January 31, 2009

Facebook Follies

Yeah, I am on the Facebook. Have been, oddly enough, since Carlos (from Jesus Politics) asked me to join an Obama group in February of 2007. For the longest time, I had a few work friends on, and used it so rarely that I always forgot my login. Then my nieces and nephews "friended" me and it became more useful. Over the last year, my friends list has grown to over a hundred people. Some are former students. Others are grad school friends, or just people I have met over the last 15 or so years. Some of my blog friends are on there (though you could blow dust off Leighton's profile--:) ). All of those friendships are fine. Some don't post much, some don't comment on mine. Some are rather vague connections and just acquaintances, really. And yet others are people with whom I communicate regularly through email, chat or in person.

But then I started friending people from the past. I graduated from high school 26 years ago this coming May, and it is connecting to people from that time that makes Facebook just a bit of weirdness. I always think of George Costanza's "worlds colliding" idea when I look at some of these people. I don't know the math, but it seems that for everyone I connect to from the 25 years ago period, there are three or four that are simply "there" and neither evoke good thoughts or memories any more than they do bad. And for every one person that makes me happy to have friended from that time, there are 2 or 3 that just bug the shit out of me.

Here is an example. I was in choir in high school, as I do have some musical and singing ability. As I have told several people recently, I was on the fringes of all the major groups in high school. I was an athlete, but not a jock--a good student, but not an AP nerd--and in band and choir, but not a band nerd. (Apologies to all the nerds reading this. Remember, I spent my adult life reading and teaching history. Nerd-dom is mine.)

Anyway, at the end of my junior year, I decided I was going to quit choir. The director had added some mega-choir combined from all the others, and that mega choir rehearsed over lunch for a half hour every day. As I looked to my relatively easy senior year, I did not want to spend valuable lunch time in that room. I could drive to lunch, and fully intended to do so. So I told my choir director that I was out. He responded in a way that surprised me greatly. He offered me a deal I could not turn down by letting me out of the mega-choir practice and letting me into the elite choir without an audition. I took the deal, and enjoyed that choir experience--and of course, the free lunches while my friends had to attend rehearsal.

Why does this matter? It really doesn't, except one of the high school "friends" that found me through Facebook was in that choir. He was (and is) a serious musician and, and was in band, symphony, and several choirs. As far as I know, he majored in music and tried to do it professionally before becoming a music teacher.

So, I saw his invite, and wrote him a note saying how nice it was to hear from him, and how fun it was in "Singers" that senior year.

He wrote back to say that it must have been a different year, because I wasn't in his annual for that choir.


Facebook weirdness.


steves said...

I am on there, too. I don't post all that much, but it is kind of fun to see how people from the past are doin.

leighton said...

I hate the Facebook UI, so I only log on every couple of months, usually in response to emails from friends who're trying to guilt me into approving their friend requests. It seems that if they have the choice between sending me a Facebook message then sending me an email bugging me to respond to their Facebook message on Facebook, versus just sending me an email with what they want to say and cutting Facebook out of the middle, sending one email would be quicker. But apparently not.

I'm staying away from it for probably the same reason I don't own a cell phone. I had one for a while, but I couldn't stand being so accessible. I'm also still a little bitter that I can't get my email from a command line interface anymore, like I could in the 90s. Get off my lawn.

Streak said...

Heh. Could not quite stop myself from poking Leighton on this one. Command line email--now that is cool.

Tony said...

Not on Facebook.

Along Streak's line of thinking, I went to my grandmother's birthday party (she turned 87) in November. I saw many members of my extended family I had not seen in better than ten years. I would have considered myself best friends with two of my cousins growing up and as I had seen them for the first time in a long time, we just kind of stood there looking at one another. It was weird because the three of us had changed so much and our interests had changed so drastically since boyhood conversation never progressed beyond pleasantries.

I would probably be a social outcast on Facebook anyway. Thirty-six and needing to crash into the twenty-first century. Sigh.

Streak said...

Um, I am not sure you qualify as some kind of luddite. After all, you have alienated Baptists in cyber-space already! :)

Tony said...

No, not a Luddite, definitely. I don't have an iPod, but I do have an mp3 player. Certainly that gets me beyond Luddite status.

Alienating Baptists in cyberspace isn't all that hard. Just say something positive about Obama.

Monk-in-Training said...

I am on Facebook, but have studiously avoided 'friending' my kids. I am sure they would die of embarrasment.