Tuesday, November 04, 2008

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.

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At 12:13 am, November 05, 2008, Blogger Joyce said...

You are an interesting writer. I like the things you come up with and I love the way you express yourself. I find it interesting that you are a nurse - at least I am assuming you are a nurse. I have worked with nurses for years and years - recruiting, staffing, managing. An excellent profession. I am also on Facebook but do not visit it often. Between the toilet talk, your ears and sharpening knives, I just wonder what you will come up with next!! Very enjoyable blog!!!

At 3:08 am, November 05, 2008, Blogger Cherie said...

Facebook and me - not gonna happen.

But you are wise, you will use it as a tool.

It really is a strange and unreal phenomenon isn't it.

(The word verification is 'messy'. Is my computer looking at my house?)

At 8:31 am, November 05, 2008, Blogger deanna said...

I'm with Cherie. Won't go near Facebook, because I need to save a bit of life somewhere "out here." But I do hear it's fun to connect with long lost folks. You're doing your usual best, it sounds like, to keep the perspective in balance. Hope you can survive waiting for the election results - I'd just rather it all go away...

At 1:58 pm, November 05, 2008, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

Me either, my sister tried to get me on myspace, I fell for it, then didn't want to do it any more and now I find that I cannot delete myself. Isn't that awful, I can't delete myself! I can change my identity though so I did that, now I'm some 30 something with nothing to say! Hmm, take that myspace!

my word verification is proppop, sounds too much like poop!

At 5:19 am, November 06, 2008, Blogger merrymishaps said...

I resisted facebook for a long time because I assumed, like myspace, that it was for kids. That's how it started, right?

But when I got two requests from friends in one day, I finally caved. Now I've reconnected with most of my college friends, and even a few high school ones.

I'm using my married name, but my college friends either know I'm married, or can figure it out since I met my husband in college.

For high school, it's not impossible for them to find me since there weren't many 'Laurens' in our class, and I hope I haven't aged too much!

I'm finding out lots of important news from people through their status changes and uploads -- like long distance moves and new babies -- so it's a great way to stay in touch.

Even if I don't communicate with everyone directly, like you said, it's nice to know I can!

At 7:56 am, November 08, 2008, Blogger Angela said...

hey, i'll be your facebook friend! i'm under angela davies stewart. but i warn you: it's pure silliness and cuss words with me there. maybe i relax more than i should in such a public place, but it feels like my living room.

At 7:11 pm, November 09, 2008, Blogger Robyn said...

Well, you know I love facebook! I've had a great time reconnecting with people, and while I don't interact with a lot of them frequently I like knowing that I CAN if I want to....that they're found again if that makes any sense! I do think its weird when people who were horrible to me in high school send me friend requests...or people who I can't even remember!! :)


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