Facebook, Friendship, Life Changes and Attitudes Original to Facebook 9/11/2009

Chris Jeffries made a passing statement a while back about how facebook is changing the way we look at "friendship". I thought this was spot on, as the same thing had crossed my mind. The comment thread seemed to gloss over it though, and deal with a more pressing issue ( which was the real point of his note anyway, I think) and I decided then and there I was gonna let that baby stew and brew in my head till I got it right. And I hope this is it.

So, you are on facebook, and your new. The first thing you do ( if you are like those I have asked) is you look up your current buddies, pals and family. Then you get a suggestion, or a request from someone you have not seen in years. Someone you actually think about on a semi bi-monthly basis or so, but figured you would never see again. Facebook is now awesome, and becomes to quote the Sony Piece of Shit commercial, a mother fucking time vampire. You look up third cousins. You look up ex-boyfriends or girlfriends. You look up people you had heard were dead. You look up yourself, just to see how many cool people you can find with the same name.

And that is nifty. Along the way you also pick up a few friends that you were so-so friend with in your past. Maybe someone that was friends with your younger or older sibling. A guy you met once on a church trip . whatever. But so far, you have not yet MADE any friends - you have just reconnected to people that you already know. For lots of people, this is fine, it is dandy, it is absolutely perfect.

I have to stop here for a moment, and make a few personal remarks. This has happened to me - and I am thankful for it. As an adult, I have been given a second chance at friendship with some people that I only peripherally knew. I have been able to spend some evenings chatting with some folks that I did not know well then, and only learned to know recently ho much they mean to me. I have been able to strip away the foolishness of high school and apply the foolishness of adulthood. I honestly treasure some of these newly refreshed friendships.

Now there are a few taboos - and plenty of other articls to tell you about them, so I will only brush over a few.

Past Love: Do not, ever, tell someone "Hey it is so great to be on here with you - I had a crush on you all through High School" Umm - that's asking for trouble. It is not comfortable for either of you, and is not the basis for online friendship. Hey - I'm talking from the side of someone who was told that, and no offense, but I would have rather not known. Also, I went to two high schools, and do not think on my front I could be called shy - but I admit I had a crush at each of them - by people that just stunned me by their presence. Now I am friends with not one but both of them -something my shyness denied me of then. There is no way this side of Baghdad I am gonna put them in an awkward spot because I feel like I'm buddy buddy now and they will find it funny.

Current Love: Telling the world you love your wife / husband? Awesome. Spreading all your divorce and fights on facebook? Uncool. And stupid. Don't you know that there will be an ATTORNEY involved in your future?

Politics- you gotta have a thick skin if your gonna hang it out there. Either be ready to defend what you say , and suffer the image you present to others for it, or choose wisely to avoid getting backed into corners. I like humor and satire - and no one is sacred. I'll call out the left, the right, the Pope, Michael Jackson - whoever - so give it your best shot. But remember, when you put yourself out there, well, your out there.

Religion, see politics above, but even more so. I love the more religious postings of my Denomination-ally attached friends. I read them all - and yes, I sometimes look up the verses you post to get the WHOLE CONTEXT. And I'm gonna go with my mind and heart, and post how I feel about things too. Never to offend, but I got just as much right and access as you do, and hey - the worst that can happen is you feel more reaffirmed in your faith by measuring it in your opinion of the lack of mine. Or whatever.

Work - DO NOT POST WORK COMMENTS ON YOUR FACEBOOK WALL. EVER. Hell, stick with God and Government, anything, before you start fucking with your paycheck.

Lurking sucks - if you cannot comment, or you have nothing to say on the Wall, it is really not right for you to gleam info and use it to gossip in the real world. Or worse, to walk up to me and start talking about it a week later - where were you when it was current content? Lurking, that's where. I'll unfriend a lurker in a New York Minute.

SO, now back on track - you have reconnected with folks, and then it happens - A NEW FRIEND - a stranger.

I am loving these. You get to kinda scope out folks, get a feel for them without the makeup and hairspray if you will, and based on their interaction with your friends, you become friends. I got a slew of these, and I think it is awesome that if a gun was pointed to my head I would list them among some of my more interesting and current best friends I got. It was once a fear to ever meet them, that it would be anticlimactic, but after many months, I am gonna try to start branching out and putting some voices with the humor and pictures.

So - there you go - no real issue or point to make waves - just my view on how facebook has changed the way I make friends - and if you read this, I'm probably your friend already, and I mean this sincerely:

I'm glad to have met you, and really enjoy your interaction and comments, and look forward to much much more.

( I have never explicitly asked for this - but if you like this - and you think it is valid - think about sharing it on your Wall for all your other friends to see - I'd love to see the comments that it generates!)


The Hillbilly Philosopher, Hannable McGarity


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