What to Do About Facebook


26 January 2011

It’s been creeping up on me.  This thing about not being on Facebook.  I’m there, but not really.  I was there — posting and commenting — during the busy months of book release last spring and summer; now I check in when people send messages or friend requests, but not much otherwise.  I just don’t have a natural impulse to share in a rapid-fire way; I don’t externalize in frequent blips.  I mull, I chew, fragments collide, then every so often I might have something to say.  The blog, which is just about obsolete now, is pretty much my speed.

But more and more, I feel it.  Everyone’s “over there.”   The conversation is happening.  I’m not part of it.  I recently clicked on the “People You May Know” link, and it was pretty stark; most of the people I need/want to be in touch with are all linked together and carrying on The Conversation(s), literary and otherwise.  On Facebook.  The President included a Facebook mention in the State of the Union, for goodness sakes.

It’s a strange realization — it’s been there, hovering, but it seems somehow super-clear now: LIFE is happening on Facebook (literary and otherwise), in an undeniable way, an increasingly substantive way.  I thought perhaps literary writers would be slower to take to it, generally speaking, but that’s clearly not the case.

What I’m saying is that being inactive on Facebook is feeling less like, say, not having an iPhone, and more like not having a cell phone at all. (Soon it will feel like not having email.)

And being an active Facebook poster, for me, feels as unnatural as picking up the phone fives times a day to call friends and say, “This is what I’m doing.  This is what I’m thinking.  This is what I’m wondering.  This is what I’m reading.”

I don’t know how people do it.  Is the best strategy to pretend like there aren’t real people on the receiving end?

I haven’t even gotten anywhere near Twitter.

I just tried to import my blog feed into my Facebook profile; I figured, okay, here’s a link between the two at least.  Facebook rejected my efforts.  Couldn’t identify my URL or something.  Hmm… the saga continues.


4 Responses to “What to Do About Facebook”

  1. Sonya, I am right there with you–no iPhone and very limited usage of Facebook, also mostly just for my blog (though I did get my blog to come up on FB–don’t ask me how I did it–and a lot of wondering about how to manage my time and my real and online life (or lives). I went to a birthday party recently where the guest of honor said how pleased he was to have more friends in the room than on FB.

  2. Marie Says:

    I loved this post. I became increasingly conflicted about FB in January. I like it to keep in touch with family who are overseas (which is like, everyone). I don’t like the posts that I share with people overseas to be visible to the writers I don’t know but ought to “friend.” Etc. Post AWP, I couldn’t *not* be on FB. Now I have two profiles. This has worked well for now. We’ll see what happens.

    • sonyachung Says:

      Ah, smart strategy, Marie… I tried something similar once using various groups and privacy settings but got tangled and confused about who goes where and then had a kind of crisis trying to determine who I consider “in” and who I consider “out,” so I gave up. Uy. But FB has suddenly, spontaneously decided to honor my URL, so now my blog seems to be posting on my FB page. We’ll see how that works…hope you’re well, thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tracy Says:

    Great. Even more confirmation that I have no life. I have no life in real life. And I have no facebook life. Ha!

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