facing up to facebook
I may not be able to vote in the US election but that hasn't stopped me lodging my preference on my facebook status. (The suspense, the suspense. Do you realise how painful it is to be twenty four hours ahead and have to wait, not for the 4th November, but the 5th?)
Ah, facebook. Good old facebook. Where would I be without facebook?!
At first I didn't really get the whole online social networking thing. In order to protect my identity I registered using my maiden name, which is kind of still my name, since I work under it at the hospital. The unexpected spin off is that old school friends have been able to find me very easily - noone who knows me now can find me, but those old school friends? We are right back where we left things, um, twenty years ago.
Which is one of the nicest things about facebook really. While the whole 'please be my friend' thing is irritating (what am I... in primary school, waiting to see if people will like me, approve me, befriend me? Or was that high school? It's all such a blur now!), it has been nice to reconnect with all those people from yesteryear.
But how much of a friend is a facebook friend really? Last count, I had 250 friends. I know this because in an effort to catch up with my brother's hefty friend list I check every few hours to see if anyone new likes me. I interact with maybe twenty or thirty of these friends, but mostly I just enjoy the vague sense of connection and knowing I could easily get in touch if I wanted to. Hardly friendship really.
I have to be careful on facebook because it's easy to take offense with the whole friend thing. A couple of girls refused my online approach. I don't really blame them, since at the time of our real friendship I was little more than a boring prude crushed beneath the repressive regime my father enforced. Another old school friend heartlessly cut me out of her friend list. I was a little miffed, but really... we were never close anyway, especially not after she told me her brother thought I would be beautiful if I bought the Avon she was selling. Since I would have done anything to get his attention I bought the Avon. Sigh. More recently I realised a local nursing colleague had chopped off our online alliance. I got all incensed and thought all kinds of indignant, injured thoughts before I realised I haven't seen her around (in reality or on facebook) for a long time. Chances are she ditched me long ago and I never even noticed. Obviously we weren't such great friends. Which all goes to show just how artificial facebook really is.
The jury is still out - facebook has its benefits (This evening I've swapped messages with a work mate and right now I'm using it to chat to a friend) and I love keeping up with the more intimate details of people's lives. But real friendship on facebook? About as remote as my current status making any real difference in the US election!
Ah well. All things in their place. Use it as a tool, just don't let facebook take over my life I suppose.