The Facebook Phenomenon, continued

Yesterday I wrote about Facebook and how it prevented me from feeling socially isolated while going through a divorce.

That’s true – it’s definitely kept me from feeling that way. On the other hand, I think it could be bad if one starts to think of FB as a substitute to actual human-to-human interaction. Y’know – when you’re in the same room together. Same with any kind of forums, listservs, emails, etc. It’s still not the same as being there.

The other thing I noticed is how people of my generation tend to look at FB differently from, say, Allie’s generation. She de-friends people with no regret. She doesn’t talk to them anymore – poof! they’re gone. She was in school with them and now she’s not – poof! goodbye. Not in the same activities anymore – see ya…

She says to me, I don’t talk to that person, so why should I be friends (FB friends, that is) with them?

Good question.

On the other hand, if I de-friended every person in my “friends” who I don’t talk to regularly I would have, like, five of them. Okay, more if you counted my colleagues and former students, but a whole lot of the people in my friends are people who I don’t talk to regularly.

And, even weirder, haven’t seen in 30 – literally 30 – years.

Since joining FB I’ve rediscovered people from junior high, old boyfriends (unfortunately one is gay and one is happily married), old colleagues, old friends of my brother’s, sorority sisters. I’m excited to friend them, catch up, and then share a little of our lives since last we spoke.

And then what?

Where do we go from there?

I mean, I don’t exactly know them. I did when we were 17; or 24 or 30, but, well, things have changed.

Depending on how active they are at posting photos or status updates I may know that they like to watch Lost or that they’re Cubs fans (my condolences) or that they just attended their new nephew’s bris (and as an aside – is it REALLY necessary to post photos of a bris on FB?).

I guess FB has become the proverbial “Hi! How are you?” exchange when you run into an old friend. One where you don’t even have to wait for the other person to pull out their wallet (or iPhone) with photos.

After the initial exchange, then what?

I made the mistake a couple of times of sharing, well, more than maybe I should have on FB with those old friends. I have a sneaking suspicion that the old friend with whom I shared the news of the divorce, the events of the last five years which precipated it, the ins and outs of couples counseling didn’t really want to have those details. Not sure why I did it, either, except that there’s a certain safety in it – it’s almost therapeutic. And I guess I figured that my real friends didn’t want to hear it any more.

Ha ha – I guess it’s no different than posting my day-to-day stuff here, except you don’t have to come here and read it, right? On FB, I feel this obligation to actually read everything that’s in my inbox.

Sorry, FB friends – I won’t do it again. Blog readers – thanks for putting up with me.

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1 Comment

Filed under Communication, Technology

One response to “The Facebook Phenomenon, continued

  1. My wife and I enjoying reading your blog.

    Two days after I signed up for Facebook I recieved a friend request from my first wife that I had not talked to in 8 years. She took off in the middle of the night to move in with her online boyfriend. Needless to say, I had some issues with her.

    The note that was attached to the request “when did you learn how to use a computer?” I was leary at first to accept her. My current wife talked me into it.

    So I wrote on her wall that I acquired my computer skills in college. I also told her that I now have three beautiful children and that I own two businesses. I thanked her for leaving.

    Sorry for rambling. Facebook helped me get over my issues from my first marriage.

    Keep up the good work.

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