The Five Stages Of Facebook Grief

On Tuesday, I will be giving a presentation to Oak Park-area business owners on the use of social media in business.

As part of my preparation, I was struck by the sense of dread that Facebook and its social-networking brethren routinely strike in the hearts of many business owners that I encounter.

Today, there are those who are kicking and screaming as they join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media. Their behavior is marked by so much reluctance and trepidation that I couldn’t help but create an adaptation of Kübler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief model.

What follows, then, are The Five Stages Of “Good Grief, Do I Really Need To Be on Facebook?”


1. Denial and Isolation.

At first, we tend to deny that the expansion of Facebook, from high school and college students, has taken place. We may withdraw from our usual social-networking contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer, especially if someone “pokes” us or tries to goad us into a virtual snowball fight.

2. Anger.

The grieving person may then be furious at Al Gore for inventing the Internet (even though he never said he did), or at the cyber-world, for letting online social interactions happen. He may be angry with himself for ever getting an e-mail account, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.

3. Bargaining.

Now the grieving person may make bargains, such as this one: “If I join Facebook, can I at least stop hearing about this thing called Twitter?”

4. Depression.

When prompted by the ridiculously open-ended “What’s on your mind?” or the terse command “Write something,” the person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.

5. Acceptance.

This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality that he will forevermore be in touch with hundreds, if not thousands, of people for the rest of his life. And what’s more, he actually likes it.

He starts a Fan Page of an obscure 16th-century poet.

5 thoughts on “The Five Stages Of Facebook Grief

  1. I have joined Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ve been using email since the end of the 80s. I don’t blog or tell everyone on a networking site because I have the good sense to know that some things are personal and other are not. If someone would be rude enough to demand that I write something I would simply reply NO.

    I think although boomers were the first to “let it all hang out” they, hopefully have learned that you don’t commit everything to writing for the entire world to see.

  2. I really can’t see the point of knowing every exacting detail of what someone else is doing.

    And here’s my question:

    Who, out there of anyone, has time to do any work for which they are actually getting paid?

    It just seems as though Twitter can be a huge time-waster for those of a narcissistic bent….

  3. Each site has its pros and cons – it takes participation and curiosity to discover which are the best fit to the user. Interactive media is like any other media in this regard. Sure, there are some people who like all newspapers but most of us settle on one or two. I’m happy that people who need a pat on the back or some form of recognition many times a day have a place to go where they can get that from like minded people. And, I also like it when a friend posts the best healthy happy hour food for free – because I trust her more than standard marketing. I don’t get what all the resistance is about or why its associated with us boomers!

  4. Thank you for initiating this discussion!

    LinkedIn makes sense me. After a year or more of being a quiet presence I found great value in the site when I was offered a book publishing deal as a first time author. Members of LinkedIn rallied to my questions and gave me warm, supportive and extremely useful information in making my contract decisions.

    The lively exchange created some nice online relationships and connections.

    Facebook I’ve joined and quit three times. When I join, I get a few people I know and a few people I barely know. Then suddenly I find ads, X rated content unrelated to me and what I am about.

    I get e-mails saying “I’m following you on Twitter.” I don’t know what to make of that, especially when I’m being followed by someone I don’t know.

    I have a website and a blog. I would like to increase my readership.

    But I don’t know how to connect with the social networking sites in a useful way.

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