[Note from Jodi: Please visit my brother’s post today to get some ideas about nominees for the Bloggies this year. I point you there for no particular self-serving reason.]
I’ve historically been a person that is hardwired to put people who are not in my immediate circle of contact on the permanent backburner. It has never been a case of not caring or not thinking about them. It has simply always been me wanting to put my finite amount of focus and time intensely on those people right around me. That could be the reason why I don’t make close friends very easily. I feel compelled to really give them everything I’ve got, and that feels like a big commitment. I know that not everyone wants that from me, which is probably why I have a lot of acquaintances who I’m friendly with but who don’t know me all that well.
But I’m beginning to realize that people don’t really need everything I have, and that I can operate in a more moderate zone of middle-ground-friendship. I guess that’s where I can offer help but not force it. I can confide, but more about events and less about feelings. And now that I’ve started thinking about being this kind of person, with friends who can know me but who I don’t have to live or die by, I’ve finally been able to sign on to Facebook.
This sounds ridiculous and it really is. But here’s the thing: I recently had a friend who urged me to sign on to it, as she was moving and she said it would be great because then I could see when she was going on a hike, and she could see when I was doing something fun with Roan. It seemed like a revolutionary thought and a big step forward as I opened up to the idea of not saying goodbye to my friend and putting her on the permanent backburner. Because I really like her, and I’d love to know how her life is, but I know myself well enough to know that I will not keep in touch in the traditional way, or even the modern way of email. I just won’t.
So I signed on and immediately had a rush of people who wanted to friend me. Sidebar: now “friend” is a verb, people. Just like “text”. I will friend you. I will text you. Ok, anyway. I had anxiety about how I’m going to tell all these people, some who I
haven’t talked to in fifteen years, what’s up in my life. But it all melted away because it turns out Facebook is like Friendship Lite. Now with fewer strings! You don’t have to catch up. You just say what you’re up to right now, you post a picture, or you don’t. You can ignore requests, and that’s ok. I don’t understand poke yet. But I will. Why are people poking me?
I suppose I’m just happy to see that these friends who I had some of the best times in my life are still living their lives. They’ve been married, had children, some mock me for taking so long to get onto Facebook (shocking, I know). But I’m basking in this new voyeuristic kind of relationship. As people keep talking of how disconnected we’re all becoming because of technology, I’m putting it out there that this is just a way to become more connected. We are plugged in to the same place, sharing things with people we would have otherwise never heard from again. That is connection. That is the connection of the fuuuuuutttttuuuurrrrreeee. (Please read that word as “future” in a robot voice. Thank you.)
Next I’ll write about an up and coming artist called Madonna who is really shaking things up. Because I’m only about four years late on this trend. I’ll try to lower the bar as to not make everyone else feel bad.