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"I posted about it on Facebook"

I came online in 2006, which is much more recently than some of my friends here, but definitely makes me an online veteran compared with, for example, people in my neighborhood, or my family. As those people discover Facebook, they go through a version of what I went through when I joined Livejournal, becoming totally absorbed in online conversations, to the extent that they want everyone they know to be following along with their doings through that particular medium. They'll start telling me something in person with "Did you see about X--I posted on Facebook about it," and I usually have to tell them, no, I don't go on Facebook much, so I missed it. So then they tell me in person.

I realized that for friendships or relationships that I've made in person, I prefer my interactions to be in person (not necessarily face-to-face: might be via telephone or email or letter, but **personal**--not in a public forum). It's not just that I dislike Facebook: I don't want a preexisting friendship to suddenly become contingent on my attention to **any** online site.

It's different for friendships that I've formed online, even if they later become in-person friendships (or add a dimension in some other way): In that case, our friendship grew up through online interaction, and in that case I definitely enjoy and indeed rely on the online interaction.

How do you feel about online and in-person friendships and where you interact?


( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 5th, 2016 02:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, good questions, and complex! Currently my most publicly personal posting is here, on LJ, which is mirrored on Dreamwidth; I'm not on any of the other big sites. I've seen the buzz about Imzy, but won't be migrating (just as I didn't migrate to Tumblr).

I began significant online posting, I mean personal posting, in 2007; one of the people I met then has become a meeting-in-real-life friend (not often, because of geography, but we frequently email, or Skype, or telephone), and I maintain a more sporadic contact with one other, but other friendships from that engagement have drifted away. (The site itself has long since folded.) I think, partly based on seeing that play out, that online friendships are by their nature (in general) evanescent - like Blake's "winged life" to be enjoyed in the moment.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:02 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Although some friendships online have drifted away, my experience has been that they're as durable as my in-person friendships: many fade, but some really last. And, as with in-person friends, some people can rematerialize after years.
Sep. 5th, 2016 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm the same way, although I don't really use telephone or e-mail either.
Sep. 5th, 2016 02:59 pm (UTC)
You're committed to the actual face-to-face!

Do you write paper letters ever?
(no subject) - yamamanama - Sep. 5th, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 5th, 2016 03:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 02:45 pm (UTC)
For me there isn't much difference, except that I wouldn't ignore a friend exclaiming "OMG! Look at that cute kitten!" in person, as I sometimes tend to do on Facebook - except of course if they address me directly. ;)

Seeing how I met both my husband and my best friend online, I might be biased, though.

On the other hand, I don't have the impression that my friends expect me to be up to date with everything they post to their Facebook wall. So like you, they'll ask me if I saw it on Facebook (which to me isn't much different that asking me if I've heard about it somewhere else), and if not, they'll tell me about it.
Sep. 5th, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)

Thinking about it, I can see how asking "Did you see..." can be a polite thing, too, because you don't want to repeat yourself if the person already *has* seen it. I do this myself, because I can never recall what things I've said to what people.

Sep. 5th, 2016 03:01 pm (UTC)
Oh gods... the early days of us all being on LJ & the "I posted about it..."

FB is even WORSE than LJ, in my opinion, because FB curates your feed & there's no guarantee you see anything that someone posts, unless they tag you in it. Since moving mostly to G+ (which has similar problems) and some FB, I don't assume *anyone* has seen something from me. Back in college (I started on LJ pretty close to the beginning. 2001 I think), I'd make the assumption because so many of us were *on* LJ all of the time. So it was sort of a, "I was talking about this the other day (on LJ), is it familiar?" shorthand, rather than an expectation that someone was reading everything.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah; that "is-it-familiar" thing is different and good, I think--it's like I was saying above to frigg; it's a sort of stop-me-if-I'm repeating-myself thing.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:02 pm (UTC)
It often seems that everyone's read my stuff online already so I have no news to exchange with them when we meet in person. Which is super annoying.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's that too! When I first went online and was very voluble, I could feel all played out when I met people in person, even if they hadn't seen the posts.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:03 pm (UTC)
Also, I *miss* phone conversations. They were much better when everyone had landlines. Now they're just exercises in frustration.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:06 pm (UTC)
Exercises in frustration because the reception is bad, or because people keep on being interrupted, or other reasons?

(I hate cell phones with a passion, but that's a rant for another day, and also probably as pointless as ranting against the mechanized loom, at this point.)
(no subject) - heleninwales - Sep. 5th, 2016 03:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 5th, 2016 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dulcinbradbury - Sep. 5th, 2016 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dulcinbradbury - Sep. 5th, 2016 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:28 pm (UTC)
I was really intensely involved in the eighties, during the Genie days, but then everyone in the SF world was at Genie--and I was seeing words in realtime from people I'd only read in books, for the first time ever. People more of less like me! Which hadn't been the case in real life, or when it was, it invariably involved a long, awful traffic-slow drive either way. (Even worse now.)

But after Genie died and the internet was born, people spread out, hopping from social medium to social medium in order to find the one, or the combination, that suited them best. I realized maybe ten years ago that I was not going to be able to follow everybody again, so I just "float" in the spaces I like best, glad to see people when they are there, sad to lose them, but glad to see them if they swim back. Or even flicker into view.
Sep. 5th, 2016 03:37 pm (UTC)
LJ was my Genie (so to speak), so seeing people drift away was so painful! But I've come around to your way of looking at things.

And wow, I was mind-boggled when I realized here I could talk with people whom I'd only ever admired from afar! Aspiring writers and established ones, best sellers and beginners, hanging out! (It's not that way anymore really, but it was great while it lasted.)
(no subject) - sartorias - Sep. 5th, 2016 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dulcinbradbury - Sep. 5th, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 04:25 pm (UTC)
You started about the same time as me.

I've never used facebook, I have to admit.
Sep. 5th, 2016 04:32 pm (UTC)
Not the most terrible confession in the world ;-)
(no subject) - dulcinbradbury - Sep. 5th, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cmcmck - Sep. 6th, 2016 03:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 04:49 pm (UTC)

I think part of it for me is what we talk about at the time. FB is less private and so I  not as open. But if I am taxed for time or mental spoons, I go there instead of here. I have some crossover but not much.

Sep. 5th, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC)
Do you prefer certain sorts of interactions with certain people?
(no subject) - xjenavivex - Sep. 5th, 2016 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 5th, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xjenavivex - Sep. 5th, 2016 08:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 6th, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 05:03 pm (UTC)
What I like FB for is keeping in touch with friends and family who aren't local, and I don't see or talk to often. I like seeing pictures of their kids (or grandkids), seeing the interesting places they go, etc. What I dislike about it is how political it has become in recent years. I avoid political posts, mainly because I'm not going to change anyone's mind, so what's the point? I try to post interesting or fun things. I scroll past the political stuff. I don't need to add any anger to the world.
Sep. 5th, 2016 05:11 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on the anger, and on the belief about changing people's minds. haikujaguar expressed really well what it takes to change her mind, and I know it's true for me (and I suspect many people):

inevitably when someone tries to change my mind by bludgeoning me with facts, I entrench and become more committed to the opinion I have. The only things that have ever changed my mind have been time (to consider without being flustered by people arguing with me), personal observation, experience, and the kindness and conduct of people with whom I disagree. (Whole post is here.)
(no subject) - lizziebelle - Sep. 5th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 5th, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lizziebelle - Sep. 5th, 2016 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
I'm not on Facebook and don't plan to be. My family does share a fictional account with no connections so that when my brother or sister-in-law post dog photos or whatever, we can see them.

David and Eric (husband and partner I don't live with, respectively) are both on Facebook and very kindly call my attention to things if they think I'd be interested, though D can't help occasionally reminding me that I could just get my own account.

As to the wider question, I imprinted on LJ after the demise of Fidonet and of my preferred newsreader for Usenet, and I would have to be forced away from it by some catastrophic event. I keep trying to get into the habit of checking DreamWidth as well, since a lot of people I like very much and would like to be in touch with have settled down there but don't cross-post. Amusingly to me, I sometimes find out about their posts via Twitter, which I took to much more fervently than I ever expected I would, but which I find uncongenial to deep discussion. People do manage it and I do read their linked or Storified threads, but I can't get my head into a place to actually participate in those.

I loathe and abominate the telephone except with intimates, and even then really prefer email.

I met both partners I'm not married to online, and I don't feel that friendships that either begin or stay there are in any way inferior to face-to-face ones. If my husband and I were younger we would undoubtedly also have met and fallen for one another online rather than having to do it through a chance meeting of former Carleton students.

Sep. 5th, 2016 07:51 pm (UTC)
I don't feel that friendships that either begin or stay there are in any way inferior to face-to-face ones. This is true for me too, but I can understand a need for skinship--which can happen, when your online friends become in person ones, but which isn't guaranteed.

I've liked Twitter more than I expected to, too, though I don't feel as able to "do" it in a meaningful way as I am able to "do" LJ.
(no subject) - pameladean - Sep. 5th, 2016 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 6th, 2016 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 07:13 pm (UTC)
Interesting question.

As a reader, I think it's more a matter of style and substance than it is of platform, for me. But I see things that resemble old-school Christmas Letter Formal Displays or status change announcements much more often on fb than I do on LJ or DW. (I am on Twitter and newly on Instagram, and formally on G+ but almost entirely a ghost there. Lately I've been pretty ghostly on DW as well, for lack of time. Twitter seems to be very much links and telegraphic conversation. Instagram is of course pretty specifically designed for the presentation of images.)

I don't much care for the Christmas Letter thing except as a pathology.

On LJ and DW, I see all sorts of stuff. Links posts, image posts, opinion pieces, literary stories. That has been true since I went on LJ-- initially as a place to stick commonplace book material I had no immediate use for but thought I might want to use later. (And now I use LJ for Everything.) I see narratives of stress, pain, and disaster on LJ that I don't see on fb except in the form of prayer requests. For me, LJ is a very full, rich conversation space.

fb not so much. I think it's possible on Twitter, but you have to be on a lot and make community, or find a periodically active community to participate in. I do some of the latter, but it's pretty limited.

As a poster, I'm eclectic on LJ, have tended to post about Chun Woo on DW and interact with others there, do links on fb and sometimes on Twitter. Ive just started on Instagram and aside from putting up a video Boy Scouts took (holly berry Sin), I've only tried to make a visible start there.

And I know that none of that addresses the question of live versus online. Which I guess is a distinction that makes no difference to me. In terms of friendship, I'm more interested in hanging out than I am in Activities. Activities are fine with me, but for me they're a form of hanging out. (I admit to not enjoying accompanying people shopping, in general.) And in a lot of ways hanging out on line is easier, more possible, better than hanging out in flesh.

I have to admit that I'm pretty tired of finding out when I'm no longer inevitable or useful to people that it wasn't a relationship. What I do is relationship.

A few years ago I realized that online is where I've had the longest continuing relations of my life, outside family. Which makes sense, given how portable online relationships are. I've found it fascinating and beautiful to accompany people as they encounter new circumstances, change and grow. And I thought, "Boy, when you're living an a neighbourhood for decades, you do relationship with Who's There, and you get these amazing trajectories (ideally)." Online is where I do that.

Answering my online friend asakiyume's question made me realize something new, too. When it comes to conversation, I'm pretty focused on people's thoughts and feelings, not so much the facts of their lives as such. I'd known for years that while most people feel private about their facts, I feel private about my thoughts, when about anything....
Sep. 5th, 2016 07:46 pm (UTC)
A few years ago I realized that online is where I've had the longest continuing relations of my life, outside family. Which makes sense, given how portable online relationships are. This works, I'd surmise/suggest, because you put in the time to maintain the connection as online formats rise and fall, and because the people you're friends with do, too. .... I do think some ways of having a relationship can be more congenial than others. I really **like** online relationships; I find them sustaining. But this isn't true for everyone.

I'm trying to think what I feel most private about. I guess my in-person emotional dramas.
(no subject) - syomsong - Oct. 2nd, 2016 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Oct. 5th, 2016 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 5th, 2016 11:45 pm (UTC)
*reads this discussion with interest*

I've been fortunate that many of my friendships began online and became personal (those of people I know, too -- the child currently sitting on me was born to two people who first met online). would say more but child.
Sep. 6th, 2016 12:22 pm (UTC)
I've known lots of people whose lives changed thanks to online friendships, and several people who found life partners online! So yeah, really there's no barrier between one mode and another. Online is just another way/place to get to know someone.
Sep. 6th, 2016 03:46 am (UTC)
I've had the good fortune to meet in person a lot of people that I've developed friendships with online.

I think, if a conversation/interaction is on a personal level, I prefer e-mail, IM, chat, phone, etc.

If it's a general conversation that others are welcome to participate in, regular online places like LJ or Twitter are good.
Sep. 6th, 2016 12:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think that's how it is with me too.
Sep. 6th, 2016 04:07 am (UTC)
I was on Facebook largely because of Lone Star Stories, but I found the whole thing a bother after a while. Once LSS shut down, I closed my account and haven't missed it a bit.

I became attached to Twitter for a quite while for poetry-related reasons, but a lot of the tweets that linked to interesting sites gradually vanished in favor of what I found to be rather dull inter-poet communications and cliquish behavior. So, I only monitor Twitter now for issues related to my daughter's interests, rather than my own.

LJ is really the only place I visit fairly regularly now--posting drafts of my writing and checking in on people I care about who still use it.

As far as in-person versus online preferences go, I'm good with either one. That said, most of my friends live elsewhere, and I don't travel often, except for my daughter's activities. My default communication method for friends is, therefore, online or via email.
Sep. 6th, 2016 12:20 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean by cliquish personal conversations. Even when Twitter is interesting links, I find it hard to keep up with in any meaningful way, because there are only so many links I have time to look at in a meaningful way. Twitter is like social white-water rafting! So much, so fast.

When friends are far away, any method that helps you stay in touch is good, absolutely.

Your work on Lone Star Stories was amazing. To think that you did that all single handedly!
(no subject) - ericmarin - Sep. 6th, 2016 01:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
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