It seems the internet is becoming more and more our social hub. As we baby boomers were getting out feet wet in the blogging world, our children were building their next generation internet universe on Facebook. As Facebook became more popular with people of all generations, I shied away. Partly because I didn't really get it, and partly because I know my children snickered about any adults being on Facebook. I know they felt like it was their cyber space.
I opened an account about a year ago for one reason. My niece Amelia asked me to so I could see the photos she posted there. OK....I welcomed the avenue to keep some kind of tabs on her, so I signed up.
That was that...until just recently. I got a couple of very unexpected invitations to become friends with people I know from real life. These were people who I'm very fond of, but don't communicate with near often enough. I waded further out...I posted a picture of myself and started checking my page more regularly. The whole "wall" concept still was odd to me, and posting a declaration of "what I'm doing now" just seemed kind of stupid. However, I couldn't resist searching for other people I knew but had lost touch with. I found a few, to my delight. I also learned that a few of my AOL blog buddies are also on facebook. Now that we're Facebook friends, I feel more connected to them than I have since I was forced to move from AOL to blogger.
I'm up to 21 Facebook friends now and I'm starting to get it. I still don't post "what I'm doing now" too often, but I do appreciate getting notes from my friends on my wall and it's easy to quickly write a one or two line note to them in response. Or, if someone writes on the wall and I want to respond in private, it's one click to an email.
I have to laugh when I encounter someone who has 629 friends. How can that possibly be? In those cases, I do wonder about the point of it all. I'd expect that a good number of those "friends" are strictly internet connections. And, I don't think that new relationships can develop via Facebook the way they did when we first started blogging. Those short one or two line posts are great for exchanging information with someone who knows and understands the poster. But, I can't see that you'd ever get to know someone that way...certainly not like we did by reading each other's heartfelt and/or very opinionated blog entries. To me, it's sort of like walking down the street in Manhattan, randomly handing out your cell number saying "please, be my friend"
I recently heard a discussion on NPR about Facebook, and how it is beoming an important business/networking tool. It will be interesting to see how it all evolves. You'd sure have to be careful about what you post. I would imagine that adults will use it in a very different manner than our kids do. We should know the perils of posting information/images that show our "wild" side. I'm afraid the kids may have to learn that the hard way. We grew up with a notion that we needed to protect ourselves from the possible prying eyes of Big Brother. The kids seem to be happy to fully expose themselves (figuratively and unfortunately, sometimes literally) to any or all who surf by their Facebook page. We were never going to trust anyone over thirty. They seem to trust everyone.
So, I officially admit, I'm cautiously on Facebook. If anyone wants a Facebook friend, I'm there. Part of me dares not reject it. Slamming to door on what is undeniably part of the wave of mainstream culture seems to be a first step into old fogeyism. I have no interest in going THERE.
But Twitter???? Now, what the hell is that?