lundi, août 01, 2011
Facebook: It's just like high school!
Bantering back and forth with a seminary friend (yes, we found each other again on Facebook, after happily living our own lives for decades) yesterday, I came to the realization that we were part of a complex social system.
And not only THAT -- but this system was, in my world at least, remarkably like one many of us had experienced when we were a lot younger.
High school -- only without the books, the disinfectant, and the awful cafeteria food.
Well, think about it a minute.
There are the popular girls and boys - I have one Facebook "friend" who has more than 3,000 other "friends."
I don't feel special, but I bask in his reflected glory.
The teens, twenty-something and thirty-somethings with huge friend lists don't count -- for them, friendship is often a virtual relationship, and they also often have (let's face it) wider social networks.
I'm happy with my 259 BFF's, most of whom I have actually either met or spoken with -- only I'll be happier when I achieve 260.
Then there are the nerds (which implies nothing about physical appearance, as it did in high school). I was thrilled when my pal Katie quoted, or adapted, the poet William Carlos Williams last week -- although I have to admit, at first I thought "is that Wallace Stevens?"
Put me in the aspire-to-smart category. Apparently you don't get in free simply by being left-handed and near-sighted.
Of course, then, you have the jocks, usually guys. They are often rooting for, or against, various teams, or talking about people you have never heard of , and can only find in some obscure dusty corner of the Internet.
I've tried to join this group, too -- but I don't know enough, I'm not passionate enough, and I am a little faithless.
You've got the artists, posting photos, yakking it up about plays and inviting you to their performances in the gym (I mean, at the local repertory theatre).
Writers of all sorts, posting their stories, and trying to be just-so-clever (yes, we thought we were deep and witty in high school, too).
Student council? I've got more than a few politicians, present and former, as friends.
It doesn't hurt to be attractive -- we're careful, many of us, to put our "best self" up on our pages.
Then, my dears, there is the "ex" factor. Before my ex-husband actually got off Facebook 'cause he was bored (how could he have been BORED?) I "friended" his first wife. She seemed to think it was pretty funny.
After "unfriending" a relationship gone south a few years ago, I vowed not to do that again, unless the person was a psycho. It's just so "sophomoric." But I'm willing to bet that a lot of you have former girlfriends and boyfriends on your Facebook page.
The Internet age also allows us to check out new boyfriends, trophy wives, and flings -- and to guess which will last.
And that brings us back to my seminary friend. Just like some of us did after we left high school, some of us actually improve with age. Maturity, weight loss, Botox, that condo in Montana -- who cares why?
Which can lead to all sorts of interesting situations -- situations that might have been avoided if one person hadn't said to another -- "do you remember the evening when..."?
Facebook can be a dangerous neighborhood -- just like high school.
So watch what you say, or claim that you did. Your privacy settings might not be as good as you think they are! You don't want your reputation to be damaged by behaving like a "bad boy" or "bad girl."
Don't diss your best friends online -- they have friends.
Wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident.
One other thing -- eat your peas.