Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Friend Phenomenon

By Christie Kelley

Confession time: I have been sucked into Facebook. It really wasn’t my fault. All I did was sign up one day because one of my friends thought I should join all the other writers doing it.

Suddenly I have new friends popping up all over the place. Every time I check my emails, there is another person (usually I don’t know) wanting to be friends with me.

And the weird thing is I’m really enjoying it!

I am not the extrovert type. I like a small circle of close friends and my bandita buddies. Maybe that's why I like Facebook so much. I can quickly see what my friends are doing and make a quick comment if I have the time. If I'm busy, I can skip logging on that day. It's my decision.

I’d always thought Facebook was a high school and college thing. Something has happened over the past few years and now it’s just become a cool place to hang out and find old friends and new ones too. Every day, I have to go and find out what everyone is up to at that moment. I get drawn in to crazy things like posting 21 things about myself or answering 48 strange questions. And if I wasn’t on deadline I probably would have finished those questions!

I promise once I turn this manuscript into my editor, I will answer those questions and tag people for their responses.

My husband also just got on Facebook and he complained and whined about it for the first week. Now, he comes into my office every day to tell me about another person who friended him on Facebook. Someone he hasn’t talked to in years. He's loving it.

So how about you? Have you been sucked into Facebook too? Or maybe Myspace is your thing? Do you love it? Hate it? Let me know. And while you’re thinking about, friend me! Write on my wall. I’ll write back, promise!

Okay, it might be after March 1st when the deadline book is finished but I will do it! And by the way, my 16 year old son won't friend me.

76 comments:

Virginia said...

Is he coming back to my house!

Virginia said...

No Facebook or Myspace for me. I already spend why to much time on the computer checking out blogs, e-mails and book author sites. I don't need to start something else.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Christie...

I just read an article about Facebook junkies...that is, people who check their Facebook account several times a day and will post anything, no matter how mundane on the "Christie is..." box.

I've had a Facebook account for a few months now. I only check it when I get an email update, but it has been nice to keep up with people I haven't seen in a while.

I was rather skeptical at first, figuring social networking was something for teens and college students, but I will admit, it's fun to see pics of my friends as some update their pics regularly. But I still have issues concerning my privacy.

And I've never drank so many cyber drinks in my life! People keep sending them to me! Hic!
Cheers!
Jen

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia have fun with him

Christie my friend on facebook. I love it also it took ages for my kids to convince me to join and in the end the only reason I did was because I am going (this week YAY) to the Australian Romance Readers Conference and they are on facebook that I relented and joined and yes I love it.

I have around 200 friends now and lots of them are writers and I can keep up with everything that is going on. I am friends with all of the Bandits and I have a friend of mine that lives in England and we keep in touch better. I love that I can upload photos so easy and my sisters and all my children are on facebook even my 2 new grandsons have a page on babybook which their mothers look after.

I finally convinced hubby to join and now I can't get him off it he plays virtual soccer and street racing games he loves it.

I am happy to be friends with all the bandit buddies friend me as well.

Have Fun
Helen

jo robertson said...

Christy, LOL on your son not friending you. Too funny.

I'm just barely getting the hang of this Facebook and MySpace phenom.

But I did reconnect with a girl I hadn't seen or heard from since high school. We were really good friends and lost touch. Now, forty years later, I find she's a librarian at a college not too far from me.

Small world!

Natalie Hatch said...

I'll friend you Christie just please don't send me those gift request thingies and the join this group and answer a million questions stuff. I don't have enough time to write at the moment without being sucked into the swirling time wasting vortex that is facbook applications.

Natalie Hatch said...

oops I meant facebook applications... you probably guessed what I meant anyway.

limecello said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

I have FB - got it back when there were only 10 (?) universities in the network...

Not myspace though - never was a fan of it and then all those pedophile cases... it just left a really bad impression.

Anna Sugden said...

I'm on both FB and MySpace, though I find FB more fun and easier to manage than MySpace.

I was convinced by hubby's younger daughter to join up and although I don't spend much time on it, it's nice to have a quick way of keeping up with friends and writers and family.

And I'm sure if I used it properly, it would be a good way to keep in touch with people instead of relying on the old Christmas card thing. LOL.

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia. I think he was keen to escape the two prowling and suspicious cats here!

Gillian Layne said...

Congrats, Virginia!

Oh my gosh, I just blogged about this yesterday. I was dragged kicking and screaming into Facebook, mostly because I usually end up feeling embarrassed about how computer illiterate I am. And it does feel like a "time-suck".

On the other hand, it alerted me to a blog Anna was on that I wouldn't have known about.

Natalie, I hear you on the notes, lists, or whatever all those quizes are. I took one, a "which historical figure are you" (Da Vinci!--and it said I was a recluse. Yes, I knew that already. :))and then saw how all those little extras are never ending.

I enjoying "friending" people I know, but I think I've already erased a couple by pushing the wrong button, so we'll see how long this lasts. :)

Margay said...

I have been sucked into Facebook, too, but now, with the issues of their changing their TOS without telling anyone, I have grave reservations about remaining on
Facebook unless they revert to the old TOS.

Margay

Christie Kelley said...

Virginia, congrats on grabbing the GR. I laughed at your response to Facebook and Myspace. I have a lot of days when I feel the same way.

Christie Kelley said...

Jen, have another drink :)

I really thought it was interesting that someone I know (no names given) who always seemed very reserved when it came to giving info online is a major Facebook junkie. She's constantly added pictures to her facebook profile and commenting on everything.

I'm not that addicted to it. And I'm still wary about putting up a lot of pictures.

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, congrats on snagging that ornery bird! He may even have some REAL Cadburys with him. *g*

Meanwhile...my name is Caren and I'm a Facebook junkie. [Hi, Caren!] *g* Really, I love all the random bits of news and to see everyone's status and what they're doing.

I've reconnected with people I had almost forgotten, especially from high school. It's a lot of fun! Plus, most of my family is on there, so I get little bits of their lives fed to me, too. It's quicker than TALKING to all of them! *g*

Christie Kelley said...

Helen,

I'm so glad you're enjoying Facebook too. So what's this virtual soccer and racing game thing? NO, do not tell me. That is the last thing I need.

Have a great time at AARC!

Christie Kelley said...

Jo, I'm really not too miffed about my son. He needs his space.

I'm just starting to find people I went to high school with on Facebook. It's lots of fun to see pictures of people you haven't seen in many, many years.

Christie Kelley said...

Natalie, don't worry I won't send you anything like that. I'm not big on those things either. I definitely don't have enough writing time and every little thing interrupts it. So I completely understand.

Christie Kelley said...

limecello, I'm with you on myspace. I just don't trust it and find it really difficult to figure out. Facebook is so much easier.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, great idea to eliminate Christmas cards by using Facebook. Of course, I've missed doing cards the past two years so I really feel like I must send them this year.

danie88 said...

I'm more of a myspace person then a facebook person... i have 2 myspace profiles (one personal/one for my blog) I'm on the one for my blog more then I am on my personal myspace or facebook put together lol

danie88 said...

oh and the next time i get on facebook ill look you up and add u christie! :D

Christie Kelley said...

Gillian, I've been meaning to friend you because you keep coming up in my friends you might know list. But this month I've been trying to spend less time on it and focus on the book that's due in 13 days. Yikes!

Christie Kelley said...

Margay, I haven't read much about that yet. As I keep saying, maybe in 13 more days when I get my life back. Sort of.

Margay said...

Well, since the hullabaloo that was raised yesterday from several sources on the web, Facebook has responded in defense of their actions. I still don't know. I love Facebook, but not enough to allow them to reproduce my content without permission and/or compensation. Wonder where this will lead.
Margay

Christie Kelley said...

Caren, isn't that the truth that you can catch up quicker over the internet. I don't know why. I guess it's because you're not spending an hour or more on the phone at one time. Just a few sentences here and there.

Christie Kelley said...

danie, I just don't get myspace. Every time I go to someone's myspace page, I find it really hard to read. Do you think more people are on myspace than facebook?

Christie Kelley said...

Okay, I'm off for a while. I must go exercise, shower and head to Jiffylube for an oil change. I'll check in a little later.

Kirsten said...

Fun blog, Christie, and so timely because it seems like everyone I know is either on Facebook or just starting out on Facebook!

I do enjoy Facebook -- I think old fogies (like me!) enjoy it because you don't have to be the least bit tech-savvy to get started. I've really enjoyed finding old high school, college, etc. buddies on it. The real Facebook magic came into play this weekend, when an old friend of our family was killed in a plane crash. I actually had a network of people to mourn with -- people I hadn't talked to or had any contact with in years. It was really special. I don't know how we would have found each other without Facebook.

Now, I must admit I don't do any of those other Facebook things -- drinks, snowballs, plants, gifts, etc. I was going to at first, and then it said it was going to mine my friend list and I said no way. I just say no to it all now. I figure status lines are enough. LOL.

Kirsten said...

Margay, what's the controversy you're talking about? What's TOS?

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margay said...

Oh, sorry - TOS is Terms of Service. Apparently, Facebook changed them without letting anyone know, but some savvy people found out and have posted about it all over the 'net. Here's something from The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/technology/internet/17facebook.html?_r=2&hp

Gannon Carr said...

Oh, yes, I am a "Facecrack" addict! But it's so much fun, I can't stop myself. :)

I have reconnected with many friends from high school and college, which is great. In fact, one of my dear friends from college and I had lost touch several years ago, and we discovered she lives less than two hours away. We met for lunch last week and had a four hour gabfest! It was wonderful! We are planning on a monthly get-together. And it was all because of Facebook.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have them both but I will tell you up front I am totally lost on either one. I went to Facebook today and there were all these request thingies and I said on no, we aren't going there, anybody know if you can just turn that off??

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I will friend you Christie just so I can keep up with what is happening with your books. I have more author friends on My Space not that I go there a lot either.

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Christie--

I discovered Facebook the way a lot of us did--as a way to slowly wean myself off an addiction to election coverage. I spent so much time following the election coverage on line, I felt like I needed a step-down program. I couldn't just quit the internet cold turkey.

Facebook just happened to be there, my husband thought it was cool (he's an early adopter) & badgered me until I got on. So I did, & it was great fun for a month or two.

Now I find myself forgetting to log on for days at a time. But it's always fun when I do get on, because there are so many comments to read through. It's a satisfying half hour of internet fluff & I love it. :-)

Joan said...

I too was drawn in by friends (Banditas) so I'm on it now.

I don't mind the "What are you doing now" but have some friends that keep sending me all those extras...THOSE are time suckers.

But bringing up the replacement of Facebook for Christmas cards reinforces my BFF's observation that we are losing the personal touch...

Treethyme said...

I loved this article from the Sunday New York Times magazine:

http://themedium.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/being-there/

I joined My Space in September when the woman who designed my website offered to design a page for me there. I've had fun there and I like to play with the profile music, the holiday glitters and hokey things like that.

When several people in my RWA chapter all joined Facebook the same week, they encouraged me to join them. I'd avoided FB because my kids were there and I didn't want them to think I was stalking them. I shouldn't have worried!

I signed up after Christmas and have a couple gazillion friends. I like the viral aspects of it, since I joined to network with other writers. I'm in a FB writer's group and I get notices about every romance blog known to man. I don't always read them, but I've found some new authors this way.

I will admit to doing a few of those lists -- they are addictive. When I first joined, I played with the flair and the author's toolbox, etc. but when people started sending me at least a dozen applications a day, I had to start blocking them or to insane. Even my husband sent me one!! (Okay, I accepted that one.)

I rarely stay on for long, and I usually go to FB when I'm on hold forever on the phone or waiting for an interviewee to call me back. But sometimes I just go on to play.

A couple of school friends have found me, even though I use my pen name, and the fun thing is how many of my kids' real life friends have friended me!

(I'm Becke Martin there, if you haven't friended me already.)

PJ said...

I love Facebook. My niece turned me onto it and was one of the first people to friend me there. I find that it's a great way to keep up with people quickly but it hasn't replaced the letters I still send or the occasional phone gab-fests nor can I see it ever replacing my Christmas cards. I've found college friends that I had lost touch with years ago and have made some new friends too. I decline most of the "extras" ~ I just don't have the time ~ but I'm enjoying some lively Scrabble games with a couple friends.

I have a My Space page but I don't go there very often. I find MS very difficult to navigate.

Christie Kelley said...

Kirsten, I'm glad you're enjoying facebook too. But my sympathies on your loss. Someone keeps sending me flowers and I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with them so I send some back to her.

Christie Kelley said...

Gannon, first of all, I love the Facecrack addict line.

I think it's great that you've been able to catch up with your old friend and arrange lunch. Very cool!

Christie Kelley said...

Dianna, I'm totally clueless on myspace. A friend of mine said she'd help me get my page in order but she hasn't had the time lately.

I found facebook much easier to navigate. Just friend people and ignore the groups and invites you don't want.

Christie Kelley said...

Susan, you're right. I joined facebook about the same time as the election started winding down. Strange. I do usually get on at least once a day even though I shouldn't with this deadline.

Christie Kelley said...

Joan, I agree with your BFF but at the same time, I'm constantly swamped. So taking the time to write a letter in each card or create a generic letter sucks up way more time than I have right now.

Christie Kelley said...

Becke, you are my friend :)

I also get on for short spurts. I think that's one of the things I like about it. I can spend a quick 5 minutes on facebook, catch up and then get off it.

Christie Kelley said...

PJ, Scrabble...on facebook? Whatever you do, don't send me the link. I love Scrabble and would never get off it.

Nancy said...

Virginia, have fun with the bird!

Christie, I'm not on Facebook yet. A couple of my high school buddies have urged me to join, and a writing friend sent me a launch invitation, so I'm definitely planning to take the plunge.

My fear is that I'll get sucked into it, and I'm already behind in getting out submissions. Between that and teaching, I'm also not sure I have the brain cells to learn something new.

The people I know who've joined up, including, of course, many banditas, are having a great time. As a distraction, it would certainly beat cleaning the bathroom. :-)

Like Virginia, I don't really need something else to do online, but the lure of keeping up with old friends and new so easily is a powerful incentive.

You know, I used to write letters. I still have letters people wrote me in college, and reading them--handling them--evokes what I was doing when I first received them. Email and web networking are great, but I think there's a definite tradeoff.

Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia. He's becoming a regular at your house!

I don't Facebook of MySpace. Are you kidding me? I had to get my CP to set up my website. And any time I have to change something on it SHE has to do it.

I'm the person who crashed her computer, locked it up completely with my entire first romance novel manuscript on it and I hadn't saved it anywhere else! EEEEEK! Thank GOD for my dear friend Tammy's husband, the computer god! He rescued my book and gave me a stern lecture on jump drives and saving things early and often.

If I tried to do Facebook I would probably crash the site and have little flaming icons scattered all over the screen.

I did read about the TOS change and there is NO WAY I will allow any entity to have control over anything I have created. Not happening.

I like the idea of being about to connect with old friends and family members I hardly see. It just seems that no matter how well-intentioned these things are there is always some idiot out there who messes it up for the rest of us.

Janga said...

My group blog has been on both Facebook and Myspace for quite a while, but I left it in the hands of my fellow Vagabonds who are younger and more technologically savvy than I. Recently, after much prompting, I joined Facebook, but my participation has been tentative so far. Treethyme, I did enjoy your booklist yesterday.

Christie, it's probably wise your son didn't friend you. :) My recently single-again nephew did friend me, and I'm learning that in some cases ignorance really is bliss. LOL!

Nancy said...

Christie, your book is due in 13 days? Wow! I guess you're really, really busy right now. I'm looking forward to reading it, so I don't want you to be late.

Good luck!

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, join...join...

Sorry, my addiction is showing again. Facebook is actually easy otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. And I don't find it sucks up too much of my time.

But I do understand about rereading letters and the emotions it can evoke.

Joan said...

Sidebar:

The ladies on The View just discussed this TOS change.

Come on Facebook! Get real!

{shaking head}

Christie Kelley said...

Louisa, I used to test software so trust me, I can break any piece of code. So far, I haven't broken Facebook so I think you're safe.

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, it's due the first but the first is a Sunday. So I can email it to him on Monday. And yeah, I'm a little overwhelmed considering I still have a good 60 pages to write. Okay, writing time.

Christie Kelley said...

Janga, I agree about my son not friending me. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

p226 said...

One of the craziest threads I've ever seen was on my own status on Facebook. Several bandita's got in on the fray. My abs hurt for two days.

Joan posted exactly one word. That's the hardest I've ever laughed at a single word in my life.

I resisted FB/Myspace for a long time. I have a myspace account I never check. But facebook has been crazy. People have been crawling out of the woodwork! That's the weirdest thing. All those folks I knew years and years ago reappearing here and there. I've gotten in contact with some very good friends I lost over the years. That's been fairly rewarding.

Joan said...

Joan posted exactly one word. That's the hardest I've ever laughed at a single word in my life.

Really?

Wow, that's kind of an accomplishment and honor :-)

Christie Kelley said...

p226, I saw a few of those posts and was in stitches. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see them all but I heard there were quite a few coments.

Donna MacMeans said...

Christie -

I recently joined Facebook and am totally overwhelmed. I haven't a clue on how to do anything - so if you've friended me or vice-versa - don't be superprized that I haven't accepted plants, friendship rings, flowers, or joined causes. I'm still scratching my head over "what the heck is this?" (grin) I'll figure this out eventually - but not during tax season.

Keira Soleore said...

Er, yes. I was sucked into Facebook by a friend two years ago. At first, I accepted everyone and every tickle, poke, nudge, kiss, snowball, vampire, whathaveyou. Then I wised up. Now, I play a little bit, but mostly follow status updates and write on walls.

Virginia, 'congrats.

Christie Kelley said...

Donna, I haven't sent you any of those things. I don't have time for them. But good luck getting around Facebook. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of things.

Christie Kelley said...

Keira, I pretty much do the same. Every couple of days, I'll think of someone and do a friend search on them. But mostly I read people's status updates.

Anna Campbell said...

I didn't think I'd like Facebook, Christie, and I've ended up addicted to the darn thing! It's such a great way to get news out quickly. For example, I'm participating in a raffle for animal victims of the Victorian bushfires. All I need to do is put http://www.astridcooper.com/bushfires.htm on Facebook and a stack of people know.

By the way, feel free to buy tickets. It's a great cause. The tragedy of the fires hasn't just touched people, the wildlife is in an awful state as a result.

Anna Campbell said...

Virgina, he's back with you! I wonder what your secret is!

By the way, Christie, we've been FB friends for a while! ;-)

I must say I tend to ignore most of the tickles and punches and things like that. I'm spending more than enough time there already. But the updates are huge fun and I've had some great conversations with people!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, guys, befriend me! I'm easy to find because I've got the Tempt cover as my avatar. That's my only gripe - if I want to befriend someone and there's no pic, I usually can't tell who's who.

Minna said...

No, no and no! Blogs, forums and e-mail are quite enough for me. Besides, as my internet connection isn't the fastest possible, just waiting for e.g. for the Myspace page to open is just too frustrating.

PinkPeony said...

Anna, you're the only friend I have on my Facebook page who has over 1,000 friends (!!!) and we're all coming over to your house for tea, but you needn't feel overwhelmed. Store bought baked goods will be just fine! :)
Thanks for the link.
Jen

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Anna, I hate it when there is no picture of the person. I like to know how I know this person. I also like to see how many mutual friends we have.

Christie Kelley said...

Jen, Anna has over 1000 friends?! I feel like a failure. I don't even have a 100 yet.

Christie Kelley said...

LOL, Minna. I won't look for you anytime soon on Facebook. :)

Cassondra said...

Well, golly. I hadn't done this because I was worried a bit about privacy. I just can't figure out how it works exactly and how you can have any control over it. And if they're saying they have the right to reproduce my content, does that mean they can take the blogs I do here in the lair and reproduce them if there's a link to them on Facebook?

These are the issues that confuse me. It's a bit of a false issue, the privacy thing, I do realize, because if I google myself, GOOD LANDS!! Have y'all googled yourself lately? OMG! If you're actively blogging or even commenting on blogs, the Google bot is all over you like white on rice!

So, I need to give up on the privacy thing, as I threw in that towel when I started blogging, whether I wanted to or not. But still....this "right to reproduce content" issue is a little troublesome. As long as it's just the content on the Facebook page it's one thing, but stuff I link to? Not.

I suppose I will be pulled with the rising tide and I'll have to do it.

Beth said...

I have a facebook account but I'm not an addict by any means. I honestly forget to check it unless I get an email or a new friend request. I swear my brain is a sieve *g*

I don't hate it though - I just don't know how to use it all that well :-) I figure that will come in time!

PinkPeony said...

Christie...I think I finally have 25 friends. Yes, I'm a loser! However, I have received friend requests from people I've known in the past and I ignored their request and I did feel bad about it, but I was never their friend...merely an acquaintance through work from long ago. A lot of my friends (Uh, I do have a few) don't have Facebook accounts because they worry about the privacy issue and I still have issues with that too.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Christie, yes, I'm a facebook convert, addict and evangelist! I think it's a fantastic phenomenon and a great way to get the word out about our books.

Myspace...meh. I don't like it much. I don't know whether it's all those things flashing at me all the time or the weird people who want to be friends (present company excepted, of course!). Facebook just seems friendlier, somehow.

And everyone...don't forget to join the Romance Bandits facebook group, will you, and invite your friends, too!

Anna Campbell said...

Jen, I hear you're a fabulous cook! I think I'll leave the catering in your hands! Actually I'm not quite sure how I got so many friends! Believe me, I was never one of the popular girls at school! ;-)

Carol said...

Hi I am fairly new to FB...about 9 months, I thought it is was for young people only...
Then I joined so I could feed my DD Joanne's pooky dog while she when to the RWA conference in the USA...
Well I have never looked back...
Tried a lot of games and disgarded them for a few others...
I have loved playing computer games for 10 years now and found the Safari Scrap one on FB very addictive and have made lots of friends through an interest in this particular game!

Also found you have to limit the time spent on the timeconsuming ... return of gifts etc and be fairly ruthless that way.

Face Book it's great! the friends made make it so!
Cheers Carol