A Quick Note About Facebook

Since I started doing pen reviews regularly, I have been getting a lot of friend requests on Facebook from many wonderful folks in the pen community. I haven’t been approving most of these requests on purpose. I’ve even had people sending me messages or emails asking why I haven’t approved their friend requests. So, I wanted to explain my own personal Facebook policy just a bit.

I’ve been using Facebook for a really long time (since you needed a college email address to access it), and I go through love/hate relationships with the platform, even swearing it off once or twice a year. For me, Facebook serves a very different role than Twitter, Google+, or Instagram. Those other social networks are all about broadcasting one-way broadcasting; I can put out blog post announcements, my pithy observations, silly photos, etc. When you follow me, your posts don’t automatically show up in my feed. And since I couldn’t possibly stay on top of the sheer volume of posts created by my followers, I am able to select the folks I follow independently of those who follow me.

Facebook is a little different. When I accept a Friend Request, I am essentially allowing you into my “inner sanctum.” Not only are you able to see my updates, but your updates start showing up in my feed. In some cases, it gives you the ability to start posting on my personal timeline. I know that settings can be adjusted, or turned off on a person-by-person basis, but trying to manage different friends lists, and staying on top of who has which set of permissions is more effort than I want to put into using Facebook.

I use my Facebook account mainly as a means of staying in touch with my family and in-person friends. I log in to see my sister’s adorable children, or my nieces and nephews, or my college friends, or my theatre friends–people I have a relationship with outside of the Internet. Some of what I post I post only for these people, and is far too personal to expose to the entire world. I also try not to fill my personal status updates with pen-related stuff, since most of my in-person friends don’t care about fountain pens.

Likewise, I don’t want to fill up my personal news feed with status updates from people I barely know. Facebook’s anything-but-smart algorithms already make it hard enough for me to see the stuff I’m actually interested in from my friends. But, and I mean no offense by this, if I don’t know you, I’m not really interested in what you ate for lunch. I’m especially not interested if you’re posting mean-spirited political articles or videos, stupid food and diet trends (*cough*Paleo*cough*), a bunch of “I bet most people aren’t patriotic enough to share this” posts, or the other detritus that I already have to sort through.

That’s why I created The Pen Habit Facebook page. It allows me to interact with pen folks in a “walled garden” of sorts without filling my personal timeline and feed with pen-stuff. Compartmentalization is my friend. I would much rather have a targeted conversation with people who are interested in the same thing and let them decide if they want to see it in their feed.

That is why, if you try to friend me on Facebook, I probably will not accept the request. It’s not that I don’t like you, or don’t find you interesting. It’s just that I am trying to keep my personal Facebook reserved for those people with whom I interact outside of the Internet on a regular basis. I don’t have a lot of Facebook friends (only 163 at the time of writing this), and that’s on purpose. I want to be able to share more personal stuff that really isn’t for wide-open consumption. And I want my feed to consist mainly of updates from my closest friends and family.

If you want to follow my public Facebook posts, you’re welcome to do so!  I often post non-pen related public status updates, and welcome comments and feedback on those public posts. But when it comes to my pen friends, it makes my life so much less complicated for us to have our own hangout on the Pen Habit page. So, if I don’t approve your friend request, it’s not because I’m trying to be a jerk. (That just happens as part of my natural personality…like my own personal version of Resting Bitch Face). It’s because I use Facebook a little differently than most.

  • kevin-landon@comcast.net

    Bravo for you and well said!

  • Glenn Higley

    Excellent notion. FB is bad enough with family and actual friends. ; )

  • Well that very reasonable. Youre in many platforms anyway so its not like….

  • Paul Burberry

    Good points, well made.

  • Clestra

    I definitely agree with you. Very nice & clear =D