On Thursday, I created a Facebook account. Apparently, I'm a few years behind the times because everyone else in the world already has an account there, including, I am not kidding, my own mother. Imagine my surprise when I joined up and under the "People You May Know" suggestions was a picture of my mom.
Before joining, I was almost entirely unfamiliar with the Facebook phenomenon. I had heard phrases like "friend" and "so-and-so wrote on my wall," but that was about it. Until Facebook the other day, adding the Followers element to my blog was just about the most social-networky thing I've ever done. Even that was a big step, since my confidence sometimes suffers from a bit of "they're all going to laugh at me" syndrome.
So now I am starting to comprehend all I've been missing. Basically, I've been wasting my time living a real life with real human beings. Why bother, when I can establish and cancel relationships at will on Facebook? I feel like all of a sudden I'm just a playing card, being shuffled around in different decks.
The thing is, Facebook is awesome in that you can reconnect with long-lost friends without extraordinary effort in a low-key, non-stalkerish way. Just now, after doing a few brief searches for old high school friends and sending out a few friend requests (see how I've mastered the jargon already?), I asked Jeremy what happens next.
"So, do I go write on their wall now or what?"
"Well, they have to accept you as a friend first."
"Yeah, I know that. But do we have to send messages to each other now?"
"Nah. You just are friends and that's enough."
To me, that is the genius of Facebook. I send out a friend request and the message is simply: Hi, I remember you and care about you just enough to tell you that I remember you. Now you add my card to your deck and I'll add yours to mine. And if, in the future, I want to reminisce with you, we have each other's contact information.