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Archive for May, 2009

Unshunning Facebook

I’m back on Facebook, and I have mixed feelings about it.

I fled Facebook a few months ago. It just got to be too much. I want to stay in touch with people, but Facebook is like the close-talker of social networking. Whatever happened to good old email?

Remember when you could ask someone for their email and it didn’t seem like you were coming on to them? Now, it just feels awkward. I expect to hear, “Hey, I like you and all, but I’m straight.” It’s kosher to email someone whose email you have through work or another friend. But, to outright ask for it because you think someone is cool and you would like to hang out with them…well, it’s gotten weird. Why would you ask for their personal email? Why be so private?

I’ve seen a huge drop in emails coming into my inbox in the last year. Some of my good friends have stopped emailing me almost altogether. I know I’m not the best at emailing, but I almost always reply even if a bit late. It’s like Robert Deniro has invaded my friends’ souls. “Are you talkin’ to me? ‘Cause if you wanna talk to me, you talk to me on Facebook! “

Another obstacle in my coming to terms with Facebook is my being distinctly extroverted and introverted. I can be a little of both at the same time, but I tend toward being one or the other. When I’m feeling like the extrovert, Facebook seems brilliant. When I’m feeling like the introvert, it feels overwhelming and dirty. The bad kind.

Extrovert me wants to say what she feels and doesn’t care who knows it. Introvert me needs a certain amount of privacy and does not want to be bothered with the more trivial aspects and constant draw of Facebook. Sometimes, I like hiding. I like being busy.

Facebook has taken away the right to be busy. It announces to the world, “Hey, though I say I’m really busy and have no time to send real emails, look at how I just did on these five movie quizzes.” It blows the “I’m busy” cover out of the water. It’s out there. None of us are that busy if we all have time to take quizzes, play games, and find out what cocktail we are. Do you really need to take a quiz to find out what your porn name is? It’s Princess Calloway, and I learned that my sophomore year in college. Don’t get me wrong. These games and things can be a fun distraction. And, if you don’t know your porn name, I suppose it’s time you found out. For me, I prefer the old-fashioned method: your pet’s name plus the street you live on.

There is one other reason in particular why Facebook gives me the heebie-jeebies. You know how you have those one, two, or ten people that you just don’t need to run into again any time in this life or the hereafter? Call it a childish fear, but we all know those people. The ones that scarred us in love. The ex-friend/Diagnostic-and-Statistical-Manual-of-Mental-Disorders-poster child for clinical narcissism who suspiciously kept sabotaging little aspects of your life.

These people lurk. They lurk because we stay connected to people who are connected to people who are connected to them. Couple that with the fact that Facebook publishes the crap out of every move you make, and you are going to run into these people. It’s human—completely natural—that we don’t want to run into these people. I don’t need my skin to crawl anymore than it does already with that neurological sleep disorder whose name shall not be spoken. I’m all for forgiveness and moving on, but I don’t need to be e-hanging around with ghosts from my marginally sordid past.

But, I’ve come to feel as if I have no choice. If I really want to keep up with some friends, I have to be on Facebook. My main concern is getting in touch and staying in touch with people I’ve met here in Germany. I’ve met some amazing people, and I don’t want it to be one of those get-in-touch-and-go things.

So, I’m back on—for now. We’ll see how it goes. I won’t be on often, and I won’t answer every comment, poke, and I’m certainly not starting a virtual aquarium. I’m too busy.

–Frau Jones

P.S. Do NOT get me started on Twitter.

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