I found an interesting article on Slate today about Facebook. It's about Emily Yoffe trying to network through it, and her struggles with finding friends. And while her reasoning behind her Facebook friend status was because no one over 50 ever got on the site, it was alarmingly similar to my story. Deciding that I was way too young to be stuck in the same technological category as a 50-something (I mean, come on! My parents are 50-somethings!) I immediately signed on to Facebook to do something about it.
I'll admit it: I never really got caught up on Facebook. I mean, yeah, I signed up for it when everybody else in the world did, but I didn't have anything on my profile, and I linked it to an email address that gets checked about as often as the Cubs win the World Series (which for you non Cubs fans is basically never). So I didn't have any friends, but that didn't really bother me because frankly, I forgot that I was a member. Then one day the Seester shot me an email, fussing at me for not accepting her as a friend, and I was all like, "What you talkin' bout Willis?" and she was like, "Hellooooo! Be my Facebook friend on that other email address that you never check!" and so I suddenly had 1 friend. It didn't really count though, because even though she is my "real life" friend, she's also my sister, so she has to be my friend...Mom said so. (Plus I suspect that she didn't want people to find out that she was related to someone who had no friends). A few weeks after that, Mel "friended" me too. (Technically, Mel is Steph's friend, so I think that this is another "pity-friending"). But I know Mel too, and I like her, and she occasionally pops over to read this here blog (which means that she is witty and has excellent taste) so who am I to be choosy with who wants to be my friend? I now had two friends, and that was fine with me. I probably could have still gone on to live a full and healthy life with that, even though my obit would have read "She was wonderfully quirky, but she only had two Facebook friends, bless her heart". To me, Facebook was like MySpace...mostly pursued by teenagers. After reading the Slate article though, it dawned on me that some of these 50-something people (mostly those with 982 friends) might just be on to something here. So I got on to Facebook to update my profile and see exactly who else was on this new-fangled Facebook contraption. That's when I started finding them: People I had grown up with, and gone to school with, and hadn't talked to in 10 years. They had spread out all over the country, but they were still linked through Facebook. I found my old biology lab partner, who cut the eyes off of the crayfish that we were dissecting and tried to keep them. She's now a computer programmer in Alabama. (I wonder if her new husband knows about her fondness for Crayfish eyes). I found the girl I hung out with while waiting for the bus after school. She now teaches 6th grade English, so come to think of it, she's still waiting for buses to come after school. I found one of my guy buddies that I've known since seventh grade youth group. He's a police officer now.
I don't know why, but I never expected people I knew to be on there. And while it was fun "seeing" all these people again, but also kind of strange, because they knew me back when I was an awkward geeky nerd with limited social skills, and now I've grown up to be...well, okay, I'm still an awkward geeky nerd with limited social skills, but slightly more mature. Either way, I've gotten kind of hooked on Facebook. I'm up to 5 whole friends now, so it's safe to say that my Internet popularity has doubled overnight. And while I'm not sure what to do with my "wall" or how to gift someone, or what the heck "poking" someone means (I'm sure it's not as bad as it sounds...I hope), I do find myself checking my never used email more often, just to see which of my really cool new-old friends has something to say. Maybe that means that it's time for the Cubs to win the World Series.