20 August 2008

In Your Facebook

There is something wonderfully peculiar about Facebook. I was rather a latecomer to it; I was still trying to like/master MySpace. I hesitated before joining. One more site to manage? I wasn't sure I could do it. Two MySpace pages, one on RedRoom, a website and blog, all of which were sorely neglected. I decided to dip my toe. After all, I could always abandon Facebook, too.

At first, I was taken aback by all the "Applications" I had to deal with every time someone wanted to give me a hug or a drink or good karma. Now, I know better and am a bit more choosy about which ones I add. Friends were another story, though. Those I approved willy-nilly.

It began as a virtual reunion of high school friends. I think we were still on something of a high from getting back in touch at the actual reunion. Then we bumped into those who couldn't make it to the overpriced, underwhelming bash we'd had. Suddenly, I was "talking" to people I didn't really talk to in high school. I don't mean that in a snotty way. Not at all. We just ran in different crowds, were seated on opposite ends of the classroom, or we hadn't had a class together since junior high. And, in all honesty, I so couldn't wait to get the hell out of there, I wasn't one to hang out.

Another set of "friends" came about when one lovely lass was looking for a classmate who shared my name. I explained that I didn't go to school in DC, but we could still be friends. And so we did. Another of her classmates contacted me, then another, and another and another and another. I let them all know I wasn't that Sandra, and kind of feel like I've poached her friends, who seem very nice by the way.

There are of course a few local friends I 'book with, but that's so not the point. When you live in the same area code, why bother writing on the wall when you could simply meet for dinner? Facebook is more the way to reach out and touch someone far away and bring them closer. Or at least attack them with your Zombie.

But there is the other side to it. How do you get rid of someone gracefully? Someone you didn't really expect to be your friend, just that Facebook got ahold of your Gmail and sent out invitations without you even realizing it. Or kind of an acquaintance who is a little too in love with SuperWall. Is there a way to "hide" them? I mean, I don't want to be rude or break off the virtual friendship, but there are just certain things I don't want to know or get an email notification about. It's nothing personal per se. There are just a few hairs in the salad. I'm afraid if I blocked them or something, the whole world would know. That news feed keeps nothing secret. A friend of mine wanted to tell me about her impromptu wedding first, but Facebook beat her to it by like three minutes. It's spooky.

Even with the fact it can't keep its trap shut and I know a bit more about some people than I would like, I find Facebook to be the most pleasant time suck. I can tend my virtual garden, bite some chumps, adjust karma, even slap someone with a fish and not worry about getting sued. And that's almost a perfect world for me.

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