Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's Up with Face Book?

I have been an inactive member of Facebook now for about 18 months. By "inactive," I mean I do not have a picture, a status, a friend, a wall . . . anything. I'm just "there."

But the other day, I noticed that I had a ton of new friend requests; like something had notified a bunch of people that I am "there." Until a couple weeks ago, I would get maybe one or two friend requests a month. Maybe it's that all you could see on my profile was my "recent" activity which was joining. Since there's no date, it might seem like I really have recently joined. So I deleted the part that said I joined, so as not to confuse any more people. Oh, and also the part that says I joined a network, so that people wouldn't think, Oh, yes, that's the Sarah Cowart and then click "Request Friendship." (Horrors! That would be awful.)

Why I'm only "there" on FB (or what I like to call "In-Your-Face-Book") is a complicated subject, but has to do with me trying to wrestle and hash out the relational and other ramifications of such technology (blogs have some of these ramifications, too!). My sisters know all-too-well my Facebook aversion, as I continue to pepper them with annoying questions about how it works and if it's risky like I think it is.

And the way some people seem to use Facebook is a real turn-off for me (as I've heard it is for others as well). Kinda like I don't appreciate blogs that only put the wonderful side of life out there along with the suggestion that this perfect side is all that is there. Or the "life is harder for me than for anyone else" posts de drama And I have to admit, I believe my posts probably have both of these general tones at times, but I hope people understand that I often use my blog as a diary to decompress and share things I won't probably tell most people in person, but in no way does it represent the entirety of my attitude or activities . . . but back to my point about FB . . . , I really don't want to use it as a way to show off or complain (Are you thinking, "yeah, right!"?) or make it a popularity contest (Hmmmm. Just how many friends can I have?) or a blow-by-blow of every event in my life.

When I do become an active member, I won't be posting about my 5 a.m. morning run or my 3rd loaf of stone-ground whole-wheat bread I've just pulled out of the oven while playing the harp and teaching my advanced-for-her-age child French and Algebra (she has such thick hair, by the way!) or that I'm taking a break from my doctoral thesis to fly (on wings I just weaved on my silk loom) to Angola on a mission of mercy.

Nor do I hope to post every time I have to clean throw up off a piece of furniture or other surface, hose off a blow-out, wash a dish, drink a cup of coffee, scrub a toilet, trim a hangnail or check Facebook. (Though now that I think of it, it would be kinda fun to keep updating my status, day after day: "Checking Facebook" and "Updating my status.")

Until I am completely comfortable with the Pandora's box that will open by my becoming "active," and what exactly my point will be in doing so, I will continue to just be "there" on In-Your-Face-Book. And since a great deal of my dilemma has to do with accepting friends (so many to choose from. . . and all of them seem to be saying, "Pick me! Pick me!". . . I'm totally exaggerating. I don't have that many requests.), I will wait to accept even one friend until I am fully prepared to deal with the consequences of my truly "joining" the community. (It should not be offensive to any "potential friends" that I have not accepted them, since clearly on my profile, I have none to begin with, right?)

I wonder if there are people out there who share my caution in joining such a consequential community. I have my reasons. Am I alone?