31, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I keep saying the same about Facebook and seriously still can’t stay off of it yet. It is so like a moth to a flame sadly here!

  5. Gary Mathews July 31, 2015 at 6:09 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Facebook, but yet I’m constantly checking it so I guess I am the fool. LOL

  6. cathyjonest July 31, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Hi Jack, I connected on Facebook years ago to keep up with family. It kind of snowballed after that. I check it a few times a week now, but it’s become such a commercial platform that I’m kind of disgusted. It’s either someone screaming political crap, selling something, or sharing some stupid video, until it’s hard to see the good stuff. Then there are the ads. Sheesh what a pain in the ass it is now. I guess evolution hits everything including Facebook but I wouldn’t mind if it went the way of the dinosaur.

    But my junior and senior yearbooks? Still cool. Especially the one from 1969 when someone decided the cover need to be orange and hot pink instead of the school colors. Forty six years later, it hasn’t lost the cool factor.

    • Jack Steiner August 1, 2015 at 11:38 am

      If it wasn’t for its ability to help me keep in touch with family and friends that live far away I probably would drop it. That is really the main thing that keeps me hanging around.

      Those yearbooks sound cool, I like moving away from school colors and showing a bit of independence.

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