The real-time canonical collection

One day, yesterday, whilst skimming along on Facebook I came across an astute comment. It was by a fabulous and funny blogger I follow. She wrote, “I really need to scroll through Facebook before I post anything.”

This got me thinking. If you are somewhat active on Facebook you realize how much people share, over-share, and visit there. It’s where another world simultaneously exists. And after Zuckerberg went out and bought Instagram, that world comes with pictures too.

I used to be very protective of who I ‘friended’ on Facebook. I screened even some of my high school friends, people I’d gone to school with for my super-duper formative years. I wasn’t friends with all of them but that’s what Facebook was for. You could spy and think “I told you so” after 20 years. So I added them.


Then, time passed. Reliving high school and counting how many babies people had got boring.

Next I friended people I knew through running, parents of my kids’ friends, friends in the same social circles. It grew to include acquaintances and eventually people in my blogging community.  I realized I could use it as another way to connect to people. Again, as is the joy of social media, there was no obligation to show up, dress up, or arrive on time.

To me, Facebook is the real-time feed of our lives. If you have actively contributing friends a week’s worth of living is a lot. It doesn’t really matter whether you read all of your news feed; you probably won’t miss a life-changing opportunity. But if you want to know more about the people who will share more, it’s there.

As I write this, I pause to go check my news feed again. It’s like a virtual social scene: you can enjoy the conversations, delve into them more if you want to,  and catch up on the latest news/events/weather. You can have this but don’t have to feel like the girl nursing a warm drink at the bar because you said you’d try be social for an hour and you don’t drink.  You can get to know people without having the non-verbal assessment.  It’s amazing how many layers a person will reveal in their comments, or in what they choose to share.

Now, after 10 years, Facebook has become a kind of staple of communication in social media. We blog about what affects us, how we live our lives, what is important to us, what is personal. We tweet about what we have blogged about: attention-grabbing headlines and highlights of our thoughts. But a lot of what we share starts on Facebook, where the conversation and the anecdotes play.


Sometimes I question myself: Am I really benefiting from this stream of information from people I rarely (or never) see in person? Does it add value to my life, even as entertainment? But whatever the answer, I still have a choice on if, when, and how much I take part.

The whole thing can feel overwhelming and a little like a cul-de-sac where you are never sure when, or how, to exit. There are less boundaries to our privacy when everyone and their dogg can poke at anyone who has a Facebook profile (active or not).


There can be thoughtful editing that goes into a Facebook status: The weather is good here. Here, the weather is good. Here is good weather.

Still, I have chosen to carry on. Social media is a place I’m continually exploring with some hesitation. I blog and my blog moved to Twitter and I’ve now created a new page on Facebook. Of course I want to have people read what I write and follow me in all the mediums I have put an effort into presenting. I like knowing more about the people I interact with and who they are.  It has made my communication with others seem closer and more personality-driven, and not just re-posts and updates. While I don’t agree with all of what Facebook has come to stand for and represent, I still use it, because my friends are there.

P.S. Visit me on Facebook.

PPS No friends were deleted before or after the writing of this post.


21 thoughts on “The real-time canonical collection

  1. I am so on the fb fence. I quit for a couple of years then came back. It is usually so boring – I agree – to see photos of other people’s kids being “cute” or reading posts by people who think to change the world you say it on fb then move on.
    But there’s a good side too!
    You…like…see what people you used to know are doing…or something…

    • There is a good side to it and its one I enjoy. It’s a balance between enjoying what others are sharing and losing sleep to keep up with it all.
      Glad I found you on Facebook.

  2. Just liked you on Facebook! And I agree with Honie… that list is hilarious but oh so true!

    I read a few articles not too long ago about how Facebook can make people depressed. They follow their friends’ fabulous lives via status updates and pictures and it looks like their friends have it all. But it goes on to explain that most of us only post the exciting, positive things in our lives. Hence, making everyone else’s life look way better than our own.

    My status updates are pretty much any blog updates I do, pictures of vacation and food, and any interesting running story I have to share. I also find it interesting that my students actually do not like or even use Facebook. They prefer Instagram, Twitter, and Vine – a video social media site. It’ll be interesting to see what our social media world will be like in 5 years.

    • Hi Tracie,
      Good point! I’ve also read articles about how Facebook is like a skewed look at our culture and personal lives. It’s only the best things that we put forward. No one regularly talks about having depression or being diagnosed with a disease on Facebook. So we learn about a person, but we also only learn the best, post-worthy stuff in some instances.

      I’ve heard Instagram is getting far more popular with teens now than anything else. Funny how the visual aspect of it seems to appeal so much more. I guess we are visual creatures and so this suits are needs — they just learn about each other in a different medium.

      Thanks for these comments, and for your “like!”
      Have a great day!

  3. A facebook page! AWWWWWW YEAH. I am always surprised when bloggers are hesitant about social media because I consider it microblogging. Little blurbs about our lives here and there, all in written form.

    • Thanks Jen. I’ve debated making a FB page for my site for a long time. I like the idea of it being like micro blogging. If I could just get my blog more consistent and hit publish more often, the blog and page could feed each other.

  4. So far I’ve avoided putting my blog on FB mainly because it’s just one more thing to do. I find FB to be an incredible time suck. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy checking up on what my friends are doing, but even if I check in only once a day I can’t keep up! And quite frankly, there are people that I really don’t want to be FB “friends” with (but I can always hide them from my feed). I’m still Twitter free, too!

    • It’s sooo true that FB is a time suck. I think I put my blog on FB because it’s another way to share. Lately, it’s been a slow go of the writing/blogging – but FB is – as Jen commented early – a kind of microblogging. Since I don’t have a lot of words, maybe this is my avenue for now. Plus I reach some different folks on FB than I do on my blog.

  5. For me, Tania, I am often overwhelmed with all this social media. I work fulltime so my day job chews through 50 hours of each and every week. I’m always behind in my blog-reading and commenting. Trying to keep up with all this social media has cut into my writing time. Frankly, I think FB is a beast.

    • I too am behind in my blog-reading and commenting. I’d like to write more, but this takes time and inspiration. I feel like I have blog constipation where all I get out are nuggets.
      I also work full time, have 2 kids and need to sleep, exercise, and eat so it’s hard to nurture something that needs time. I really like your blog. I aspire to have my blog be a semblance of what you write.

  6. Great stuff, liked the intrinsic humour laced in throughout.

    Yes, sometimes to get to the bottom of intractable issues, one needs to look at the funny side of it. So what do you really see at the core of this over-posting frenzy all around? Does it really have anything to do with the person posting or the audience?


    • Hi Shakti,
      I think we all want to share and feel like we are part of a community. FB lends itself well to this. I think there is a symbiotic relationship between the person posting and the audience. If the audience responds well, there is encouragement to post more. If there is little feedback, we tend to rethink what we are saying and our approach.

      Are you a FB user? How do you find it?
      Thanks for commenting today.

  7. Your observations hit me where I live. I too use Facebook in much the same way. I do find the content on Facebook to be much different as the personality of my readers and my project roll out. The people on Facebook like the funnies… not so much the actual blog links and deeper content. I’m working on it, though. Ideally I would like there to be a cross-pollination between the two, so both grow and sustain each other. We shall see…

    • Hi Sandra, I so agree that personalities on FB help dictate what you post — especially on a blog page. You start to cater to your audience to create a rapport/feedback/conversation.
      I also find it a frustrating challenge when the funnies are not in me, and funny things are what draws attention. Time constraints and internet distraction disorder leads people to choose a laugh over a deeper link or more exploratory content.
      But I also find that if I am writing what is true to me, than I will create an audience that will resonate with that. It may not be large, but they can relate. I guess it depends on what we want.
      Thanks for commenting today!

  8. I only just started my Facebook page for my blog, but on my personal Facebook page, I just make sure to use common sense. If it’s something I wouldn’t want the entire world to know, then I don’t post it. I do find Facebook entertaining because my friends, both real-life and blogging friends, are funny people. If my FB news feed was full of people just posting photos of their meals, pets or kids, or if their status updates were really inane, I’d probably think differently.

    • Sound advice: if the world doesn’t need to know about it, it shouldn’t be broadcast on FB. I find that many of us have so many divergent groups of friends of FB (from many aspects of our lives) that not all is applicable to everyone. But then again, if they do read/learn about us in different ways, that’s okay too. I like funny FB stuff. It’s a great time-waster though.

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