Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Facebook and Ambiguity

Ben's at the babysitter's and I'm in town so for once I'm way ahead of my work. So much that I can write an actual post.

I've been avoiding Facebook for the last year or so. I was already on myspace and I hated it. Myspace was a necessity for booking shows but that was all the good it could do. But as everyone migrated away to Facebook (Tim Warner has a joke about that so good I won't steal it) I did too. And I found something strange.

Everyone is here. Not just teenagers and creatives like Myspace. Everyone. My mom is here. Second and third cousins are here. And everyone I went to high school with is here. I feel uncomfortable about it.

There's a kind of "Magic Garden hippie commune" vibe on facebook. Anyone will add you. Anyone. Friends that haven't spoken to me in ten years added me within a day. Bitter feuds are resolved with a right click. I've been adding ex-girlfriends left and right.

And I can keep tabs on them. I can see what my old friends are doing every day. Even if I don't want to know about them, there they are. Taking pictures. Updating status. Going to dinner. There's a familiarity here I don't need. Am I a friend or a voyeur?

There's a few people I miss in my life and they are now my Facebook friends. Does this mean that everyone's cool with me? Should I message them and make jokes like I did twenty years ago? Am I back in their lives or am I just a living reminder of the past? When does it get weird? Besides now, that is?

I'm positive you have facebook friends you don't see in real life. How do you handle it? How do you treat them? How do you sleep at night?

4 comments:

Walker said...

bulls eye.....it is very strange. I know I don't like it...but I get the feeling of "too late now"

dave said...

Jon,

You've written the best critique of facebook that I've seen. This Social Media thing is like a big social soup of family, friends and people wouldn't normally chat with, and it is disturbing. It seems like the days of not mixing groups of friends are over. Facebook kinda' destroys that old social model. Its scary to see whats next. : P

Brian Kunath said...

I like it.

Kimmie said...

I agree with you and I agree with Walker that it's "too late now". Too many people are content with sitting in the house on a Saturday night sending mindless "hey, how ya doings" to dozens of people they never see. Now don't get me wrong, I'm into the whole computer thing. Mypace, facebook etc. And hey, what's wrong with a little voyeurism now and again? But come on people! I know it's cold out and it's snowing, that's because it's F#&*ING WINTER! Dust off your galoshes, grow a pair and go out and have a beer with some friends.
By the way Clark, it was really nice to see you and your wife at Walker's party instead of in this cyber "Magic Garden hippie commune".