I think I’ve finally understood Facebook. I admit I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it. Back in 2009, I first became enthusiastic about it when I attended a publishing conference and learned of the many ways we, as editors, could engage with our readers. I pushed for our company to set up Facebook pages for our magazines and through a collective effort, my edit team began the then-new process of embarking on social media as part of our workload. While not exactly cutting edge, it was exciting and it felt fresh. Since we were using it daily for work, we all had to make a personal page and this was harder for some of us than others. At the time, I had recently started a page, but never really knew what to put on it. And then it happened, just like my colleague told me it would. She had a Facebook page for a few months before I did and told me that once I got on the up-and-coming social media network, I wouldn’t believe the amount of people who would find me, both a good and bad aspect, we agreed.
Slowly, I put up a few photos and reported on my family’s happenings here and there, when I thought something worthwhile presented itself. I watched my friend’s list grow, as did my timeline, and I started to read what other people wrote on their daily status. Some folks wrote everything from what they were eating and which child was currently throwing up to what doctor they were visiting and which stores had the best sales that week. There were the rants about frustrating happenings of the day and then increasingly, there were the more disturbing personal attacks, over-sharing of the dirty laundry and other posts which felt invasive and proved to be uncomfortable reading. There were also the racist, sexist, or otherwise unnerving photos, memes, and articles that were shared which made me view certain people in a whole new, unsettling light.