Monday, April 25, 2011

If you can read this, you haven't seen me in 20 years.

Don’t let this two-posts-in-as-many-days thing fool you – the pace will dwindle, slowly at first, and then drop off precipitously, and then it will die, exhaling a final, ghostly breath of thwarted potential. Or, I’ll get a book deal. Whichever comes first.

So I’ve been thinking about Facebook. But really, haven’t we all been thinking about Facebook? I didn’t have an account when I was last writing this blog. I didn’t actually join until mid-2008, and that was only after I’d spent a few weeks dicking around under a fake profile I’d created for Radley in order to spy on people without making myself available. (What did I know from privacy settings?) Anyway, it was better than having Veronika email me microscopic pictures of people we’d had class with. Or was it? All’s I know is, if certain people knew just how often I looked at their shit, I’d be on some sort of official watch-list. The stalking I did in the last 5 minutes alone…

Not that I really know anything about Facebook, (although I did see The Social Network, which I assume is totally accurate and comprehensive). I don’t even really know how to use it properly. I’m just on it to look at other people’s lives and make downward comparisons to my own – I find it helpful to have visual aids for my low self-esteem. I’m also on Twitter , which I understand and know how to use even less. I missed the whole MySpace thing, I don’t use foursquare because of the aforementioned hermit-like existence (Nina checked in to her living room with 0 others), and I’m not on LinkedIn because I just don’t give a shit.

It’s not that I don’t like being connected – and god knows I enjoy the attention – but living online is weird. People either over-share (I do not need to see a picture of your sandwich [not a euphemism]), or create online personas that are either diluted or enhanced versions of ourselves made to present to the “public.” I prefer the latter, of course, since I pretty much believe people are full of crap most of the time, anyway, and, like I said, I don’t care about your sandwich (still not a euphemism).  At any rate, it’s nice to have reference materials for our social lives. I certainly wouldn’t know when anyone’s birthday was without Facebook, that’s for sure.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look at certain people’s vacation photos. Again.


Katie said...

"I find it helpful to have visual aids..." - my favorite part. Crackerjacks, really.

If I were an editor, you would totally have a deal. But alas, I am but a lowly dog walker, with only non-biodegradable poop bags and old tennis balls to offer. And having no connections whatsoever to publishing houses, editors, or for that matter the entire book industry, I must now scheme of ways to get you to keep posting.

Katie said...

Also. we are kindred spirits in the world of facebook. The first 6 months I was on it, my self-esteem took a dive into the super abyss. It seemed in every area (except maybe most photos of one's pet category), I was way behind my peers. And even though I still find that to be true, it doesn't bother me as much now. I think I just became used to it after logging in so many times. One of the website's many side effects besides crippling anxiety and alarming levels of procrastination - emotional desensitization.

I guess I cop to being one of the many who create diluted versions of themselves, as pathetic as this version is. Basically I only post when I want to share something that I consider important or interesting. Or on the rare occasion that I am proud of an accomplishment of some sort. Never when I am feeling like shit or bored or dissatisfied with life. I have a bunch of rationalizations for this but I guess the main one would be that that side of me gets enough air time in my head, why give it another venue.

I don't think I juice my profile to anywhere near the degree that it could be considered an enhanced version. I don't post pictures of myself that I consider unflattering but that's about it. I always assume everyone would be able to see through that ruse immediately anyway. I mean, I cried in class until middle school and I celebrated my birthday when I was ten by having my teacher over for lunch. There is no redeeming that level of dork, no matter how many years out one gets.

People with non-diluted, non-enhanced profiles tend to be the more interesting and likable updaters, I find. And even though I sometimes wonder what a more authentic profile of myself would look like, I am sure of one thing - I am sooo glad that fb didn't exist when I was 24, my prime years of compulsive oversharing and all around idiocy. Yikes, that would have been a real disaster.

Nina said...

Facebook is just bizarre, and exaggerates any insecurities I may or may not have. But, of course, it's become an integral part of my life. I definitely appreciate the personas people create -- hell, as the title of the post notes, I haven't seen most of my fb friends in decades (you included, which is sad and I hope changes one day) -- I think it's a good thing when people edit their lives for public consumption. Not lie about things, exactly -- just edit. Social networking = micro-fame, and none of us really know how to handle it. We should all have micro-publicists.

Any your profile/persona is great -- anyone who posts beautiful doggie pictures is A-OK in my (unfairly critical) book. Plus, you're interesting. So there.

TOTALLY agree with you about being glad fb didn't exist when we were younger. Oh. Em. Gee. I cannot even begin to imagine the sheer amount of self-important whiny bullshit I would have posted, and the ensuing shitstorm of responses I would have received, and then the psychological fallout from that? Damn.

Rebecca said...

I find it amazing that the status updates I leave on FB that I think are lame, get tons of comments and likes. Mean while the ones I think are really pithy people just ignore. Sometimes I don't even post one because I think, that's oversharing and people will just be annoyed.

I am on, but don't understand twitter.