Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Break Up

There's someone in my life I am considering breaking up with.  He takes up too much of my time, spreads gossip about me to other people, and embarrasses me with bad photos and even more cringe-worthy comments.  He forces me to acknowledge people that are probably best forgotten, and he forces people to remember me when I'd probably prefer some of them didn't.  He makes me feel like that awkward high school kid and a coming-up-on-middle-age fogey all at the same time by jamming almost every social relationship I've ever had into one tiny cyberspace.

Yeah, I'm talking about you, Facebook.

I was a latecomer to Facebook, only signing up about 18 months ago after much effort to avoid.  And at first it was bliss.  I could be a voyeur in the lives of people I had always wondered about.  I could accept a friend request, peek at someone's photos to see how they aged, check out who they married, and what they did for a living.  Problem is, my curiosity really ended there.  But instead of a tidy and brief 'through the keyhole' interaction, I spent the next months blocking pokes and flair and hugs from people I'm certain I will never see in person again.

So I went housecleaning.  I've always loved a good clear out, so I started defriending that guy who went to another school who I couldn't really remember but swears we met at a debate tournament in junior high once.  I defriended anyone that I knew in  my heart of hearts I either was never really friends with to begin or would never see again (and didn't regret the fact). I even managed to figure out how to block all those annoying applications that were desperate for my details.  And peace reigned... for a while.

Then I went messing with my privacy settings.  I locked my profile down so heavily no one could see anything.  Which, frankly, wasn't a huge problem for me.  Until it was.  And I started getting flack from others asking why they couldn't see my wall, my photos, my status updates, etc.  I'm usually pretty good at managing to offend people myself in real-lifesies, so I sure don't need the added complication of unintended cyber offence*

I really wish I had the cahones to just quit Facebook altogether.  But as a stranger in a strange land, it plays a role for me of keeping me in touch with my people**, and that's important.  I like keeping up with my high school peeps and those friends I've made around the world.  But I do wish some of the recent trend to be offended by Facebook activities would cease, as it is making what is supposed to be a fun way to keep in touch seem like hard work.

And, really, if you think about it, the stuff we share on Facebook with the people that don't really know us is quite astounding. This video from BBC3 summarizes it perfectly (and gives a giggle to boot):

* Heck, if I'm being honest, sometimes offence probably was intended.  Which makes me like Facebook even less as it makes me do petty and impetuous things.
** And to my 'people' - don't be miffed with my diatribe. I may want to break up with Facebook, but not with you.  So no hurt feelers or looking for yourself between the lines in my message.