To Facebook or not to Facebook…. ?

Meeting this group of friends this weekend had the strange effect of making me think about my use of social media. We are all a similar age, in and around our forties, and pretty much all have an interested in technology in one way or another, whether it be using iPods , macs, smart phones or wireless music streaming in the house. However less than 30% of us use Facebook or Twitter, and those that didn’t use them thought it strange that we would use the likes of Facebook to comment on our social interactions, ‘checking in’ at places or making a quick photo snap to upload and document the night out. Was what we were doing really that ‘odd’ ?

I think we live in a time where our social circles are far more dispersed than maybe they once were, and social media gives us the opportunity to keep in contact with those friends that we maybe wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet up with on a regular basis. Also, who doesn’t like a bit of voyeurism ? When I’ve got some dead time, I quite like to browse through my Facebook timeline to see what my friends have been up to…see their latest snaps of their day out or drunken shenanigans of the night before. It’s detail that we otherwise might not get to talk about if we only meet up only a few times a year, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to see these glimpses into someone else’s life and not rely on the high level highlights that you may only get to talk about, or in my case remember, during an annual catch up.

I’ve also reconnected with a lot of old school friends through Facebook, and although I haven’t seen most of these friends in over 20 years, there is something nice in knowing how everyone has grown up and what they are up to now, and it’s nice that they feel the same as me, in that they like to share what they are doing with other people, otherwise why would they also be on Facebook or Twitter.

I wonder if my non-Facebook and Twitter using friends see it as some sort of exhibitionism, and maybe can’t understand why I would bother documenting certain aspects of my life in this way, let alone read other peoples ? Or maybe I’ve just been brain washed along with the other 800 million people worldwide into using Facebook. For the time being I enjoy it and enjoy documenting my life on it……after all, is it really that different from someone who keeps an old fashioned diary ? Ok, a diary isn’t as public as using social media, however does a person who keeps a diary not secretly wish that someone will read it one day ?