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Novice navigates world of updates, pokes and walls


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I did it. I’m on Facebook.

All those “friend” requests that I’ve been holding for months in my inbox now show up on my Facebook page.

I’m still not sure how I even got a Facebook page. I don’t really recall establishing one. Honestly, I think someone created it for me as a joke.

One day, I opened up my inbox and there it was. Then a friend of mine added me as a friend on Facebook. Then another. And another. Sometimes, there were two or three friend requests in one day.

What are the benefits of joining Facebook anyway? I don’t go anywhere near the computer when I’m at home. And when I’m at the office, I should be focused on my work. I mean, let’s face it, there are plenty of ways that I waste time, but I don’t really need another distraction.

Don’t know why, but one day I just decided to take the plunge. I started accepting friend requests and before I knew it, people started writing on my “wall.” That’s when your Facebook friends post a message on your page.

Most of my messages those first couple of days read something like this:

“Who are you and what have you done with Tina Firesheets?”

“I don’t believe this is really Tina. Someone has stolen her Facebook identity.”

And this one: “Holy cow! Finally! Good to see you here!”

Then one of my friends “poked” me. What is that?

A co-worker said it was just a way to say “Hi.”

I poked back.

Facebook e-mails you every time someone writes on your wall.

Did I mention I don’t need any more distractions?

I overheard a couple of teenagers talking this summer about how disturbed they were to find their teachers on MySpace. The gist of their conversation was that teachers shouldn’t have MySpace pages. Not sure why, but I think it’s because they think teachers are too old.

I realize that by the mere fact that I’m writing this column, I must sound very old.

One of my Facebook friends, who also is a teacher, says she can lease me a couple of middle-school students to help navigate this complex world of Internet networking.

It sounds tempting, but I’m still not convinced that I have the time or energy for Facebook.

I wonder what Jane Austen would have to say about Facebook?

Features writer Tina Firesheets can now add Facebook to the long list of things she does when not working — while at work. Contact her at or 373-3498.Does site help us connect or force us to disconnect?


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I first learned about it from a church member who asked why I didn’t have a Facebook account. Everyone at our church had one, she alleged, and it was a great way to stay in touch, especially with teenagers.

Then I heard on National Public Radio that middle-age folks (and younger ones like me) are falling behind technologically and having trouble finding jobs because they don’t have a Facebook page.

A few hours later, there it was in my personal e-mail inbox.

A relative had added me as a “friend,” an e-mail explained, unleashing something most unexpected and maybe even too complicated and time-consuming.

I don’t have a blog, but I am not computer illiterate.

I have two work inboxes that I manage and a personal e-mail account.

I am a member of several Yahoo support groups, though I mostly only reply to the posts in my juvenile diabetes support group.

I listen to faith-based podcasts.

I never mail our health insurance contact any more, I just e-mail her our invoices and ask how things are going in Des Moines, Iowa, since the flooding.

Years ago when I was a member of an online ectopic pregnancy support group, we all met in Columbus, Ohio, for a weekend of adult fun.

I am not completely backward or uptight — just ready to get off the computer at the end of the day.

So, this Facebook thing is kind of annoying. And kind of fun. And kind of addictive.

I find myself checking it throughout the day, looking to see what all my “friends” are doing. My pastor wrote on my “wall” that he had learned more about me by just reading my profile than he had in the seven years we have known each other.

People I have not seen or thought of in years are now my “friends.”

But I am torn about whether this is a good thing. Free time is a precious resource, not to be squandered looking at the grainy vacation photos of people I vaguely know.

In some ways, this feels like just one more way we are enslaved to the technology that was designed to emancipate us.

Or maybe I need to just lighten up and postpone reading my latest library book. Sedaris will always be there.

Besides, it’s time to post “what I am doing right now” anyway.

Not a Facebook “friend” of editorial assistant Janice Carmac? No worries. You can reach her at or 373-7098.


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