Saturday, January 31, 2009

So. Facebook. What an interesting thing it's been. Beni Hana got me hooked up sometime in early winter and I can't help but comment that it's your friends, people you know, who turn you on to the most destructive but highly pleasurable moments in your life. Just try it, they say. That's how it happened to me. That's when I started.

That's not to say I have regrets. I don't have any! I really enjoy Facebook and have loved getting to know and understand the program. Quite a setup. I am no small admirer of the value Zuckerberg has amassed in the uber-rich data base he created, dubbed and marketed as a social utility. I've posted pictures, joined the Gonzaga wave, and taken the What 80's Movie Are You? Quiz on Facebook. I've given Chanel cyber gifts but my favorite gifts to give and receive, omigod by a long shot, are the Pandas. I love those little rascals! I've clickety clicked out pithy comments at lightning speed and laughed and marveled reading others' pithy comments, laid down on the run. I am proud to have stood up and been counted as a fan of NPR and Coeur d'Alene; of Beyonce and Shakespeare; and of Aretha Franklin's Inaugural Hat, the Vandals and In-N-Out, by God. Just where else can you do that and have it be known?

I have been quite startled to be friended by my children's friends on Facebook. Who the hell would want to be friends with me? I've been invited to parties on Facebook. Keen, witty, funny, sophisticated invitations and parties via Facebook. I've get updated looks on my nieces and nephews on Facebook and worry when they are taking tests and at some of the people they are hugging and kissing. Those kids, all of them, are good looking enough and smart enough that their parents, my brothers, should have put them in convents when they had the chance. And when my adorable nephew, the light of my late mother's life, railed against that drunk and liar, Nicole Tonasket, I practically dug out my 12 gauge out of the garage and began looking for the shells. He IS such a sugar baby, that Willie. Who is this skank Tonaket that's causing him angst? I assumed it was a work related matter and I jotted down numbers the general manager of Will's employer and their competitors in town, whom I know and with whom I sit on community boards, just to be ready. Few days later, Will lamented on his page that this Nicole is a heartless jezebel. So now it comes out that it's a matter of the heart. But as everybody knows, all's fair in love and war. That's another thing about Facebook. There is honor and a code of conduct; make no mistake. What goes on on Facebook, should stay on Facebook.

That's not to say it does, of course. There are snitchy moles who tell tales of Facebook off site but these people prove themselves over and over again. They do this in other communities and neighborhoods, too. My observation is that these are people who have such low abilities socially and such minimal social skills, they will always be clueless and always being looking for friends. They never will see the line and appreciate what's out of bounds. So by and large, people tell their own story on Facebook, get to speak for themselves and their friends respond, in some manner, or not. In a lot of ways, it's a cyber campfire, where people pass the stick and talk.

So having said all that, here's my observation. Facebook robs you of expression. Yeah, I know. That's pretty much contradictory. So I'll say it again. Carefully. Facebook robs you of expression. You're on Facebook for a certain period of time and you lose your muscle to lay down the written word-- make a statement and extrapolate your thoughts, develop them in a critical and creative fashion.

First, it's much too slow. It takes time to lay out what you are thinking and feeling. Might as well write a letter home. And you KNOW how long that'll take. On Facebook, you can nip in for 2 minutes and exchange pertinent details and up to the second information with 23 people, if you are me. If you are Greg Bennett, that would be 1600 people. In 2 minutes. But you do this with with very few original words--blasting into Facebook at the speed of light with a password and an email address, pinging around the status feature, the fan and friend feature and on a super leisure day, the link and photo feature. You don't ever really talk about your passions or why you deem Greg Bennett a friend, in my case a valued friend, you just hit and run, hit and run, hit and fun, in a funny, spirited, adorable pinball way and then you exit. bye bye. Keep moving. In fact, if you actually spend time on Facebook, you are teased by your friends. It really is not exactly cool to spend too much time of Facebook. So you get really good at jumping up, rattling the bats, running the bases and signing off. And it laps over into the expressive features in your other life. Your life off Facebook; it is so much more work.

I have wanted to get better at expressing myself through photography this year and have spent many hours taking classes, taking pictures and viewing the work of any and all photographers in an effort to get better. In the process, I felt my expression through photography grow but felt my voice through the written word tighten and crack. I have thought much about this trade off and the balance of power between my eye and my head, the inexplicit and the explicit. The one thing I know for sure about expressing yourself is that there are no short cuts. And as in many things, if you don't use it, you lose it. You must exercise discipline and maintain muscle to build muscle. In the Facebook lexicon, there is no discipline, no muscle; just pleasure quick and sweet on your tongue. Fast, fast food.

And now that I've got a taste of it, I'm hooked. You won't find me leaving Facebook. But I've got to get back to writing my notes up here much more often, scratching out what's going on at Bellemaison. Because if I don't, that darn Facebook just won't be sweeeeeet no more.

JBelle
Bellemaison
The 'Kan EWA

15 comments:

Carla said...

I resisted Facebook for quite awhile and then caved. Glad I did...I've reconnected with so many dear souls that I had lost contact with at some point during my travels in life. And I've not just reconnected virtually either. We've been able to discover when we're town at the same time and actually really catch up. But a do agree about that pinging and all the rest. And I love your new header. Fabulous shot.

inlandempiregirl said...

Welcome back. I have resisted Facebook thus far only because of time. I know when I join which will be soon it will be a new small obsession in an already obsession filled life. I agree with many of the points you made in this post. I have enjoyed your photographs as they continue to show your talent and express beauty in the world. I also have missed your writing. The bed story was such a fine introduction to the cross country tour. Oh... and I really like the blog banner photo. I am going to take some time when the sun comes out again to do some closeups of simple objects. I think we will see the sun again!!

The Fool said...

Well Cheech, I've never been on Facebook. Now, I feel I must check it out. I guess I'll have to give it a visit sometime. Just what I need...one more cyber habitat. :)

Julie said...

I checked out facebook too and got hooked. I haven't found you yet, Jbelle. I'm still looking.

JeanC said...

I kept telling myself I was never going to do Facebook, but some online friends started a couple groups and needed moral support from some trolls, so I only signed up just to give that support. It was all downhill from there LOL

Oh well, I've managed to reconnect with some old friends, said hello to an old high school boyfriend and so far haven't run into any one I am related to :D

JBelle said...

Carla, Facebook is unbelievable. I chose to keep my friend list to a minimum; it's now at about 24 and it feels fat to me. But I marvel at my kids' list with 700 friends; they all know the latest about each other and are able to muster the troops effortlessly when one needs support. Our receptionist's son just went to Iraq and received over 200 notes of encouragement from his high school classmates. How cool is that?!

JBelle said...

Mrs. Roosevelt,

You make my day. I so look forward to hearing from you. And I can't wait until you sign in on Facebook! You'll know where to find me pretty quick. Don't want to spoil the mystery....

;)

JBelle said...

Hullo Homer! Facebook is way slick. Way slick. Super easy. Super menued up with choices that will make it exactly right for you. And in and out you go, all over the place. It's like, a, ride at Magic Mountain. fun, fun, fun. Let me know if you go in and take a look.

JBelle said...

Julie, Hooked that fast, huh? Me, too. Currently, I am dying laughing at the Kidnap game. My brother kidnapped me and took me to Honolulu...where I actually was the day he kinapped me. And he didn't know it! It's sooo much fun!

JBelle said...

Jean!

How absolutely GREAT to see you here! I usually am really on the look out for people I am related to,too, because I'd do just about anything to avoid them. But in the case of Facebook, my friends are my children, my brother and my nieces and nephews, whom I adore. For me, it's a real family affair and I freely post pictures and fun, because I know they are the only ones that will see them. It's been very odd to have their friends friend me, had another one pop up yesterday, but I have to say I am highly complimented and really enjoy knowing what's going on with them. Hey, maybe we should start an HBO group on Facebook?

green libertarian said...

Aye. Sigh.

Julie said...

Jbelle, like you most of the people on my friend's list are actually family who I rarely see. I was so surprised to find so many of them there! I think that's why I got hooked so quickly.

JBelle said...

OMIGOD! YOU LIVE! YOU BREATH! Forgive me, my Lord; my Green Libertarian Lord, I had lost faith. But now you live--I AM REDEEMED!

(running and jumping full force onto GLib, the rat bastard, who vaporized without a trail)

JBelle said...

Jules, We should get Backwage on Facebook. He would be sooooo much fun.

Julie said...

jbelle, Backwage is already there! He's been there since he closed down his blogs! I was so shocked to find him there. He seems to be having a great time too.