Is Facebook unnatural?

Every once in a while I get to thinking about Facebook and come to the conclusion that it is actually pretty creepy. Typically to quell this Facebook anxiety I go through a large “unfriending” spree and remove people from my friends list. I decide who makes it based on whether or not I would approach them to say hello if we were both in Safeway at the same time. (This tactic works pretty well until you surprise yourself…)

Anyway, when I am in this head space I start thinking about Facebook and what life would be like if it never existed in the first place. The one thing that is undeniably true is that Facebook sustains relationships that otherwise would have run their course and died. Now when those relationships are friends from other cities or people you met travelling, Facebook really is an incredible tool to keep in touch and for that I LOVE it. But when those relationships include exes, exes family members, crazy ex-roommates, people you knew in high school but weren’t really friends with, etc. that is when it seems so completely unnatural.

Back in the day, before Facebook (or B.F.) these relationships would not be drawn out and sustained, they would have been limited to awkward run-ins and perhaps random drunk dialings. Now with Facebook, they last a lifetime! Of course you could just “unfriend” these people but something about that seems mean and I would guess that the majority of people would rather just keep them on Facebook and never interact with them instead.

Is it just me, or is there something just wrong about people being able to see a million pictures and interactions of their ex (specifically when one person isn’t over the other) and their new lady or dude and vice versa? There is also something terrible about when people start to date someone new and they must face the Facebook montage of that person’s past relationships. If exes are not on “I hate your guts” terms and are still Facebook friends, Facebook replaces their gossiping friend with cold hard proof and facts of things that they may not necessarily want to know.

The same goes with other relationships that should have died. When friends have a falling out but are still on each other’s Facebook because no one wants to be the rude one and delete the other, all sorts of drama can ensue.

Personally, I have taken the approach of “unfriending” people that I feel would fall into this unnatural category but I know from my friends’ experiences that not everyone does this. And I certainly didn’t always take this approach when confirming friend requests and managing my friends list.

So what do you think, is Facebook unnatural?

7 thoughts on “Is Facebook unnatural?

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  1. A colleague of mine recently shared this quote, “Facebook is for strangers who used to be friends and Twitter is for strangers who should be friends.” Thanks for the interesting post!

  2. I love this post. Yes, it is very unnatural…and this is coming from someone who ponders and inspects almost every aspect of human interaction. The situations you listed above were great examples (especially the “ex files”). Another one that really irks me and makes my life stressful is the “automatic adding” that takes place when people meet you or when people meet people you know.

    I am used to building friendship over time and organically. I found it odd when I would meet someone at a party and speak to them for all of 5 minutes and then later get a friend request from them, after which I would have every detail of their life on-hand and receive every update about every detail of their life on-hand. It is just so strange. Also, once the add takes place, it creates the assumption that the normal “grooming” and “getting-to-know-you” phases of the beginning of a friendship do not have to take place. It’s a lazy way of forming relationships (assuming people don’t back it up with real-life actions).

    Additionally, I have had friends of mine add other friends of mine that they met casually and that is all well and good. But if I had a falling out with the friend I am less close with (or vice versa), sometimes the closer friend continued an active FB friendship with the acquaintance they met through me. I just found those moments odd as well. In the past, closer friends would move forward together while the acquaintances that came through (especially those who may have had a falling out with you or your close friends) would drop off. It was unnatural that the relationships with acquaintances would continue either directly through you or through friends of yours.

    FB just keeps people in your social circle and purview that would, otherwise, have slowly faded away. I have a FB account but no longer use it except for the email feature. I plan on de-activating it soon, though. I also plan on ensuring that I don’t get too close to people who abuse FB. It’s similar to someone who abuses drugs or something like that. If someone doesn’t know how to use FB in a healthy way, I keep my distance from them (both as friends and lovers) to avoid future drama. That’s how I’ve chosen to manage my life in the FB era and I’m ok with that.

    1. Hi Ally,

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply! Great point about the “getting to know you” phase, I hadn’t thought too much about that one but it is very true. It builds a false sense of friendship.

      – Betty

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