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I really really want to hate FaceBook, but I just can’t

standard January 14, 2009 5 responses

I have an odd Facebook resistance. First I want so badly to hate them and shun them for the whole Facebook Sucks – anti-breastfeeding saga. Then I just want to shun them because… because… well, I really don’t know why. It’s especially odd since I’m usually always ready to jump onto any passing social media bandwagon.

First there’s my whole issue with the extra stuff that goes on there. Are we really saving the earth with cute little “green plants,” or are we just wasting each other’s time? Do I really need to see if I’m related to the whole world? And why can’t I just play games on Yahoo! like I always have?

Second there’s the whole email thing. I used to get forwards that I could delete in 0.3 seconds. Now I get Facebook messages that take 5 minutes to open before they can be deleted. Granted, I’ve been told that I can change those email settings, but until recently if I hadn’t gotten those regular emails I would never have checked my Facebook account.

Yes. Yes. You read that correctly. I said until recently. Because, bah, I’ve gotten sucked in. I couldn’t help it! The pull was too strong. Not the pull of the friends I already know and love. Nah, I’m probably already chatting those people up on Twitter or IM. You know the pull I mean. The “eh, I wonder what that person has been up to these last couple years…” pull.

I’m placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of one of the friends who came to visit this summer. We were sitting there talking about people we remembered from high school, and he said that so and so was on Facebook, and so we looked her up and that lead to looking up a host of other people, and, and, and well, there’s really no excuse for the extremes I took it to. Seriously, I looked up, and friended(!) my first crush, from when I was 11. Who does that? (Also, while we’re at it, when did Friend become an acceptable verb?)

Even so I was still feeling conflicted about the whole thing. I’d still rather spend my time reading blogs or Twittering than bouncing around from Facebook profile to Facebook profile. It’s bizarre, but I feel more like a stalker on Facebook than I ever do reading people’s most intimate thoughts on their blogs. But, today I’m conceding that Facebook does have it’s great upside. Today one of my oldest friends reached out through time, space, and my sister’s Facebook account to say hi and I almost cried. (My account is under my married name, my sister still has my maiden name.)

I can still remember seeing her bike away 22 years ago as our station wagon pulled out of our Rye, NY driveway for the last time. Tears streamed down my face as I waved goodbye to her, my bestest friend ever. We were heading to the airport, leaving the country forever. We moved to London, England, then Paris, France. Shortly after our tearful goodbyes her family left the U.S. to move back to Australia and we lost touch. We were 10, there was no email, it was all too easy to forget to write.

I’ve often looked at her picture in my photo album and wondered what happened to her and now I know. She’s hanging out somewhere in Australia looking up old friends on Facebook. And I, for one, am tearfully grateful for this not so little website that’s allowing me to find my long lost friends again (Yes, even the ones I should probably leave lost in the sands of time, like say, best forgotten crushes.) and I won’t be dissing them any more.

Original It’s my life… post.

When it rains it floods down here on memory lane

standard October 24, 2008 3 responses

I just spent a week catching up with my best friend from middle school. Oh, he might not know he was my best friend, but he very much was.

While he was here I took a little spin on the Facebook search page and did something I’d never once had the urge to do before. I checked out all the people we’d known in school. Is that odd, that I never once looked them up? Is it even weirder that before he showed up on my doorstop I’d forgotten most of their names?

There are three people I remember clearly from those not so pleasant days. One I’ve been in touch with regularly since she left. One I’ve been in touch sporadically over the years. And one I lost touch with the day High School ended.

The others are for the most part forgotten. Willfully? Accidentally? Does it matter? They are a haze in a haze.

I scrolled through the list of their contacts and names jumped out at me, grabbing me, forcing me to stare unwanted memories in the face. I reluctantly clicked on one or two names, wondering what they were up to these days. I hastily clicked away from people upon learning that they lived here, right here, in the Bay Area, a million miles away from home. Now I glance around me in the street wondering if they are somewhere near. Wondering if they’ve changed any. Wondering if I care.

While I was torturing myself I pushed a little further and checked on my first boyfriend. (I’d write first love, because it was true, but I hate to attribute such power to such a lowlife.) Word of advice – Don’t do that. Ever. Nothing good comes of it. Trust me. If he’s hot now, who cares? And if he’s as unattractive it doesn’t change anything either. Just one more picture to haunt you at night.

And then, because clearly I wasn’t tormented enough, I picked at my favorite scab. The friend who vanished the day after High School? Could I find her? Was she lurking in the hidden pages of Facebook?

I tried to find her for years. I knew her alma mater and found her email. I agonized over an email for months and when I finally sent it it boomeranged back “address unknown.” I filed it as a lost cause and tried to move on. But losing a friend hurts, and losing a best friend hurts more, especially if you never knew what you did to cause the rift.

Hindsight might be 20/20, but I’m no Sherlock Holmes and I’m missing too many clues to truly know where I went wrong. Today I can only assume that the lowlife boyfriend was the cause, but again, that might be granting him too much power.

I didn’t find her on Facebook. I found her on LinkedIn. And I emailed her, not the agonised missive about lost friendship, just a quick “You live here! In my backyard! Minutes away from where I life. Wow. Can we talk?”

Today she wrote back. Like a hand reaching through time. She sent a picture and her familiar face smiled at me through the screen. I looked at her and thought “I’ve missed you so much. I’m so sorry I screwed up. Can we please be friends again?” The apology is 15 years late. I still don’t know what I did. But I am grateful for the chance to try again.