Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Digressing Diatribe on a Great Discovery

A few weeks ago, I found an old friend from college using that most powerful of investigative tools: Facebook. It’s more than a small wonder that I did that, because when these social networking sites first started cropping up and catching on, I was an outspoken detractor of them. A hater, if you will. My thinking was that those sites were for tweens and teens (and adults that wished they still were one of those), and that communicating via internet was handicapping people’s true social skills. Like maybe someone is all outgoing and chatty, making friends easily on Facebook, but run into that same person at the theater and they can’t even piece together a full sentence or hold eye contact! And then there are those out there “reconnecting” with people that they never even spoke to in school and wouldn’t have even recognized if they sat by them on an airplane. My feeling is if we didn’t have anything to say to each other sixteen years ago, when we saw each other in study hall every day, we probably don’t now either. And I also firmly believe there is something to be said for not being able to revisit past mistakes in the form of ex-boyfriends and old frenemies.

But, after countless adult friends touted the wonders of Facebook, I eventually caved in. It’s no secret that I’ve never been one to resist peer pressure. And it’s no secret that I’ve often been the one doing the pressuring. (See Heather 1990-1999, for the best examples) And while I still believe some people abuse Facebook and it does lead to social retardation in others, I can admit when I’m wrong about something. I like that I can keep track of friends and more distant family members that I don’t live very close to and haven’t seen very often in the last decade, but still care about. I enjoy hearing about their adventures, seeing pictures of their children, and learning about their careers. I don’t need to know what they had for breakfast every day, but you have to take the good with the bad. And, I appreciate its usefulness in finding someone like my friend, who I hadn’t talked to in over ten years, but was very close to in college. Getting married, moving from state to state, and all around different directions of our lives led to us losing touch, but we shouldn’t have let that happen. I shouldn’t have let that happen with a lot of friends. And ten years ago, regretting we lost touch would have been the end of the story, but now it doesn’t have to be and I guess I have Facebook to thank for that. And it’s been helpful in directing people to this blog.

So, all that to say, I think Facebook was a great invention. It would help if people obeyed some basic rules, like don’t tell us what you ate for lunch unless it was something exciting like the ear off a live pig, married people shouldn’t friend anyone who has had their tongue in your mouth, you have to have one actual friend for every fifty you have on Facebook, and we could dial it back on the descriptions of your child’s vomit. I’m okay with knowing they did it; I just don’t want to know what menu items from their lunch were in there. Unless it was the pig’s ear.

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