Thursday, November 20, 2008

facebookers unite

i first joined facebook a couple of years ago, back when i was still in grad school. at first i didn't do much on it: no status updates, no photos, no groups. my poor friend adriel sent me a message on there that i never even picked up until probably 6 months later. it was back in the day when to be on facebook you had to be attending a school, so my only friends on there were people that i either was going to grad school with, or who were going to another grad school at the time (but that i was already somehow friends with in the real world). fast forward to last summer. my sister rebecca had joined facebook and wanted more friends. she not only added me as a friend, but she uploaded a photo of me to be my profile picture. that was the beginning of it all...

i have friends who have resisted facebook, and friends who think it is a poor substitute for "real" human interaction. that's fine. i have no need to coerce people into following in my footsteps (well...maybe only a little). but i kind of love facebook. 

first of all, i moved around a lot growing up. when matt and i were first dating, i had to draw a map of the united states to describe where i lived, and what years i lived there, with lines going from one city to the next. not only did we move, but i changed schools a lot: in 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. matt, on the other hand, grew up in ventura and lived there until he went to college. so, for me, when i go home to visit my parent's house (which is now 3 miles from me), i'm not going to run into someone that i took 5th period biology with, and we're not going to drive by my elementary school. my memories feel somewhat fragmented, since they are scattered across the united states. and often i've wondered, for instance, do the people who i went to 4th grade with even remember that i was a part of their life? am i remembering people as part of my own history that would never include me in their own personal history? 

so unlike my friends who absolutely do not want to add a single friend from their high school- or earlier- experience, i am all about it. it's not because i had an amazingly perfect elementary through high school run, void of awkwardness and embarrassment and bad friend moments. ha- far from it. but it acts as this validation that the history i am remembering, even if it was only at this school for one year, or that school for two, existed. it acts as a reminder to me that maybe i did play some part in the lives of others. it is really fun to reconnect with people whose lives intersected mine when i was a child, and as i grew older into high school and college. 

ok, ok, so for some of these people, i've added them as a "friend" and that is that, no additional interaction since then. it is a momentary, "oh yeah! i forgot about them. wonder what they're doing now..." and then nothing else again. but there are a few friends who i am authentically communicating and connecting with. for example, when i've gotten messages from my forever friend sooz, whose mom was pregnant with her at the same time my mom was pregnant with me, or my elementary school friend claudia, who tried to convince my mom that i should get my ears pierced in the 6th grade, it has reminded me that we may have been little people, but there is a reason why i was friends with them way back long ago. these relationships were not without their flaws. hello, we were girls and girls are inherently lame to each other. but that reconnection has been a gift to me: to be able to share the real things that are going on in our individual lives even though we have been separated by time and distance is pretty great. and in some ways it's like coming home to a place you know like the back of your hand, because it little ways it reminds me who i used to be and simultaneously shows me that i have grown and matured into someone else while still retaining parts of myself that have always been there.

so maybe it seems silly, or like faux friendship, but i love facebook. and i'm willing to put up with the random friend requests and virtual time suck if it also means that i'm coming back again to some of the people who have marked my life at different points in time, and who in some small way have contributed to who i am today. for me, who has to fly to opposite parts of the country to experience the landscape of my childhood, it makes me feel like i get to drive by my middle school or run into someone from first grade at the store when i open my profile page. and for me, pretty much amazing. 


  1. LOVE it. Remember when facebook was "The Facebook". I hear ya on that, I think it is funny the value that can be associated with facebook, but if you have the right attitude and use it just say hey once in a while to someone you otherwise would not have seen or talked to --there is nothing wrong with that.

  2. i heart facebook and i heart you!


    Check it b4 you wreck it


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