I stopped using Facebook in March 2018 when I learned that Cambridge Analytica had hijacked information about all of our Facebook friends. I might never have reactivated my Facebook account if Covid-19 had not put us in quarantine. I missed being in touch with family and friends and so I reconnected in December 2020.
My standard practise is to check in on Facebook, usually in the morning, using my laptop. I rarely use my phone for Facebook because I find the screen and font too small for comfortable reading. That would be all well and good if it were not for Facebook Messenger. When I text, I use Apple’s Messages application which came with my phone and is linked to my Apple Mac laptop. What I didn’t realize until yesterday was that Messenger is a separate app on the phone. It doesn’t come automatically with Facebook.
That oversight caused me to miss a coffee date with a friend yesterday. He was visiting Edmonton and we were going to meet up before he left to return to his home city. We had a tentative time set and agreed on a convenient location. He was going to let me know when he was leaving a prior engagement and I would then leave home and meet him at the coffee shop. When I didn’t hear from him, I left home anyway, thinking that he would contact me while I was en route.
My phone doesn’t send me notifications while I am driving, but it will allow phone calls and that is what I was expecting. Wrong again. He was trying to reach me via Facebook Messenger but I didn’t know that until I had stopped driving.
As soon as I realized, I tried to respond to his messages but first I had to download the Messenger app. I had assumed it came with Facebook which I have on my phone, but it doesn’t. Gah! By the time I had this all figured out, he was well on his way home and probably annoyed with my failure to communicate effectively.
Prior to this, I have only had one other friend who chose to use Facebook Messenger to arrange to meet, and I read and replied to her messages well enough that we were able to get together for lunch a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think she knew I wasn’t using my phone for that meetup, and it didn’t matter since we both arrived at the restaurant at the same time. If there had been any change in our plans, though, I would not have been able to tell her because I didn’t have her phone number.
Now that I have Messenger on my phone, Facebook has my phone number and I don’t like that very much. The less Facebook knows about me, the better. In future, though, if I am arranging to meet anyone I am going to text or email my phone number to them. That way I will know that we can explain ourselves if there is a snafu.
You would think that having more than one way to send messages would be a good thing, but with multiple applications come multiple ways for me to screw it up, especially when Facebook makes life more complicated that is necessary. Actually, I think I’m going to lay all the blame at Facebook’s feet. I quite like having another reason to be mad at it.