Friends or Fools?

I have 121 Friends on Facebook. I know this because my limit was actually 100 and I have gone over. Why? Not because I have too many friends. Hell, half these people are related to me. It's the Facebook peeping friends. They innocently friend you and you accept, or vice versa,  thinking won't it be nice to catch up and say hi. And usually it is. It also expands your social network and subsequently, your job network.  Which in this economy is critical. Staying in touch with people, reconnecting...it's a social weave that has become a lifesaver for many. It's helped businesses start up, or keep from falling down. It's connected old friends and created new relationships. And while it has it's downside, it's a really fabulous thing.

But. (There's always a But.) Then it begins. You begin to notice them. The Few. The Quiet. The Nothings. They never post anything. They never share anything. They never comment on anything. Oh they log in though, because that's the one thing you can't hide on Facebook. If you are on...your friends will know.

So there they are. Staring at you from their little photobooth squares. Sometimes it's a photogenic likeness. Sometimes just a bizarre in-depth look at their eyebrow. Sometimes, as in my case, a childhood portrait that really keeps my youthful glow alive. But back to those silent friends watching you from their perch on your screen. You send them an instant chat message. No answer. You send a message. No answer. You go to post a "hey there" on their wall. And discover  they don't allow anyone to post on their wall. Or comment. Or Share. Unless it's their own post. Then you can share it as long as you don't comment on it. Huh?

So that begs the question, just why are they on Facebook anyway? Simple. They are either self-promoting their business/blog/book/product... or...they are watching from the Clouds. Yup. Facebook Peepers. Some call it Facebook Stalking, but that's not accurate. We shouldn't confused them with the criminal scary type stalkers. Facebook Peepers  are harmless though quite obnoxious. They go check the newsfeed and see what everyone is doing. Then they click on their friends' profiles and view their walls and comments and photos. They explore all the nooks and crannies of their friends' lives, without ever letting anyone into their own. Creepy, isn't it?

I actually unfriended a few of them last month. Not all, but a few. Just because it felt so good. It's not like I lose out on knowing what's happening in their lives since they didn't share a damn thing anyway. Now I have lots of friends who ignore me on a daily basis and I'm used to that. Doesn't offend me. Doesn't bother me. I send an email... they don't respond. I send an ecard for their birthday, anniversary, holiday... (yeah that lightbulb just went off, didn't it?) No acknowledgement. It's rude, sure, but it's who they are and I can deal with it. Sure I spent quite a bit of time selecting just the right card for each person, but I did it because it made me feel good knowing that I might bring a moment of joy to their sorry lives. I admit I've been known to forget my manners on occasion too. So we're good there. Besides it makes it even more special when some of my friends do respond.

Truthfully, most of us do a little prying on Facebook. Someone posts something and you wonder what they are up to...click on their profile, view the photos they shared... wonder if sending a case of Rogaine would be inappropriate...and they do the same when you post. And that's ok. Fair exchange.

And that's just it. Facebook is a social place, by it's very nature designed for interaction. So if you aren't sharing or interacting on Facebook, what possible reason can you have to be there? It's like a one-handed handshake. Better known as Snooping. Spying. Dare I say Peeping. Is this you? Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if any of those words apply to your Facebook behavior. See yourself? Yes?

Not to worry, nothing a little behavior modification can't fix. Start simple. Just for today, post one status. Say something. Or share just one thing. Maybe a good article. Your favorite recipe. A photo. Start allowing others to say hello back. Or make comments. If you are worried about what your friends are going to say or do, then maybe you should worry about the kind of friends you have. If you are worried that others might find something out about you they don't already know then you are in the wrong place. Facebook will only feed your paranoia. So Log off. Go hide in the closet. Bottom line,  if you are going to use Facebook, use it. Don't be a bystander in your own life.

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