Friday, 7 August 2009

Facebook - should I face it??

OK - come on, tell me, everyone - why do I need a Facebook account? I want to know, seriously.

I've been invited by lots of people to join Facebook, and yes, I'm tempted, of course I'm tempted - I don't want to be the only person in the universe left out of something that seems to be so much fun! Or does it? My husband joined recently, under pressure from some new friends (as in, real live friends!) - but having joined, says he can't see the point of it and hardly ever bothers with it.

Being a writer, and spending so many hours on the computer anyway - and having now ditched the day job so that I do have (ahem!) a little more time to explore all these brave new worlds - I'm actually a lot more interested in social networking than he is. But so far, I've held back - and the only reason is that I'm worried about ending up spending all my time on these other pursuits, and actually squeezing my writing time out of existence!

I already have two websites to maintain (one as Olivia Ryan and one in my real name, Sheila Norton), two blogs (I started before this one), two e-mail accounts, a Snapfish account where I post my photos, and I belong to the RNA forum as well as following lots of other writers' blogs. I know I'm not alone - from what I hear, most writers seem to have at least this amount of 'networking' outlets, if not more - lots now use Twitter, too, as well as Facebook.

I'm not of the generation that has grown up with conducting their entire social life on the internet, and to be honest I wouldn't want that, at all. Like a lot of writers, I enjoy working in solitary confinement (!) and it would be all too easy to do this, neglecting 'real' social interaction and eventually turning into a hermit! But I hope I'm not yet old enough, either, to dismiss everything that's new, different, and technologically (for me!) complicated, as not worth bothering with.

So where does that leave me? I'd like some honest advice from others who, like me, enjoy a bit of social networking on the internet, but don't want to spend half their lives on it. Am I missing out? Should I learn to Facebook, prod, nudge, twit, etc? What are the benefits? Tell me, please!
I'll be very grateful !


  1. I've got a Facebook account, but I only use it to keep an eye on . . . er I mean keep up with my kids!
    I rarely post anything, but I do go on every day to check my crops/water my plants on my farm . . . sad isn't it? Show me a game and I'll get addicted!
    Personally I find reading/writing blogs much more "me" than Facebook.

  2. I laughed about you keeping an eye on your kids, Teresa - I've just read something similar in today's paper - an article by a mum who admits to using Facebook to spy on her teenagers & find out what they're up to. She says they're now sorry they invited her to be their 'friend'! Ha! Well, that's one vote ... er ... for or against? Not sure!

  3. I signed up to facebook because my friend asked me to so that I could keep abreast of what she was up to. But I never use it. I'm in contact with her a couple of times a week anyway so I know what she's up to. I'm not sure I get the Twitter/Facebook thing. My kids never invited me to be their facebook friends - if they had I might use it every day. Which is probably why they didn't.

  4. I'm on facebook but I rarely go on there. It all started when I was doing a creative writing course with the open university and they had a page so I decided to get an account too. I found that, to begin with, I wasted far too much time on there as it was a novelty and seemed duch fun! But that soon wears off and I find it a bit boring really. But it's great for keeping in touch.

    Julie xx

  5. Thank you, Gonna B and Julie - interesting to learn that you both have Facebook accounts but rarely or never use them. This seems quite a common theme with people I speak to. A bit like gym membership - you join up, full of enthusiasm, and then the interest wanes!
    I'm still undecided, although out of curiosity I'm thinking it won't hurt to do what you have done - join up and then only use it once in a blue moon! xx

  6. I joined Facebook simply because I wanted to contact someone and I couldn't think of any other way to do it and they were on the site so it worked! However, I never use it; I prefer blogging but even then there are only so many hours in the day and it is quite stressful keeping up - or at least I find it quite stressful - in an enjoyable sort of way...

  7. Great to see you over here, Helen!

    Well - I've done it - I got fed up with myself for dithering, and I'm now on Facebook. At the moment I'm finding it terribly complicated but then I'm always like that with anything new so I must pull myself together and try to work it out! But I do agree, it can get stressful keeping up with everything. I feel guilty if I don't check e-mails & blogs often enough, worried that I might miss something vital ... can you remember what life was like before the internet?! x