I find that the worthwhile conversations that I enjoy and value the most are never done online, and ironically, never with the people that use Facebook the most (mostly because they habitually ache for distraction). I generally avoid spending more than a few minutes a week on these networks (I reserve personal details for actual conversations) and I get by just fine.
My poorly articulated views on the matter are here (http://goo.gl/XjRLW), but in the meantime, hit the link for Deresiewicz’s full article, excerpts below:
“Facebook seduces us, however, into exactly that illusion, inviting us to believe that by assembling a list, we have conjured a group. Visual juxtaposition creates the mirage of emotional proximity. “It’s like they’re all having a conversation,” a woman I know once said about her Facebook page, full of posts and comments from friends and friends of friends. “Except they’re not.”
“Reading about the mundane details of their lives, a steady stream of trivia and ephemera, leaves me feeling both empty and unpleasantly full, as if I had just binged on junk food, and precisely because it reminds me of the real sustenance, the real knowledge, we exchange by e-mail or phone or face-to-face. And the whole theatrical quality of the business, the sense that my friends are doing their best to impersonate themselves, only makes it worse. The person I read about, I cannot help feeling, is not quite the person I know.”
“The first question that comes to mind is, if you’re enjoying a beautiful day in the park, why don’t you give your iPhone a rest? But the more important one is, why did you need to tell us that? We have always shared our little private observations and moments of feeling—it’s part of what friendship’s about, part of the way we remain present in one another’s lives—but things are different now. “