My sister in Ireland asked me to subscribe to Facebook a few weeks (months?) ago, so I did. It’s a strange place. When I signed in, it asked if I wanted it to find my friends. I said yes, and a list of people popped up. All but one I knew in some way or another. It brought home how everything we do is connected via the internet if we’re online at all. I suppose it pulled names out of my email address book in order to connect me with people all over the word whom I’d emailed at some point or another.
So I added my “friends,” and pretty soon my friends and sisters were sending me things: pink ribbons and hugs, astrology charts and video invitations. Today I got a “Funwall” message from my sister, so I clicked on the link and found myself at a page that was asking me to draw something. I drew a ridiculous stick figure of me looking frantic, with a pile of papers as tall as me to my side. Well, that’s what it was supposed to be, but I’m not known for my artistic talent, especially drawing right-handed (I’m left-handed) on the trackpad of a MacBook. It was really more of a scribbled mess that will remind people that I should have been locked up in the loony bin in Dundrum years ago (For any Irish readers out there!) rather than let free to impose my “art” on the world. Still it was sort of fun. But I meant to send it to Leah, not to everyone in my “friends” list, which I did by accident (a problem of Facebook seems to be that it defaults to sending things out to everyone rather than easily letting you pick which friends to release your hugs or thrown snowballs or hideous art or whatever to. Or maybe I’m just Facebook-incompetent.)
I don’t have much time, so I don’t visit it often — only when Leah or a couple of my friends send me things to look at (Which is more and more often). But I do wonder at how the internet and public forums like Facebook and Myspace (and blogs) are transforming the way we interact. My daughter’s Myspace seems to be a forum for vindictive venting about minor feuds between friends, which then develops into transnational warfare. I don’t think my daughter participates (she is open about sharing what she’s doing on her MySpace account and shows me her profile, photos and blogs on a regular basis), but she does tell me of how public her friends’ fights have become. A small disagreement is broadcast on MySpace. Everyone’s “friends” find out and post multiple public bulletins about the fight. Pretty soon people take sides, championing one or the other of those in the original fight, and then petty side fights break out on all sides. Such jockeying for position in high school happened in the past, of course, but on a much smaller and more personal level. Now someone who has never actually met the original fighting pair, and may even live across the country, is choosing who to back, posting bulletins, directing friends to spam the non-favored one, and so on. And the argument, that in the old days might have lasted a day or two, stretches out for weeks, permanently captured and witnessed by hundreds of people, maybe more, across the state.
Which, weirdly enough, weirds me out about blogging! But I have to get ready for work, so I can’t say why just now…. Next post, I guess.