A few thoughts on Facebook have been rolling around in my attic lately.
Before I begin, let me tell you two things that I believe with my whole heart: Facebook is the new Myspace, and the internet is what you make of it. Number two is far more important than number one.
I spend a vast amount of time on the internet. I love all the different input I can gather just by surfing around. I love all the different viewpoints I have access to. The first 45 minutes to an hour of naptime every day is my internet time. I don't spend a whole lot of time on Facebook (though it might seem that way...I use twitter and it automatically updates my FB status). I love that I can check in and hear something about the day to day of other people. I love that I can have a little off hand conversation with them via comments and posts. I don't typically take the quizzes (though sometimes I'm bored enough to) and I'm not really into all the gaming stuff that's going on. I'm not going to join your mob war.
But, you see, I'm terrible with the telephone. I really don't like talking on the phone. When I was a teenager, sure, I talked on the phone a lot, but as I've gotten older I realize I just don't like it all that much. I would much rather meet a friend at the park or over a cup of coffee. I have several friendships that would be much closer if I were "good" at the phone, but I'm just not. I hate silence when I can't see what the other person is doing, and I tend to talk too much, interrupt someone else on the other end of the line, and feel all awkward. Facebook gives me the chance to have that back and forth with people I don't see that often. I really like that.
I have been able to get back in touch or stay in touch with lots of people via FB...former students, friends from High School...people I didn't really know well in High School. The weird thing about all of it is that I am "friends" with people I didn't really talk to much before, but have found online. This is kind of odd. I call FB the place to be "friends" with people I would much rather ignore. I have an acquaintance that I used to be very close to, had a HUGE falling out with, and now do not speak to. I feel awkward and bitter around her in real life, on the occasion we have to be together. Yet here we are, friends on Facebook.
One of the major things that gets tiring, stressful, and old; but is completely necessary, is this: Facebook is a pretty public forum. When you get back in touch with someone, you can post on their wall...which is okay....but then the question comes up. You know where I'm going with this: "Your boys are so cute! How are you? How old are they? What are you doing?" Then there is the obligatory private message with the explanation...the info about Tiny Man.
I don't really MIND so much...It's not that I think he shouldn't be talked about. It's not that I don't want to share. But it all feels kind of....well, oookey. "Hi, I haven't seen you in X number of years, and by the way my son died". Weird.
Easy solution? Delete the pictures of T.M. off my Facebook page. Dont' bother with the explanation. Focus on Toast. But that's not right for me right now. So I guess I have to live with the possibility that I'm making others feel awkward. I'm okay with that for now.
I don't know if I love the entirety of the Facebook idea, or hate it...but for now it's a tool that works for me, allows me to be a little more interactive and a little less alone when I'm home all day with Toast. There is a whole other post here about how our interactions with people have changed due to the presence of the internet in our lives, and I'm not ready for that yet. For now, the simple answer is the internet is good for me, and I try very very hard to keep it a minor but important presence in my life.