So I finally signed up on Facebook this month. I did it reluctantly, but after Kristen signed up and immediately started getting interesting updates from various family members and old friends I was persuaded that it might be worth checking out.
It was worth checking out.
In just a few weeks I now have 70+ Facebook friends and that is with me being somewhat selective in my friend additions. (You learn pretty quickly that some people are interested in getting as many Facebook friends as possible so they will send you an friend invite even though they don’t actually know you. I decided that I would try to limit my list to people who I actually know/knew rather than people who knew one of my siblings or something).
The most jarring part of the process is reconnecting with people from various phases of your life. In my case that meant connecting with high school friends I hadn’t had any contact with in 20 years, former co-workers I hadn’t seen in 10 years, church friends from any time over the last 25 years, etc. It is jarring because each reconnection creates an odd frame of reference relapse where I vaguely remember how I saw the universe then, and I remember vaguely what I thought I wanted to be and do, and then I overlay that on my current life. The whole process feels like some odd day-of-reckoning exercise. It is not always comfortable but it has its rewards.
The most fun part is checking out the photos of all these old friends. One friend from high school put up a bunch of pictures from the 1985 LDS dance festival in Southern California and those pics brought back a flood of fond memories for me. That was great. And it is fun to see the grown-up versions of friends as well, along with their family pics. And of course nobody puts up pictures that emphasize their double chin or bald spots and that is fine.
This trend toward online interpersonal networking is clearly here to stay even if Facebook can’t corner the market permanently. The re-connections you can make with the service are very real and can be quite rewarding. At worst, getting friends on Facebook is like getting on the Christmas card rotation for scores of old real friends you had lost contact with and that in itself ain’t bad.
Have you succumbed to Facebook yet? If not I recommend it.