HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Remember when there was no Facebook? Really. Try. First, what did we do with all that time? Write poetry? Read great books? Make souffles? Talk on the—whaddaya call it? Phone?
Second, of all the unanswerable questions in the universe--like, why does the last item never fit into the dishwasher, why do you think of the perfect bon mot too late, HOW could we have forgotten whatever it was and why does everything always get scheduled for the same day--now we have to answer a new one.
Does Facebook matter?
Okay, I’ll go first. I have no idea. I—like it, though. I do. I’m fascinated to hear what’s happening with everyone, I love hearing about funny stuff, and life changes, and books, and ideas. Ideas! I love the funny videos (did you see the conducting kid?) and the old wedding photos and the quizzes about which movie star or dog breed I’m the most like. (I even liked creating my Star Trek name, Ryaha Millri. Or something like that.)
But I am constantly amazed at how I can get lost in the Facebook molasses…drawn into the vortex of jokes and gossip and news and daily lives and I look up, and 30 minutes have gone by. What did I do? What did I learn?
And—does it matter? Is it our back fence, bringing us closer together? Or is it the worst time-waster in the history of the planet?
Are you on Facebook? How do you feel about that?
LUCY BURDETTE: Definitely an addict here. And it FEELS like our back fence. But it's a terrible time-waster, I'm certain of that. I swear I'm reading less because of Facebook. On the other hand, I've met people I wouldn't otherwise know, and heard their stories, and gotten and given sympathy...Oh yeah, and my stripper name is Schatzie Sutton.
HALLIE EPHRON: I confess, I am addicted to it. I love connecting with people, and with so little overhead (no driving, no making dinner reservations, I can 'hide' people who verge on annoying...) My high school reunion is coming up, and it's such a perfect way to remember classmates, for better or worse. I do not take the quizzes.
RHYS BOWEN: Guilty too. I found out that my son had gotten
engaged on Facebook. I see pictures of my grandkids' achievements on Facebook, plus family members across the globe, plus cute puppies interacting with chicks Plus finding out what my stripper/Game of Thrones/fairy name is. Supreme time waster... however, I am quite aware of its power. I have almost 11,000 followers on my author page and if I post that I have cut my finger I can guarantee that within an hour I'll have a hundred or more people volunteering to type my manuscripts for me. I've never had such immediate and intense interaction with fans.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Yes, I'm on Facebook. I have such a love/hate relationship with it, though! As a work-from-home writer and mom, it's a great place to take a "break" — the equivalent of yesteryear's water cooler. Yes, I suspect I spend too much time on it and have been cutting down. There are great time-tracking software programs (I like rescue time.com) that lets you know exactly how much time you're spending on which sites. But, really, I feel like I get so much from it — most of my friends are scattered around the globe — and I love staying in touch, seeing pictures of their kids and pets, etc. In fact, every time I think of quitting, someone posts an adorable baby photo or a puppy video and I'm
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I love Facebook, too. I look at it as the equivalent of reading a daily "friends" newspaper. (And usually so much LESS depressing than an actual "news" paper, although it allows me to keep up when friends are having problems as well as keeping up with the babies and puppies/kittens). But I just skim a couple of times a day, and don't ever look at Facebook when I could be reading a BOOK!
Like Rhys, I love the interaction with readers on my author page, and consider that a valuable part of my daily life as a writer. On the personal side, I don't do politics, games, or quizzes, although I do like to share a good joke or video.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Rhys, oh no! Hilarious. Yes, it's
amazing. People ask me the most personal things, and I always think--how did you know about that? And then I realize, gulp, I put it on Facebook. :-) I've gotten cooking advice, and work advice, character names and grammar assistance.
I know I see some of you on my Facebook pages--thank you! Do you look at the personal page or the author page? So give the Reds some guidance: how do you use Facebook? Or not? Can you not live with it--or not live without it?