Facebook started out as a fun little thing where I was able to touch base with people from college and other past lives - people I hadn't invited into the Blog World, either on purpose or because I didn't know where they were.
Occasionally I am friended by someone whose name sounds vaguely familiar but that I wouldn't know from Adam if you mentioned it to me in passing. And then when they friend me and I see our mutual friends, it all clicks into place. In one example I've enjoyed a lovely online reunion with someone I knew only marginally at St. Olaf but whom I always liked a lot. It turns out that he had grown up in my Brooklyn neighborhood before moving to Minnesota for college.
(Insert audible "oohs" and "ahs" of the excitement from among my Gentle Readers.)
I still maintain that Facebook is a silly, fun little thing to pass the time and mess around with, whereas blogging is for the big guns, people who can and do take the time to write thoughtful essays rather than just doing a bunch of dumb quizzes and telling people what they are doing every given moment. I had a show-down at my wedding with an old friend who mocked my "blogging" as if it were some stupid teenage chatroom hobby.
"I don't see how you have time for that," she said.
"Time for what? You don't think writing is a commendable hobby worthy of an intellectual person's time?"
The fact that I am not an intellectual person was irrelevant, of course. In any event, I think she came around a bit after I tied her down and bitch slapped her for being so ignorant. Blogging is for writers. The rest of it (MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Twitter, and God knows what else) is for hacks.
But all of that was just a silly prologue to what I really want to talk about tonight, Gentle Readers. For it is now a fact that I opened my Facebook door to one person I adored from high school, a person I have not otherwise kept in touch with. A person who adored me back, and who, in addition to befriending weirdos like me, was a cheerleader and ran with a very popular crowd.
A crowd that, well, let's just say they didn't all think much of me.
One of the problems with Facebook is that once you friend somebody, you are subjected to seeing little blurbs flash across your screen about who else they are friending, who is commenting on their wall, who is tagging them in old pictures, and on & on.
This became a problem because Popular Mary is regularly friended by all sorts of people from the crowd that didn't think much of me. And even though it's been 25 years since I left that place, it still stings when I see some person who wouldn't give me the time of day popping up all over my screen when they comment on Mary's page.
I was marginally friends with a few of these really popular people, so I decided to friend them. Jared, Janie, Lorrie, Shawn and a few others. They all replied and made me their friend - but no personal response at all. No reply to my little messages when I sent them my friend requests. "Hi Janie, wow, it's been a long time! How are you?" Nothing but a generic "Janie has accepted your friend request."
Like I'm supposed to be so fucking honored. Grrr.
The last straw came this weekend when Jared, Janie, Lorrie, Shawn and others were all sending each other that stupid "25 Random Things About Me" thing. They were all writing their 25 things, mentioning each other, tagging each other and I'm still sitting here like some loser wallflower.
It's not to say that I have to be friends with everyone. I also had a lot of my own friends in high school, not to mention college and later years, and I wouldn't trade any of them for the world. Furthermore, I'm very comfortable in my misfit station in life.
But there still remain a few high school memories that are a little painful to relive. Maybe I'll write in more detail about some of them as part of my letting go process - "give til it hurts posting" as Dale calls it.
But for now, suffice it to say that this whole Facebook experience is making me feel like sh*t and I've decided to go up the river and take names. No one who makes me feel like shit gets to remain my friend on Facebook.
And while I still adore Popular Mary and will keep her as a FB friend, I have now officially unfriended Jared, Janie, Lorrie and Shawn. And because of a special test that Mindy June and I ran to examine the consequences of unfriending someone on Facebook, we know that the website is subtle, i.e. FB does not alert the unfriendee that they have been dumped.
So, the only way Jared, Janie, Lorrie and Shawn will know I've unfriended them is if they notice that their number of friends has decreased and they go on a fishing expedition to figure out why. Which I know they would never do, on accounta they are all popular and shit.
I don't know how all this Facebook crap will play out at the end of the day. But I do know one thing, Gentle Readers. And that is that you can all look forward to more painfully awkward posts on this and related topics.