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Facebook: She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not...

Cheri shares her love/hate relationship with the social network Facebook.

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love it far more than I hate it - or as my mother taught me to say "dislike" - so overall, I definitely "like" Facebook.

I'll start with my constructive criticism and end on a high note.  

First, I have no will power. So, Facebook wastes at least a couple hours of my life on a good week and several hours in a week where I'm feeling particularly dormant. I will be the first to tell you I'm not a TV watcher and I know it's because I am more at ease with interacting via social media than realizing 30 minutes has gone by during a TV program to which I won't remember the contents the next day.

What I dislike most about Facebook is the potential harm it can inflict on others from cyber bullying to the more serious. Particularly the pain it seems to cause in the teen world, when one stupid comment can flip someone else's world upside down.

Facebook is what one of my friends calls, "Satan's Sandbox." A rather dark and dreary description of what some deem the highlight of their socialization but when marriages and relationships are jeopardized from the contents of exchanges and status updates, I wonder if it's really worthwhile. (Although I think the "cheaters" of the world, or those who sabotage relationships would do so anyway, even if Facebook didn't exist.)

One of the things I don't like is when I get poked. First of all, I still don't understand why people do it. And quite frankly, I don't even bother looking it up because even the affiliation with being poked is something I don't like.

I don't want to answer questions through some quiz thingy or even have other people answer a random question about me. I appreciate your love for farms and mafia, but I don't want much to do with that, either, thank you very much.

And the person who keeps requesting me as a friend? I've politely ignored you and yet you persisted. Then you had to send me three nasty letters in my inbox to why I should be your friend? You don't understand why I ignored your request? For the record, I do love people. But you weren't someone I particularly liked 25 years ago and I'm sorry that I have no desire to become friends now. I'm sure you have grown up and matured, although I'm not quite confident of that based on the last nasty letter you sent. No offense, I wish you well, but my life without you will continue to move forward without my knowing about whether you eat Cheerios or Frosted Flakes in the morning. And I don't care to share with you that I love fall leaves and photographing clouds that look like cotton candy. And I certainly don't want you creeping around looking at pictures of me with my family and friends (the ones I choose to spend time with.) So please, leave me alone and I wish you the best on your friend list.

I also don't like when people post pictures of nasty, gashing leg wounds from falling off their bikes or post jokes at the expense of innocent people who are doing their best in the world. I've seen some political tirades that can sling mud with the best of them and I've read some pretty nasty stuff (admittedly entertaining at times).  

I can choose to not click your profile and I certainly won't click "like" but I've wondered where the button for "don't like" is when I've accidentally tripped upon that bloody, gruesome picture without any kind of warning? But I do thank you in advance for those of you who have saved me calories at an upcoming meal as I was too grossed out to eat.

But what do I like? A lot.  

I like keeping in touch with people I probably wouldn't have had it not been for the convenience of popping on from time to time to "catch up," even if it is virtually.  High school friends, college room-mates, folks from Orchesis Dance Company, old work friends, new friends, and everything in between.

I am grateful for the many opportunities I've had to meet up with friends for dinner in another city, lunch at a nearby restaurant, or even a girlfriend's spring break getaway in beautiful Scottsdale with three fine, beautiful and intelligent ladies that since barely knowing each other in high school have become great friends through time.  

I love seeing pictures of my friends with their families, doing wonderful things in life and the wonderful things people are doing from a friend's recent pride in buying a cabin in Tahoe to seeing what my niece and nephews are up to.  

And as sad as it is, I am grateful to give a word of encouragement or share in someone's grief when someone is brave enough to admit in a status that life has not been so kind and the support of words is mighty and powerful.

In my busy life where my priorities often involve my work and my boys, it's a treat to pop on to Facebook and say "hi" and see how everyone is doing. It often feels somewhat like a soap opera, in that you can be off for a couple weeks and when you pop back on, your favorite characters are basically doing the same thing. But, it's a great, available outlet of social interaction and oh, so convenient - I can be wearing pj's and no one knows!

I learn a lot of stuff, too. I learn how to make healthy smoothies from my friend Pam, hear the latest news about fair treatment of animals from Kristie, and see both sides of the political arena from a variety of friends, which I will not name to protect the innocent.  

There are other perks, too. I get jazzed up by fellow quote junkies Perdita and Tia, swap inappropriate jokes with my cousin Jenn, and catch up with Angela, who lives across the pond.  

I also share loads of pictures for those interested - or rolling their eyes - at my latest adventure. It's the one way Aunt Betty from West Virginia gets updated when my cousin Patti shares my albums with her.

I also love to post crap on the "wall" off my boyfriend, who is not a big Facebook fan at all. I convince him it's a great way to stay in touch with his friends, who he assures me he stays in contact with without Facebook but appeases me as he knows I like to "tag" him in photos.

I can tell you this. It's not that I couldn't live without Facebook. But I'm happy I don't have to.

Cheri Eplin December 10, 2011 at 04:57 AM
Diane, I couldn't agree more! Thanks for commenting! Kristie, you bet what you post makes people think! Merry Christmas to you, too!
Kimberly Sullivan December 10, 2011 at 06:06 AM
Cheri , Great read!!! So true ...lol I re-posted on my wall so my Tx friends get to read it!! miss DANVILLE Bigtime.... Merry Christmas mIss ya.. Kimberly
Epp December 10, 2011 at 06:27 AM
Cheri, you have now convinced me to use fb more...;-) LOL P.S.- Another gem on your part! Great stuff
Cheri Eplin December 10, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Kimberly, As always, thank you for reading the column AND reposting!!! :) Epp, HA. Yes, be sure to use FB! (endorsement) Just don't send me farm stuff! ;) (Thx for reading!)
Eve Bash December 18, 2011 at 04:13 AM
you've made some very valid points Cheri. I hope your well. :)

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