facebook high

of course i’m getting a kick out of connecting with blasts from the past, but i just wouldn’t be me if i didn’t analyze the shit out of facebook.

i suspect most folks are accepting every friend-req that ever comes in. is it even possible to be discriminating? i feel like it’s just too hard to have any real facebook integrity – it's like we've all become giddy nostalgia-drunk, friending-up like virtual personas gone wild.

my story is this: one minute i’m avoiding facebook with smug ambivalence, next thing i know i'm sucked in by clean, bright interface (it’s not all dark and scrapbook-y like myspace was) and peer pressure. i think we all can agree that facebook is the best attempt yet at virtual simulation of real life social fora. don’t we love how facebook cleverly convenes the stories of the people in your 'community', esp those you don't see regularly? banal activities become 'news'worthy. the safety of a 'friend'ly audience lets people do all the wacky web stuff that was formerly intimidating or annoying like describe themselves and upload pics. i found it a cute way to share thoughts and routines with folks who otherwise would have had to wait til the next brunch encounter for a briefing or worse, that monthly email digest. i really dig knowing what an infrequent or geographically-remote friend ate this morning. i like glimpsing people in ways i can’t in the real world. i spend time on facebook every day, even though the median user age is probably 19 and i occasionally feel like an interloper among the cool kids.

but a couple of things are bugging me that few seem to be tackling [although this rant by palinode quite succinctly sums up so many shared concerns]. because recently it’s like someone flicked a domino - now all sorts of people from high school are knocking 'round, ‘friend'-ing and poking each other like we're just back from summer holiday as opposed to nearly 20 frickin' years. i find it fairly weird ... i mean, you're confronted with someone’s name or req and descend into a thousand little thoughts - did we ever give a shit about each other? did we hang out beyond the classroom? would i recognize you on the street? do i want to let you into my day-to-day shit? would it really matter if i did?

facebook is a cheeky tease who lures us in with slick friendster-plus ways, then hurls us face first into hard questions about whether or not we want memory lane re-routed into today.

if you’re mildly curious about someone – do you poke or friend-req her/him? or from afar squint at an ill-sized profile pic til the end of time?

if someone is mildly curious about you – do you accept the friend-req just because you once knew each other?

it’s one thing to dodge someone in the street or feign non-recognition at the home depot. but let’s face it, facebook pretty much renders us cornered. is rejection even an option? how does it convey anything other than I Am A Too Good Carmudgeonly Ass and Hereby Do Not Acknowledge You when what you acually mean is In That We Hardly Knew Each Other In the 80s, I'm Not Sure About Giving You (limited or not) Access To the Current Me.

maybe everyone else is thinking ‘who cares how long ago it all was, we’re pretty much strangers at this point’. we are all grown up with jobs and offspring and mortgages. aren’t we just so mature and different now - what does it matter that our relation to each other back then was at best, tepid, or at worst, chilly? name recognition on facebook is FUN and so fuck it, let's be friends!

my personal facebook outreach into younger years has been primarily to people who at some point meant something to me, however teenagey or fleeting that connection may have been. as for the incoming reqs, i might weigh someone against some criteria before making the all-important facebook declaration of friendship:

- did we get hammered or bawl together (maybe both on the same occasion)?
- did we read each other's angst-y poetry
- do i know the names of your parents, pets, and/or siblings
- did we spend an absurd number of hours over coffee and du mauriers at the quality, the cinnamon inn, master steak’s or smitty’s?
- did we cheat on tests or commit a crime together? [you know who you are]
- did we smoke in the downstairs girls’ bathroom, or get caught doing so?
- do i have good dirt on you, or vice versa?

i'm the one who has no desire to attend any high school reunion, and if i did, that interaction is brief and superficial, not to mention completely non-commital. a facebook 'friendship', on the other hand, lasts indefinitely until somebody bores enough to climb off the ride.

maybe no one else finds it odd to suddenly pop into the life of a yesterday person - however surfacey that virtual life may be - just because we can. my different worlds colliding - strangely - and i’m just trying to figure out how i feel about that.