...and it gave me a new view.
The other day, after making a Kiva loan via Facebook, I somehow got to a page that showed all my FB friends who had also made Kiva loans, and the countries where they'd loaned. I was thrilled to see this, and I went through the list, rapidly "liking" all of the posts to show my support for THEIR support for this organization.
Then, Facebook got mad.
I got a notice that I had "liked" too many things, too fast, and this was an abuse of the "like" button. I would be blocked for a period of time (they weren't saying how long).
Well, that was a surprise. But I figured it wouldn't be a problem.
As I went on through my news feed, I found it surprising how often I wanted to "like" something posted. Because I didn't want to take the time to comment. Really, how much time does a comment take on Facebook!? But "like" is a bit similar to leaving a blogstone, as we used to do: to show, "I am here, I am reading, I care."
I started leaving blogstones in comments, instead. To be sure, I kept forgetting, and clicking the "like" button, and being reminded of my transgression.
My banning didn't last a full day. I'm able to "like" posts once again.
It has me thinking, though, about how Facebook has contributed to the speeding up of our communications, and to the surface nature of much of them. We spend much more time (or at least I do) sorting through things I don't want to read (ugh, Upworthy) and looking for the meat of what I come to Facebook for.* Facebook, for me, can be antithesis of mindfulness.
This comes to the front of my attention today thanks to a great blog post by Jess, who writes at A Diary of a Mom about her family and her life with her daughter Brooke, who has autism. Today's post is about the change in the Diary community from its blog-only days to the large Facebook presence it now commands...and the problems inherent in that shift.
Back in the days when RevGals knew each other only or mostly on blogs, we took care with our posts, crafting each one and the comments, too, to ensure we were (as much as possible) saying what we meant. We considered our audience. We felt keenly the presence of the community we were building, and (whether consciously or not) I think all of us wanted to protect it, though of course we had no idea where we were headed. There were certainly some bumps in the road during that time. New communities, and established ones too, make mistakes, go wrong directions, and hurt one another. But our corporate sense was rich and the relative scarcity of opportunities to interact with one another made that very precious. We were mindful.
I'm not saying, "throw out the Facebook with the bathwater." Or, "go back to only blogging!" That train has left the station.
But the dilemma of burgeoning social media is perhaps a little bit similar to the difference between the first century church and the thing we call "Church" today...completely unlike the original in character, size, and the chaotic choices surrounding it.
It's so easy to dash off a comment or click "like" on FB without truly engaging with the item you're responding to. I do it just like everyone does. And then, sometimes, as with any electronic communication, misunderstandings of intent, voice and message happen, and they happen quickly.
I'm not saying I have an answer for this. Except, for me, at a time when I am trying to cultivate a sense of mindfulness (which means, try and fail, try and fail again), I need to approach Facebook differently too.
So. Hide and watch.
*Oh, and just so you know: I am devoted to Facebook and the good it brings. I love it. Also, I use it in my job so I am on it all day.