Admittedly, it took me awhile to finally cave, but I did. I joined Facebook. I have a "Wall" of my very own. And I have friends--many wonderful people I know from my seven years in RWA (*waving wildly to those who've already "friended" me* during my first week--thank you! :). I know them from life in our little suburb, from my younger days, and from, well, being related to them, too. There are also people I don't know. Some I know by name but never met in person. Some I don't know in ANY sense whatsoever.
And yet, so far, it's been...nice. (Ah, that's lazy of me and a facile kind of spin at that. More truthfully, it's been chaotic and overwhelming, but it has likewise remained quite civilized conversationally. Pleasant. Frequently amusing.) Also, it's answered one of my longstanding questions: Where IS everyone when the Blogosphere seems so quiet? Are they working/working out/writing/sleeping/catching up on old episodes of Grey's Anatomy? Now I know: They're on Facebook. They're "Adding," "Confirming" and "Commenting on" their new friendships. And "Tagging" each other in pictures. And sending each other "Notes," "Gifts" and even "Good Karma"--so sweet! Yesterday I got a "Plant." I'm still not totally clear on how it worked, but it had something to do with saving the rainforest, which is certainly A Very Positive Thing.
My first few nights, I fiddled with my "Profile," visited other peoples' sites and wrote on their walls... Hours mysteriously disappeared as I bopped from one FB friend's page to the next. If I'd thought reading blogs had been a contender for Biggest Procrastination Tactic and Time-Sucking Black Hole, I suspected I'd now found the blue-ribbon winner.
Of course, I'm able to navigate the blogging world much faster now than when I first started, and part of that is because I set down rules for myself. Like: I'm not going to be an everyday blogger. I'll just blog once, maybe twice per week. Or: I can only let myself check for comments or leave other people comments at specified times during the day or, better yet, after I've reached a reasonable daily word count on my manuscript. Or: If I found myself compulsively blog-hopping, I'd need to actually TURN OFF the computer and go draft by hand in another room. (A shockingly effective technique.)
So, here are my newly minted and highly necessary Facebook rules:
1) I can check Facebook twice a day, at most, and "change my status" only once.
2) I can leave occasional messages on other peoples' walls, but I cannot "chat."
3) No matter how tempting the "gifts" are (and, FYI, there's a Jane Austen gifty thing where you can bestow Regency dance lessons and other such delights on your friends...can you believe it?!) I will NOT be indulging in the virtual gift-giving frenzy since the accumulation of necessary "points" needed to select, buy and send these gifts to others is confusing and will require me to figure out FB features that are better left undiscovered.
4) Same goes for responding to "Notes" because I get too easily caught up in answering the 50-100 tag questions and, thus, curiously forget that I'm supposed to finish writing a novel this spring. Plus, I don't quite get how to do the posting. (No, don't teach me! Ignorance is my salvation!)
So, despite my general paranoia of cyber-TMI, I've experienced the addictive qualities of Facebook firsthand and I know why and how it became so popular. It's a little like those Ghiradelli milk chocolate squares with the caramel inside. You TELL yourself "just one"--one square, one minute, one message...