To Book the Face or Not?

I don’t do Facebook. My wiseacre reason for not doing so is that lost friends from high school are lost for a reason and should remain that way. That’s not entirely a joke.

Six or so years ago, I had an account for about a week and quickly deleted it. It kept trying to put me in contact with people who didn’t even rise to the level of lost friends from high school. About a decade and a half ago, I made a joyful noise sang in the choir at the church I attended, which is on the other side of the state (TX) from where I live now. I was flooded with suggestions to send friend requests to a number of people I had known at that time. Several of them were children of a woman in the choir. I had almost no contact with them when they were kids, didn’t really know them then, and had had no interactions with them since I’d moved. I found the whole situation a bit creepy. Send friend requests to kids I barely knew a decade previously? No thanks.

I deleted the account. Someone later told me that Facebook made friend suggestions based on your email address. Made sense, I guess.

Since then, I’ve from time to time considered getting a new account, one attached to the email address associated with this blog. That email is primarily for writing and blogging activities, not personal things. James Reasoner told me at Armadillocon I’m the only one of the authors he’s published who doesn’t have a Facebook account. Then Charles Gramlich posted earlier today about his experience being off Facebook for a month. His point #8 was about missing calls for submissions from certain markets. That got my attention.

On the other hand, Adrian Simmons, the editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, once told me Facebook in some ways is like a nonstop online convention and can be a real time sink. I don’t need another distraction. I have Twitter for that.

So I’m going to throw the question out there. Should I get a Facebook account or not? Will the advantages out weigh the disadvantages? What do you guys think?

11 thoughts on “To Book the Face or Not?

  1. Jim Cornelius

    I joined FB for commercial/creative reasons when I pushed “Warriors of the Wildlands” out into the world. It definitely boosted the Kickstarter campaign. Linking on FB has increased my blog traffic substantially. I’ve reestablished some contacts with old friends.
    Those are definite upsides.
    Downsides: It can be a time-sink. It’s WAY too easy to fall into scrolling through FB and lose chunks of time you don’t want to lose. It’s deliberately built to feed addictive /compulsive behaviors. Nobody is immune and it takes a conscious effort to manage time spent there.
    I find the political memes and screeds from friends on both ends of the political spectrum exceedingly tiresome. Some people seem to mistake sharing memes and their outrage — either at Trump or the “libtards” — for actually doing something.
    Overall, it’s a plus and I’d recommend taking the plunge — but be aware that you will have to work to be the master in the relationship.

  2. Paul McNamee

    I feel like a smoking parent who implores their child not to start. 😉

    I think Jim summed it up well.

    As for those friends suggestions – it’s just algorithms, don’t take it personally. I avoided all that by refusing to fill out hometown, high school, college or any of that. I also skewed my birthday and have it set NOT to be announced. I tend to share most posts at the “friends” level. So, public passersby don’t see too much. I’m not a privacy freak but there are limits.

    I didn’t start with it as a marketing tool, so I’m inclined to keep my ‘friends’ list manageable and limited to people I know well or well enough on line through friends. I’ve been harsh with requests lately. If I don’t know you, just because we replied together *once* on a friends thread doesn’t mean I let you in.

    Time sink danger is real.

    I do prefer the interface. Twitter conversations – if you want a conversation – can get confusing in 140 char snippets with replies on replies, etc. Facebook post/comments keep that a bit more organized.

  3. H.P.

    I can’t imagine not having Facebook. If only for keeping track of people. Which is pretty much all I use it for these days. It isn’t like the good old days (I’ve had an account since 2005). But you need it because pretty much everyone is on it these days. I avoid it otherwise. Too much crap, but I don’t have a problem ignoring those (Twitter, on the other hand…).

    It’s all about the algorithm. If you like nothing but posts of your friends’ babies, that is mostly what you will see. If you angrily reply to political posts, that is mostly what you will see. And, yes, you will get a lot of weird friend recommendations and friend requests. Just ignore them.

  4. Woelf Dietrich

    I’ve had mine for Woelf since 2011 and what started out as a thing for my writing became an entertaining platform to engage with other like-minded people. I also have a FB page dedicated to writing and art posts. Then Trump won and dumb people started screeching outrage and new words like mansplaining and manspreading and white privilege started making too many appearances on my timeline and I got irritated. I still have cool connections on there but I’ve not been as active recently. That doesn’t mean FB doesn’t have its uses.

    If you want to go on, do it. You can control a lot of the stuff, which is good and you can always delete it again later. Plus I’ll “friend” you when you come on. lol Seriously, though, be clear of your purpose for wanting to join. Marketing wise, a blog is still the main thing with Twitter and FB being the vehicles to tell people about your blog.

  5. Jaye

    I think its a good resource, and the time you spend on it is up to you. I agree it can be a “time sink” but if its used for networking – not as an all day trollathon – it can be a valuable tool. Who you are friends with is completely up to you. Don’t be afraid to say no or to use the block / delete button. (all of this is my humble opinion of course. you must do whats right for you. I shudder to think about getting friend requests from most anyone at my old high school….)

  6. Matthew

    Unless, you have a real need to be on Facebook, I’d say stay off of it. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything there I really need and I don’t want to get questions from my uncle’s girlfriend asking how my parents are doing financially. Better to leave it alone.

  7. David West

    Like the others have said, pro’s and con’s.

    I have friends there – that FB is almost the only way I stay in touch with them. I do talk about my books there but probably a hair less than on twitter. I probably post more pics to FB than anywhere else but that’s as much for me as anyone.

    I would say I still find it to be the simpliest way to catch up with someone though – like Paul said about convo’s and such – so there is that.

  8. Keith West Post author

    Now that the comments seemed to have stopped, I’d like to thank everyone for their input. My normal practice is to respond to each comment individually, but this time I decided to be quiet and listen to what everyone had to say. (See, it does happen. Just not very often.) I appreciate each of you taking your time to respond to my question. You’ve all given me some good things to think about.

    I’m probably going to get an account for this blog which will only be blog and writing related, little to no personal stuff. Classes start on the 28th, so I will wait until things settle into a routine. Labor Day is delaying the start of labs until the third week of classes, which gives me some time to plan and think about how I want to use it.

    I’m going to focus on writing in the meantime. Due to some quirks in my schedule, I’ve managed 17k words on the WIP in the last 10 days. My top priority is to finish the first draft. I’d like to get these people out of my head…


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