January 4, 2010

-image-facebook and twitter

Okay. I need you to help me, pippa. I really just don’t GET IT. It’s my problem, I guess, since everyone everywhere seems to LOVE these two things. Honestly, I don’t quite understand the need for either of them, Facebook and Twitter, since I already have a blog. But I know people with blogs who do both of these things.

Just to see if I’m clear on their respective functions: Facebook is there so people you don’t want to ever talk to again can find you and talk to you and stalk you, right? That’s my understanding anyway. Twitter is there so — what? — you can tell people you’re going to the bathroom, right? But I already do that on my blog. So again with the noncomprehension on my part.

Beyond that, I find Facebook and Twitter aesthetically displeasing. The actual pages are ugly to me. Ugly and blah. I feel the same way about blogs. If they’re visually blah or a mess or displeasing to me in the slightest — let’s be honest — of ways — my inner fusspot will get all squinchy and I will simply not be able to hang there. I don’t know. I like to look at pretty things, I guess. I spent a long time designing the look of this blog — part of why I haven’t moved despite the recent church debacle/outing of my evil blog. Normally, that would have made me disappear into the ether in a heartbeat, but, well, I’m happy with the look of my blog and I worked hard on it. (The “designer” didn’t design it. I did. Designer followed my despotic instructions is what designer did, which is why it doesn’t look like any of the designer’s other designs. All of designer’s ideas were the POLAR OPPOSITE of mine. Little frustrating. Anyhoo. And whatevs.)

So.

If you Facebook, if you “Tweet,” can you please explain to me why? Tell me the benefits to you. I really do want to know, because I have a fair number of people asking me — regularly — to Facebook and Tweet and because I’m stubborn and don’t get it — aka, stupid — I continue to say no. I mean, express myself in “140 characters”? Is this even possible? And why? I don’t mean to sound like I’m slamming people who engage in these things, I just really don’t quite understand. I guess right now I view them as two more time consumers. Not “wasters,” necessarily; “consumers.” But, clearly, people seem to enjoy them, so I’d really like to know how they enrich people’s lives.

That’s the key for me with either of these things: Before I would participate, I’d need to see how they would enrich my life.

Any thoughts?

I’m listening, pippa.

30 Comments »

  1. I will watch the responses you get closely, Tracey, because I don’t get it, either. I have accounts on both Twitter and Facebook. I thought I was not getting it because I was just dumb. Your post doesn’t totally let me off the hook on that score but I feel better now. :)

    Comment by Rob — January 4, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  2. I have accounts.

    Facebook. I like Facebook because I can share things with people I’ve met online that I wouldn’t normally share on a place like a blog. It’s more personal. Also, due to the nature of military service, there are some people I’d lost contact with that I was able to get a hold of again. But, yeah, it’s kind of like having a different kind of blog.

    Twitter. I don’t get it either. I mean, I know people who are really into it. They enjoy being inundated by tons of short comments all day long. I don’t.

    Comment by Cullen — January 4, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  3. Well, I’ll weigh in on this one…….

    Twitter…..NO IDEA. But I’m not a cell phone person either. So I often don’t even know where my cell phone is, much less checking it to see who’s eating lunch or shopping at Target.

    Facebook……I finally joined, under duress…….AND under an assumed name. Now I find the people I want to find……I send an email telling them it’s me and no one I don’t want to contact can find me that way. For me, having the wickedly unusual first name made it impossible to use my real name unless A LOT of people I don’t want to talk to can find me. So meanwhile I get to see photos from the dozen or so folks I wanted to keep up with………and that’s been good. I guess having an assumed name flies in the face *ahem* of Facebook but that’s how I roll.

    Comment by Chick Voice — January 4, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

  4. I’ve tried Twitter, and I really don’t get it. If you don’t have a lot of people following you, you’re just talking to yourself.

    I loveloveLOVE Facebook, though. I’ve reconnected with friends from HS and college, plus most of my family is on too. The best thing is that you can control who sees what, like your pictures or your status updates. It’s also nice to see your “internet friends” in their natural habitat, as it were. :)

    Comment by Lisa — January 4, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  5. I don’t do Facebook because I have concerns with their privacy policies and because what I choose to share I do so on my blog.

    I do use Twitter. For one thing, it allows me to chat with a group of friends that are all on Twitter as well. I also follow some businesses, news sites, and writers for information that is updated faster by Twitter.

    I rarely use the Twitter web interface. I use a program called TweetDeck that makes using Twitter esier. I think it’s a Windows-only app, but there are similar apps for Macs and Linux-based machines, s well as iPhones, Blackberries, and Andriod phones.

    Comment by Vince — January 4, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  6. Rob — We can be dummies together. I know. This is not encouraging on any level.

    Cullen — /They enjoy being inundated by tons of short comments all day long. I don’t./

    Hahahahahahah! Cullen, that’s killing me. I can totally hear some curmudgeon coming through. I am SO with you on that. (Curmudgeons are my favorite kind of people, btw, so I mean that as a compliment.)

    Twitter seems so …. naggy to me. All those constant comments, harping at me. I think it would exhaust me. This assumes anyone would even Tweet with you, Trace. The EGO on you.

    Another thing: When I look at the Twitter pages of people I know, a lot of it seems to be like this:

    @ToodlesMcTush: You should put the cat on top of it.

    @SlappyVonBovine: Well, too bad I left my mark. In urine.

    @BillClinton: 9 pm. Tonight. I’m out of cigars.

    Etc. I don’t get that. I mean, I feel like I’m intruding on people’s private conversations or coming in with ZERO context. I read, and I don’t understand, and I just shrug and click away. These are just “chats” as far as I’m concerned. Like the kind I can have with people through Gmail or something. Why does that need to be public?

    Lisa — /It’s also nice to see your “internet friends” in their natural habitat, as it were./

    So how is it a more natural habitat? I really want to know.

    Comment by tracey — January 4, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  7. CV — That’s the ONLY way I would do Facebook, with an assumed name. Considering how much I’ve been found on my blog with just my first name, I’d NEVER use my real name in Facebook.

    Comment by tracey — January 4, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  8. Well, I don’t know. More real-life, I guess? I mean, Nightfly – for example – never posts anything personal on his blog. No pictures, not even his real name. But on FB, he does. I got to see him (so handsome!) and his Ladybug (so pretty!). I think that’s pretty cool. I actually LIKE seeing people’s kids and Christmas pictures and stuff. I’m weird that way.

    I’m not so, well, paranoid isn’t the right word. . .cautious, I guess, about privacy settings and whatnot. I don’t know, it just seems like the more secretive you are the more people WANT to find out stuff about you. But that’s just me. I don’t have my home address on FB, or my phone numbers, but I also use my real name. I don’t friend anyone I don’t absolutely know for sure I want seeing what little info I *do* have on there, and I closely monitor the boys’ FB pages.

    Comment by Lisa — January 4, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  9. I completely agree with Lisa.

    Comment by Cullen — January 4, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  10. I got Facebook as message-sharing method for a political action group.
    I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone there, as I don’t understand how to use it and my kids are unanimous in declaring it lame for someone my age, so they won’t teach me. I should probably delete it.
    Twitter strikes me as the epitome of self-absorption. Life is way too short for ‘tweets’. Don’t be so busy documenting that you forget to live.
    And get off my lawn.

    Comment by Sal — January 4, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

  11. Lisa — I don’t know. Part of me thinks, too, if I used my real name, NO ONE would come and how embarrassing would that be? I mean, I don’t want to be stalked — been there — but I don’t want to be ignorrrred (calling Glenn Close), either.

    So tell me. Do you guys who also have blogs put a link to your blog on your FB page?

    Sal — I don’t think there’s an age limit on it. Just my opinion, even though I’m not currently participating. Do it if you like it, I would guess.

    Comment by tracey — January 4, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

  12. I don’t, mainly because I don’t want my parents to read my blog (the cussing!) and my mom is on FB. Although, since I haven’t actually WRITTEN a blog post in ages, it’s kinda moot.

    Comment by Lisa — January 4, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  13. I don’t Twit.

    I do FB for a number of things. For almost twenty years I worked with HS kids in church and love to keep up with them and FB is the easiest way. I also us FB for poker. I love a little Texas Hold’em for a little chill time after a day at the office.

    On the blog and FB I use my real name. My coworkers have tried to encourage me to start an anonyblog so I can post the craziness that is my work. Since my bossies know about my blog and FB I’ve kept it family stuff and trivial nonsense. Twitter might be where I put the work crazy news. See, The Office has nothing on my office.

    I personally don’t want you to do the other things as they may interfere with your important work here. Your future SYC needs you.

    Comment by Brian — January 4, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

  14. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. My sister and one of my best friends basically bullied me (in a kind, loving way) into joining Facebook, and it’s been mainly a good thing. I’ve been able to reconnect with a few people from school or my old job that I wasn’t really able to do otherwise, and I guess it’s (for me) a way of staying in touch and in the periphery of peoples’ lives when we might not otherwise. It’s funny, when I was away at college I was a great letter-writer, but now, I don’t even do a good job staying in touch with email. So Facebook works for me in that area. At first I felt kind of like I had to do all the FB games and things, like maintaining an aquarium and garden and farm, but really, I have living creatures at home to take care of -I don’t need virtual creatures or plants. So I’ve stopped doing that stuff. I use my real name on facebook, and I’ve got links to my blog and my etsy store, and I’m just careful about what I write. I don’t friend a ton of people – and no one that I don’t know somehow or feel safe with.

    I’m also on Twitter, but that’s kind of an on again, off again thing. I use it a bit to chat with one or two people I met on my blog, and to try a little to bring traffic to my etsy store or the blog by linking to recently posted things, but I’m not obsessive about it. Days go by when I don’t post anything there. Or read anything.

    Anyway, that’s my feedback for you. I think it’s all as time-consuming as you allow it to be. Or don’t.

    Comment by Jayne — January 5, 2010 @ 4:32 am

  15. Think of facebook as sort of a family reunion or running into an old classmate at the store. You chat and catch up and then move on. You just run into them more often on facebook. I’m on facebook a lot, have talked to cousins I haven’t seen in years, high school classmates that I wondered whatever happened to them, and to younger women I see in church but don’t really have a chance to talk in depth there because they have little ones. I do that through the chat feature, and it’s only between me and them, not the public. But mostly it’s a way to keep in touch with my kids, who are literally around the globe. I post pictures etc. in a format where they can all see what’s going on at home. My kids use it to chat with friends they’ve met at camp, mission trips, or college; the younger kids talk to people they see in school during the day (can’t figure that one out). They have to let me be their friend too so I can monitor.(Only the younger kids have that rule, just to be clear.) No virtual pets, farms, etc. for me either, they are time wasters.

    Twitter? I’m with you. Who cares about the “I’m walking out the door. I’m in the car. I see a bird.” type updates!

    Comment by MamaTod — January 5, 2010 @ 5:25 am

  16. Disclaimer: After I said I “don’t get” Twitter, I then proceeded to bug the crap out of SarahK on Twitter during the Fiesta Bowl.

    I AM A CONTRADICTION!

    Comment by Lisa — January 5, 2010 @ 8:04 am

  17. SarahK is probably the best person to talk Twitter. She’s prolific and entertaining. I just don’t have the time to spend on Twitter, nor do I want to log on periodically and delve through pages of tweets.

    But, like Lisa, there are times I will jump on and spend hours dropping notes or chatting with someone. It’s a quick way to contact certain indviduals (ahem, SarahK).

    I’ll tell you what it really reminds me of – IRC back in the mid-90s. Except instead of your comments being tied to the individual chat rooms, your comments are potentially available to the world.

    Comment by Cullen — January 5, 2010 @ 8:18 am

  18. Brian — Now I’m totally jonesing for your anonymous “Office” blog!!

    Jayne/MamaTod — FB Farms, gardens, wha??? Wow. I had no idea. Is it just nice, pastoral stuff that you get to maintain on Faceboo, then? I mean, they don’t have a “FaceBook Cell Block C” that you can manage, do they?

    /I’m in the car. I see a bird./

    Hahahahahahahaha.

    Lisa — YOU ARE A CONTRADICTION!!

    I think Facebook is the only way SarahK will ever talk to me again, though. She’s starving me out to get me to join.

    Meanie.

    Comment by tracey — January 5, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  19. Uh, Trace, “Faceboo”??

    Comment by tracey — January 5, 2010 @ 11:38 am

  20. “I completely agree with Lisa.”

    Cullen, I am pleased that you think I am handsome, and my wife pretty. Right back at you, big guy…

    In re: Facebook – I’m barely anywhere anymore, much less FB. Haven’t updated in a dog’s age, and I honestly don’t know where I’ll find the time, especially since I haven’t done doodly-whoop on my own blog lately. I ought to put an animated .gif of a tumbleweed in my banner. Other writing has predominated when I haven’t been attending to real-life things.

    But FWIW I do like Facebook as a social-networking site. It’s the only way I can keep up with certain folks near and dear. My own siblings are easier to find there than anywhere else. It’s like to kid my brother that his cell phone has no place to put a battery; the last time I actually got him live I started leaving a message, just assuming that it was his voice-mail.

    But otherwise, I think I’d just blog. I have more control over content, I can be secretive or open as I please (of course, my Ladybug gets some editorial input), and if I want to go on and on as if I were leaving a comment here, I just do.

    Twitter, I’m completely nonplussed. Minused, even. Is it like Web chatting in an empty room? I could just read all my comment threads if I wanted that. If I find people on FB when I log in I can always chat that way. Heck, I may even want to talk with someone on the phone – shocka!

    If Sheila stops by, she could probably give a lot more insight. I know that she is a triple-threat on these here Webs (blog, FB, Twitter), and will link blog pieces on her FB page.

    Comment by nightfly — January 5, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  21. […] Tracey wrote a post asking people to tell her why she needs to be on Facebook or Twitter. For Facebook, I’ll just say: Twitter totally owns Facebook, and I have to make myself go to Facebook these days for anything other than playing Scrabble. But hey! Online Scrabble! So I do play Scrabble on Facebook. But I got so tired of everyone throwing sheep at me and asking me to feed their Farmtown cows and suggesting that I join their cause or become a fan of their hotel (no, really–someone suggested that I become a fan of some hotel in Dallas) or whatever that I stopped going there very much after I became obsessed with Twitter. Facebook is nice for sort of staying in touch with family and old friends and people whose names you recognize but you’re not sure where you know them from. It’s nice to see what people you’ve wondered about over the years are doing these days. And I used to like it because it was more private than my blog, so I could be more personal there, but Facebook’s new privacy policy makes it less private. But Twitter is better for news, politics, entertainment, hilarity, and conversation. And talking to all these bloggers I’ve been reading for years. […]

    Pingback by mountaineer musings » Blog Archive » Twitter haters — January 5, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  22. I was writing a comment about this, but it got way too long, and hey, I never blog, so I instead posted it at my blog.

    Comment by sarahk — January 5, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  23. NF — /and if I want to go on and on as if I were leaving a comment here, I just do./

    Hahahahahaha! I am howling!!

    Maybe Sheila will comment on this thread, but she’s a bit incommunicado at the moment, I believe.

    sarahk — What IS Facebook’s privacy policy??

    Comment by tracey — January 5, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  24. I love facebook. Being 3,000 miles from my family, it is an easy way for us to connect without my having to actually, say, talk to them for hours on the phone (ahem).

    I don’t love the interface. I don’t love some of the features facebook inflicts on its users (like seeing every single time someone else adds a friend – who cares?).

    I have reconnected with good people from various times and places in my life, which I daily find astonishing. On the other hand, I have been contacted by not so savory characters from my past, but even that was kind of, er, interesting in its way.

    There are many steps you need to take to safeguard your information, and I try to stay on top of that, so I feel pretty safe there.

    Lastly, I like sharing links to what I like and writing tiny posts, unlike this very long comment (ahem) and my own blog posts.

    I don’t get twitter at all. All the symbols and shortcuts … I feel like a dolt everytime I go out there.

    Comment by Jeannine — January 5, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  25. Jeannine, you can turn that off so that you don’t see who people become friends with. It’s somewhere in application settings or something.

    The symbols on Twitter are easy once you figure them out. I was overwhelmed by them at first, but now they’re in my blood.

    Comment by sarahk — January 5, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  26. I’m on Twitter, and the reason is split almost evenly down the middle between sharing professional ideas in my field (including several librarians I have met IRL) and communicating with internet friends. Twitter is like a combo of microblogging and chat to me.

    I’m not on FB, partly because I want to keep a low profile, especially if I have to look for a new job when the school year ends, and there are people I don’t want to “find” me. It’s probably great if you had a wonderful high school/college experience and want to get back in touch with your classmates, but that’s not the case with me. I actually had a college mate I never hear from send me a Christmas card with a picture of her kids and inside the card was scrawled the jocular threat, “Get on Facebook already!” She meant well, but I couldn’t help thinking, O.K., you don’t have time for e-mail but you can waste time on FB (as I hear many people complain it’s consuming their time).

    I might be alone and old-fashioned in this, but I fear that if I join and connect with people on FB, then none of them will ever feel the need to contact me again by any other means. I like e-mail, cards, and letters. A tech blogger named Danah Boyd (who BTW had a horrible thing happen to her with real-time comments that were insulting her and being DISPLAYED behind her while she gave a speech in Nov.!) highlighted a comment by “Mark M.” who considered FB “a chilly new robot and it makes having friends so easy that friendship hardly feels sincere. i’m trying to cut down.” Food for thought.

    Comment by Kate P — January 5, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  27. FB is kind of the opposite of how she describes it, in my experience, Kate. There are people that I didn’t know very well (say, at church and some peripheral family members) that I know a lot better now because of Facebook. And for some reason, they all think I should grow vegetables in their stupid virtual gardens.

    Comment by sarahk — January 6, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  28. Sarah. FB did the most awesome thing in its recent upgrades. It allows you to hide all of those stupid games, quizzes and crap without hiding the entire person’s posts. So, I no longer get all the Mafia Zoo or Power Jewel posts on my feed.

    Comment by Cullen — January 6, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  29. Yeah, except that you have to hide them one app at a time, right? Every day I’m hiding something new.

    Comment by sarahk — January 6, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  30. It took me a long time to get on Facebook. The main thing that kept me off so long was that a lot of my friends were talking about all of the games they were playing on there. I wasn’t interested in that. It wasn’t until I saw how many people Brian had reconnected with that I finally signed up.

    I have physically reconnected with three people that I haven’t seen in over 20 years because of Facebook. I found a cousin and a high school friend who live in Seattle and had lunch earlier this week with another high school friend. These have been great reunions!

    I know nothing about Twitter. I don’t even know how you use Twitter.

    Here’s an interesting thing – my 12-year-old daughter keeps asking us to let her sign up for Facebook. We’re not too keen on that. Her argument in that she has several friends and cousins who are younger than her who are on Facebook. I just don’t see why she needs to be on there.

    Comment by Kathi — January 6, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

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