Friday, March 19, 2010

Facebook: A Cure for Curiosity

I'm curious by nature. Some would say downright nosy. I get it from my mother. She will tell you we're just interested.

The family grapevine, in its heyday, was the most effective communication system ever. We knew everything about everyone else almost as soon as it happened. All too often we even knew about stuff before it happened.

The system was primitive. This was decades before cell phones, the Internet or even cordless telephones. Call waiting, caller-ID, call forwarding, unlimited long distance and voice-mail didn't exist, either. We didn't even have answering machines.

The most effective communication system I've ever seen relied entirely upon black, rotary dial telephones tethered to living room or kitchen walls. When something important was going on, you stayed off of and close to the telephone waiting for news. Once it came, information reached every leaf on the family tree at lightening speed.

No phone tree was needed. If the line was busy they already knew. You just kept dialing until you reached a line that wasn't busy. You didn't get a dozen e-mails, text messages or tweets. Just one call. Fast, efficient and never the least bit annoying.

With this long history of too much information about the intimate details of dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins and such, Facebook seemed right up my alley. Tons of information, with pictures even, just a click away. Woo hoo!

After spending hundreds of hours I'll never get back browsing profiles, I made a rather startling discovery. There are lots of things I really don't want to know about other people. This is especially true if we happen to work together.

Last weekend I spent two hours removing current and former coworkers from my friends list. That's right, I unfriended roughly 75 people. Nothing personal. I had to do it. If you were a victim of the purge, please understand it's really not about you.

I felt the difference right away. Yeah, some of my remaining friends share things I'd rather not know, too. The difference is I can speak my mind when something pushes my buttons without worrying about offending coworkers. Who knows, the ability to vent freely might make me something other than...

The Crotchety Old Man

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