I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm a little addicted to Facebook (and also: SCARVES, but that's not really pertinent here). I love seeing what the people I know are up to. I've scored some pretty great ideas for family activities, outings, and things to tell my children in picklish situations. I've received moral support, been mocked by my family (a given both online and reality), shared secrets, and, apparently, made many people laugh at my general tendency toward comical misfortune.
But here's a major drawback. Picture this.
I'm shopping at Wegmans, pushing my really huge cart through the overwhelmingly wonderful aisles. I'm navigating around angry old people and slow perusers (at whom I mentally holler, GET OUT OF THE WAY!). I am waiting for access to the milk fridge. And then it happens. A seemingly random person turns around. Maybe they're wearing a signature ear-flap hat, or distinctive blue eye shadow, but the point is: I recognize them.
I recognize them, and I know their name. I possibly know their likes and dislikes, and the types of things they say in various situations. Who are they? They are the Friends of Friends.
The Friends of Friends cause me grief. At these moments when I'm waiting for the skim milk, or the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or the Clorox wipes, I see their faces and my brain is instantly screaming, "Hi, Barbara!" or whoever this person is that I most certainly know of. But that's just it: I don't actually know them, and there's no guarantee that they have ever heard of me. And it's only been really good luck thus far that I haven't embarrassed myself by actually crying out the person's name, along with DETAILS: "I completely agreed with you that the Water For Elephants book was so much better than the movie!" Because technically, I'm not really supposed to know that this person thinks that. They weren't actually talking to me about Water For Elephants.
Yet Facebook has created this reality where I know far more about people than they realize. I know what their children look like, what they do on weekends, and sometimes where they live. With some people, I think of them in terms of their full names: First, Middle, Last, or First, Maiden, Married. So in Wegmans, I not only recognize Barbara, but my mind is frenetically saying, "Barbara Broms Bernstead! Barbara Broms Bernstead!" And if I scream THAT out in Wegmans, Barbara would probably assume I was some insane freak from her high school class who has been "following" her life for the last twenty years, when I really, I'm...I'm....
I'm a Facebook freak. :(