Not so long ago, I noticed how many people agreed with me when I would reluctantly admit my hatred for Facebook.

They didn't just agree halfheartedly, mind you, but they began a conversation, which usually went something like this:

Me: Yeah, sorry, I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook, I schedule much of what goes there, and I just find that I hate actually being on Facebook. I can't seem to like it.

Them: You know, me too. I'm just there because {various reason, ranging from grandkids to family connections to addiction}.

Me: So, what do you think about {insert any other topic}?

I've found, quite by accident, that many of the people I turn to for advice on how to be "effective" on Facebook secretly seem to detest it.

I'm pretty active by Facebook standards. I have a personal account and six pages I'm pretty invested in--my personal page, my Catholic Family Fun page, the page for my 5th grade religious education class, our parish's page, the page, and the New Evangelizers page.

And yet, the only reason I'm on Facebook is because it's where everyone else seems to be. This is, in the publishing industry, a lucrative part of an author's platform. Having a group that follows your every breath on Facebook is arguably a group that will buy your books (or product, if you're a speaker or some other public person).

I've come to a very arms-length approach to Facebook. I will post updates and announcements, share pictures once in a while on my personal account, and schedule various things.

I don't, however, let Facebook "get" to me. I have enough drama in real life, thankyouverymuch.

Achieving that stance took some time. Once upon a time, I had Facebook comments and messages delivered to my (nonsmart)phone. Once upon a time, I was texting updates to Facebook as often as I was to Twitter.

What I've come to realize, though, is that whereas Twitter's like a lunchroom, where people pop in and out with varying degrees of frequency, Facebook is more like a dining room. There's still a coming and going, but on Facebook, there is a very different level of intimacy.

We have a brand-new nephew in the family, so I get onto Facebook lately to check for pictures of our new little guy. When I wonder about an old acquaintance, I will occasionally pop in and see how they're doing via their Facebook feed. I lurk around, when I have time, on my nieces and our various siblings, often just reading, looking, and not interacting.

Facebook always comes after everything else on my priority list. I have way too many online distractions already (Google Reader, anyone?) to let it turn into a time sink for me. (Been there, done that.)

Besides that, I don't really enjoy it when I'm there a lot. I find myself getting angry over things that, later, I can calmly recognize as being "nothing." I wonder about someone's attitude, forgetting that their best face isn't necessarily showing. I take offense at something that was supposed to be funny or quirky or even seriously none of my business.

Turns out, I'm not the only one with this relationship with Facebook. When you're done here, amuse yourself by Googling "hate Facebook" and spend some time reading, laughing, and groaning.

This all leads me to wonder, does anyone really like Facebook? Are we all there just because everyone else is? And if so, what's the point? (That's an open question. I'd love to hear your responses in the combox.)

I'm not going to be deleting my Facebook presence anytime soon (or probably ever). I'll suffer through and I'll even not complain (to you) about it (much).

I have made very real friends thanks to Facebook. That said, I still hate it.

Guess that goes to show just how much good can come from something you hate, huh?

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P.S. No, that's not one of my kids in the photo. But I am going to totally stage a photo of them doing that, because I'm sure to need it! :)

Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard