Alphabet Challenge Day 7

Day seven of my September alphabet blogging challenge.

The letter is F

and the topic is FACEBOOK 

I arrived late at the facebook party. I kept hearing that it was good fun, you could post photos, and it was an essential networking tool and internet presence for writers nowadays. I wasn’t too worried about the first two, but the last one did interest me.

However,  I resisted it for ages on the grounds that it would waste time and it would increase my already highly developed tendency to procrastinate. I was afraid I would have less time for writing.

Those fears have come true. When my writing isn’t going well (and sometimes even if it’s going very well), I think I’ll just have a quick look at FB – emails fulfil the same function. It’s amazing the amount of time it’s possible to spend ‘amusing’ oneself reading other people’s posts. And sometimes a rash of commenting and liking breaks out. Has anybody else noticed the drive to comment and like seems to come in waves?

So, the downside is significant, but what I hadn’t fully appreciated were the positives. I have made a huge number of writing contacts through FB, have found out about events and opportunities and feel much more in touch with other writers.

I’ve got an author page, where I try to post writing news and activities. But I’m also conscious that people who go on FB simply to ‘boast’ don’t win many fans. Recognising other people’s achievements and news matters, and it’s nice to see how supportive writers are of each other’s successes (and ‘downs’). It’s also nice to post things that might be of interest to others. The etiquette of it all is as finely balanced as etiquette in ordinary life.

There is also a lot of fun to be had. Some of the pictures and cartoons people post have made me laugh out loud, and it’s entertaining to see people’s responses and join in the ‘conversation’. Recently there was a thread which asked for film titles where the word  ‘bacon’ took the place of one of the original words in the title. There were some really funny offerings, and I was quite pleased with my The Devil Wears Bacon and The French Lieutenant’s Bacon!

There are some worrying aspects about putting stuff about yourself out there into the ether, and I’m wary of giving too much personal information. I’m also not overly keen on facebook announcing to everyone that I’m going this or that event if I accept an invitation. But so much of our lives in on record nowadays anyway that it probably doesn’t make much difference.

There is one thing happening at the moment that I’m completely unsettled about. FB keeps suggesting Francis Maude is someone I might know and want to be friends with. Francis Maude?! WHY, why and why again?!

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  1. Christine says:

    Er- isn’t this day 6? Anyway, aside from that, I’m a real novice on FB – I haven’t even posted a photo yet. But I do enjoy the occasional foray into it and I am determined to start using it as a tool rather than a distraction.

  2. Oh, Lindsay, your comments ring so truly in my ears! FB could be a waste of time if one let it be but equally it keeps one up to speed with what’s going on ~ invaluable to the writer.

    For me, the key is that we control FB rather than allowing it to control us. Sometimes easier said than done but with a hefty dollop of common sense FB can be one of the best ways of networking / keeping up with what’s happening to and with others.

    I did a social networking seminar with a group of Rotarians recently ~ I think the best way of describing their initial response to FB / LinkedIn / Twitter might be best described as ambivalent (I am being polite here) but interestingly by the end of the session, which I faciliatated, many of them were actively considering the benefits of being on FB at least (more ambivalence toward LinkedIn / Twitter I found).

    Following that session, half a dozen or so tried it out and around half of them have maintained an FB presence.

    Interesting ‘eh? They did it for themselves … believe me if they’d seen no benefit they wouldn’t have bothered.

    Nice blog ~ thank you.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Is it day 6? Just goes to show I’m already befuddled by the blogging challenge – must be the Francis Maude effect!

    As I said in the post, Christine, I think FB is a force for good and the opposite. A great tool, but a weirdly compelling distraction.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Glad you liked the blog, Polly. I think I’m with the people on your seminar – I’m on Linkedin, but am not so far aware of any benefit (although I know someone who has received a lot of work through it) and I think Twitter would just be too intrusive for me. I don’t want to be constantly tweeting, nor receiving tweets. It seems as if it might be an extended version of people who don’t experience the moment because they’re too busy taking photos. But now they’re tweeting each moment. It’s incredibly popular, so I could be wrong.

    You’re right on the controlling FB, but think the opposite is often the case.

  5. Maureen Hall says:

    Is it me? What happened to Day 6 Lindsay? (I am really enjoying these blogs and don’t want to miss one!). As to Frances Maude: this happened to me once. I received a ‘Friend Request’ from someone I had no idea I knew. I looked up her FB page and she looked a bit familiar, so I accepted her request. A couple of days later I had a message: ‘Do I know you?’.

    So I think it’s a hic-cup in the system. Just ignore.

  6. Lindsay says:

    It’s me, Mo. It should have been Day 6! Glad you’re enjoying the blogs. It’s nice when people comment.

    I’m not so worried about some friend requests and suggestions for people I might know – but Francis Maude?! Still I suppose it could be worse – it could be Michael Gove or Jeremy HUnt!

  7. Robin Heaney says:

    Lindsay has slipped into a literary calender version of circadian dysrhythmia (jetlag from time zones is an example). She started on 1st but missed Sunday 2nd, therefore letter 2 was blogged on 3rd Sep so slowly but surely the letter drifts away from the date and it is easy to slip into date-stamping the letters – bloglag, if you will.
    The natural rhythms of the human body actually have a 25 hour cycle. This can be shown by experiments in long term sensory deprivation, where the subject’s perceived time drifts away from real time. In normal conditions our biological clock is locked to the 24 hour cyle by zeitgebers (time givers) such as night, day, meal times, social and work activities etc.
    Perhaps the blog should be Letter 1, 2, 3, etc. Why should anybody be interested in all this junk?
    On the facebook side, I am on FB, but I only use it as a necessary tool. Each time I leave FB I deactivate the account, so for all intents and purposes I am not there, or perhaps that should be not all there!

  8. Lindsay says:

    I definitely have bloglag, Robin. The letter is drfiting away from the date at the moment, but it will pick up speed as I continue to miss Sundays. It’s going to get too complicated for my little brain.

    On the FB question, WHY do you deactivate the account each time? I did have a glimpse of you once, but then you were gone, so that explains it. Do you have to start a new account every time? I don’t think I could be faffed.

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