I've been thinking about posting about facebook for a while now (other than the odd reference to it as a time sucking black hole that is causing me to neglect my house, family, real life friends, and blog - yes it, not me). I have been avoiding posting about it because it seems bad enough to spend time on facebook let alone take time to blog about it. But seeing as three other bloggers that I read have done it and the kids are in bed, I figure what the hell.
Initially, my post was going to be titled things I've learned from facebook and it was going to be a bulleted list with the first bullet being it's not wasting time if you learn something. Then I thought it would be clever to throw it into a briefing note format but I couldn't think of a proper issue statement or crystallizing question so I've decided to just subject you to my usual disorganized ramblings.
Here's how it works in a nutshell. The addiction basically starts with someone convincing you to join (or several someones). At first you don't really understand the point because you add friends that you are already talking to (or reading their blogs), but then someone you haven't thought about or heard from in years adds you as a friend or sends you a note and you remember why you adored that person so much when you knew him/her, then it happens again, then you start searching for people you wonder what happened to and when you find them you find three other people you haven't thought about in forever, and on and on it goes.
There is a lot of freedom with the word friend on facebook - friend for some people (those with like 600 friends I'm assuming) seems to be as open as I met you once at a party in highschool, or I remember that name from somewhere, for others I think there is some thought going in to who they add as friends but because there are so many friend collectors it's really not so scary putting yourself out there and asking will you accept me as your friend. Now that we are all grown ups rejection rarely happens. Though to be honest I did contemplate rejecting the odd request until Jason convinced me otherwise (then went and rejected someone himself!). I think the freedom with the word friend is a good thing and I'm glad I listened to Jason even if he didn't take his own advice.
It has been amazing catching up with some people and visibly seeing just how much life goes on even if I still remember them as someone I can't even imagine keeping a job let alone having a house, a wife, and kids, or that someone I had imagined having that very life is leading the most amazing Bohemian (for lack of a better word) lifestyle. It's been interesting to see how the choices people have made have taken them to places I'm sure they never imagined. Talking to people in very different places now than they were then, it's easy to remember what drew me to them then because regardless of where they were then and where they are now their core is the same. The same is true for those that I wasn't so drawn to then; I'm not all that inclined to chat with them now. There are people that I had lost with touch with when they were struggling through choices and decisions that were easy to criticize and I'm proud that my capacity for compassion and understanding has grown as I've aged (though I think compassion is much easier when we talk to each other even if it is only through facebook).
It's caused me to reflect and to realize that I am content with the friends I have had and do have, with the things I have done, and with where I am and who I am now. It's nice to look back with no regrets and to feel optimistic about the future and it's even nicer to see that others are too.