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Day 64. in which we fear Facebook?

Facebook is freaking me out.

I recently joined because Kyrce needed more vassals for her Knighthood game. I am now known as Lady Alex, vassal of Lady Kyrce. I haven't recruited anyone for my own castle. I started to 'play' but I abandoned it.

Instead I started poking around in areas of which perhaps I shouldn't have poked around. I haven't decided yet. Jury is still out.

What I mean is that ALL OF A SUDDEN everyone from every crevice of my life across my lifespan is converging on this one social networking site. For someone like me, I have to analyze this to death and come up with a number of sci-fi possibilities.

What if the government starts issuing us an email we maintain for our entire lifespan? so that anyone could find you, at any time...?

Maybe you don't want to be found?

I find a lot of people I'd like to find are no where to be found. Likewise, I have also found a lot of people that I rather had not found me. Perhaps I have found people who didn't want to be found but were too polite to say?

It's good to see your friends who ended up doing well. It's comforting to see that. I wonder if I seem weird to them. I am weird. Ever since I was a kid, people have been telling me that. It's a family trait. My brother gets the same thing.

I recently found someone who I thought was someone else. I didn't realize he wasn't the someone I thought he was until I saw his brother had joined...and it was his brother I had been thinking of...it took me awhile to process this. Seth was trying to talk to me about something because I was sitting in his room on his computer. But I was so freaked out that I had messed this up - that I had thought the someone I knew was someone else - that I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying. Seth didn't get exactly why I was so freaked out, but he recognizes when I'm disturbed and I can't hear what people are saying to me. He's remarkably perceptive in that way. (He is my son, after all!)

It took me all night to recall the younger brother and get it straight in my head who was who. It bothered me because for the past couple of weeks, I was linked to someone I thought was someone else.

Facebook has been a harsh wake up call for what I am forgetting. (Yet another reason to maintain a blog...)I am finding people by searching my hometown that I wouldn't have thought of, people I actually couldn't look for because I forgot their very existence. I also have a number of friends I remember in my head by face and temperament but of which I cannot connect a name for the life of me.

I've found a number of people from various stages of my life - high school, college, work. I find it interesting to conglomerate them all on one page. I think it makes a nice, eclectic collection.

I know I do this. Another good reason for Facebook, I think - because I can remember all of my friends and acquaintances. I hate how you become good friends with someone at a job, and then you lose track of them when one of you moves on. Same for school. It is natural and happens, although at any given moment when you were wrapped up in something with them, it perhaps never occurs to you that it's not 'forever'. It's weird to think of that...but I think it's a natural progression.

When I first moved to Kingston, I had a small circle of friends. I don't talk to many of them now. I ran into this girl once about a year ago. I saw her out of the corner of my eye at the Post Office in Uptown. I knew that I knew her but I couldn't remember why. What made it worse was that we were good friends. I had a recollection of inviting her to a party at my house, which she couldn't make - something with her car and her parents. I remember she was younger than I thought she was. I think maybe I met her at school? I really have no idea and I've never been able to figure it out. And I felt bad, because I'm thinking if I invited her to a party, that we were likely good friends! Good enough that I should know what the hell her name is! I avoided eye contact and left the post in shame, spending a lot of time trying to remember who she was and how I had known her.

Had there been a mandated Facebook, I never would have lost touch with her. This could be good, but this could be very bad, too. You'd never have the opportunity for a second change. Everyone and everything would follow you.

I posted my status on Facebook. It's kind of lame but I like to read what my friends are doing so I tell them what I am doing, too. It's rather silly. But I tend to devour new web toys until I have tried everything out. And then I leave the nest. It's a matter of time before I lost interest in Facebook, I think? It's hard to say since it's a nice collection of people I know and reaffirms my memories of the existence of these people, many who were once integral to my life.

So what does Facebook do to this? Anything? Does it matter?

Sociologically speaking, I think it does, even if we don't realize it now. Think about what you were doing just 10 years ago. I think that's about the time I bought my first computer from Gateway. I was pretty broke and housebound with Seth in Albany. We went to the museum a lot during the day. At night, I spent a lot of time pushing every button and exploring every folder on my computer, trying to figure out what everything did.

I remember coming home after I learned what "chatting" was. This was before I had my own computer and I would go and sit in the nighttime at the computer lab, which was open all night, at Hudson Valley Community College. Stephanie totally had dismissed the internet, thinking it was a bunch of bunk that didn't work. Her experience at college had been less than satisfactory. It was bland. I, on the other hand, was completed fascinated by this technology. I recall how I excitedly told all of my friends about how you could send someone a message in real time and it'd show up on their computer instantly! It was amazing!

I started judging companies on whether or not they had a web site. I was angered when I found out McDonald's cooked their fries in animal fat. I was further angered that they had a web site but no contact link - only a postal address. I wrote them a letter, but I never got around to sending it.

OK...here is where I admit something both random and weird: I used to write letters of complaint and compliment as a hobby. This was one of my favorites, next to calling 1 800 numbers that spelled things with Seth. Like 1 800 EAT DIRT and things like that...just to find out what company had that number for real...So, I'm not a conventional Mom, but I think I'm fun... :)

I must admit my memory of people is not so good. This scares me a bit, because of my Dad, but it may be very natural. I remember the things I have to, which is usually the immediate, but a lot of the other stuff falls by the wayside. There's just too much to store and stuff is falling out. Stuff I don't want to forget but I'm forgetting it at such a level that I don't even realize I'm forgetting it.

Think about all the lyrics to songs you know. Hundreds of songs you can sing along to. Think about all that wasted space in your brain. I know Jenny's phone number is 867-5309, but I've actually had to call information for my own home phone number.

I searched for this kid who used to pick on me in the 5th grade. I didn't know what I would do if I found him. Probably nothing. I wouldn't want it to be like Jerry Springer or Maury Povich, sobbing about what he had done to me! I thought I wanted to find him doing poorly...but I have wished that before about people I thought I didn't like and then later, I was sad for how things turned out...even for your worst enemy, you don't really want to see them do badly. They are still human. We all make mistakes. God knows how many stupid things I've done in my lifetime...

Some people leave a definite impression. I'm not sure why some others than others. What ever happened to Nefee Trantham? We lived in Bells Acres together in Valatie, NY when we were kids. She used to pick dandelions so her Mother could put them in the salad. She also made dandelion wine, which I found fascinating. I wasn't actually allowed in their house, but I used to go there all the time, anyway. There was nothing wrong with it. They just didn't have as much money as the rest of the neighborhood and they were black. You wouldn't think this would matter in the 1980's but it did. All of the kids were mean to Nefee. I thought she was great. I wonder where she is now? We used to sit on her front lawn and hang out and just talk about the universe, as much as two little girls could comprehend the universe.

I've found the beautiful girls I babysat for when I was in high school. I adored them and have thought of them so often over the years. I didn't approach them to be my "Facebook" friend. I thought it might be creepy and I also think I prefer to keep them in my memory right where they are. I don't want to ruin the nearly perfect memory I have of them. They were delightful and so much fun. They were now out of college...another slap in the face...as I realized I was old enough to have babysat for very small children who had now graduated from college.

And what about the people I can't find? Are they hiding? Are they even alive? Why aren't they online? Are they destitute??! In the dark ages?

I'm still not sure what to make of all of this. But I am thinking about it a lot.