Explain yourself, Mr. Farquhar

I understand that my series on Facebook, and perhaps the length and frequency of my posts, offended at least one person. What right does that guy have to talk about that?

Since someone must know, a friend of 20 years approached me for advice on Facebook recently. After some back-and-forth, I realized that maybe someone else would want to know this stuff. I would have liked to have known it when I was starting out.

Since it was really long, I divided it up into more manageable parts. Easier to read, easier to edit, easier for future readers to find exactly what they want via Google. It’s a common practice.

And yes, I’m posting more often lately. WordPress makes it a lot easier, so I’m more motivated to do it. I don’t know how long I’ll keep this pace up, but I’m not under any contractual obligation to anyone. If I have some decent material to post, I’ll post it. Some may say I haven’t written anything decent in my life. And to that I say, if they’ve read all of it, they’ve certainly earned the right to think whatever they want of my writing.

But I guess I haven’t really said what right I have to write about Facebook and human relationships thereon. Like most everyone reading this, I am a human being who doesn’t know everything, and may not always exercise his best judgment. But I have learned a few things over the course of making those mistakes, which is something not all human beings seem capable of doing. So I shared what I’ve learned, beyond just sending it to the friend who asked. In that regard, it’s not all that different from most of the other stuff here.

My critic doesn’t have to like it. I’d been blogging for years before we even met. This is my computer, not my critic’s. I paid for it. I built it and configured it myself too. I’m also paying for my Internet connection. My critic isn’t. If I want to use it to write about trains or computers or baseball or funny stuff my two-year-old son says, or anything else, I have that right. Facebook included.

I owe no further explanation. It could be days before I write about Facebook again, or it could be years. I would prefer years. I plan to be back tomorrow with something useful about small form factor computers.

2 thoughts on “Explain yourself, Mr. Farquhar

  • October 22, 2010 at 9:52 am
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    Steve gives Dave a +1 in character, and another +1 in clarity of thinking and writing. Nicely put, and a good response to someone who seems to have a chip on their shoulder.

    And please don’t add public voting to your entries. Let people vote with their feet. If you ever want constrictive criticism on your blog, there are better audiences than anyone with a browser, and better methods than a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. For everything else, there’s comments.

  • October 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm
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    I’ve been a Facebook user for quite some time now and I agree with a lot of what you said. Every Facebook user thinks some people share too much and other people share too little — “too much” and “too little” being relative terms as compared to what the user feels comfortable with sharing. The best way to enjoy Facebook (for me) is to connect with the people that share (A) things I like (B) in quantities I like. Then again, every user is different — some people think the best way to enjoy Facebook is to tend to their virtual farms on an hourly basis.

    And speaking of those apps … a good friend of mine was littering my wall daily with a Fortune Cookie message. When I asked him about it, he told me he had no idea what I was talking about. Turned out, by viewing that app one time, it was automatically broadcasting messages out (on his behalf, no less!) to all his Facebook friends! I suppose a lot of the other apps do the same thing, so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Still, I spend a few minutes each week going through and hiding apps left and right. Like you said, I care about my friends, but not so much about their virtual farms.

    Facebook’s best feature is the “hide this person’s updates from my wall” button. It’s great for people you feel obligated to add (family, co-workers, people’s children) and don’t care to hear from. As you mentioned, lists is a great place for these people to sit as well. I have one called “Silence!”, which does what you would imagine. I used to just drop those people, but that can be even more drama to deal with.

    And speaking of co-workers … egads, work and Facebook do NOT mix. Whether it’s getting busted (or busting others) in little white lies or checking in at the end of the day only to see that your co-workers have been on Facebook ALL DAY LONG, mixing Facebook with work is just a bad, bad idea. I deal with this by limiting the amount of co-workers on my Friends List, and limiting the amount of time I spend on Facebook during work hours. That’s worked for me, but I am seeing more and more social networking-related drama in the workplace these days.

    Anyway Dave, good series of posts. And to your critic, well, he has his opinion just like you have yours, but I wouldn’t bother giving that person the time of day, especially in a public forum. One thing I’ve learned as a writer and a semi-regular blogger is, for every 100 people that read and/or like your stuff, there’ll be a few that don’t — and unfortunately, the few that don’t will be the most vocal about it. Write what you want to write — there are literally millions of blogs out there; let those who don’t enjoy your work get back to tending to their virtual Facebook cows.

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