Facebook: I Don't get IT!
Facebook-The only place I talk to people I would never speak to in real life!
Connecting with the Past
It has happened again. Once more someone from my past that I have not seen nor spoken to in 10 plus years has sought me out on FB (Facebook for the inexperienced) and sent me a "friend request". Actually, she was not able to directly send me the request because of privacy blocks I have placed on my account but she was able to send a message to my son and ask him to tell me to send her a request. Which I did but hesitantly.
Don't get me wrong. I have no reason to not friend this particular woman. We were neighbors for years; and I thought, at one time close friends. For whatever reasons which I cannot recall, she moved away and seemed to leave our friendship behind. I remember calling her one time after she moved but she was stand offish and uncomfortable. Seems she wanted to leave the past in the past and move onto new people, new friends. My life went on as well.
Then along comes Facebook and I am suddenly reunited with ghosts from the past. There's an ex-husband, an old boyfriend, a former co-worker, kids of my deceased best friend-a whole slew of old and new. But, here is the thing about FB, people's personalities and how they act in life are fairly similar to how they act on FB.
Memories of Junior High School
FB is a lot like high school. If you were a mean girl in high school, you are still a mean girl on FB. If you were the popular cute girl/boy in high school, you are still loved and worshiped on FB by hundreds of "friends". Ha..I remember one of the popular girls (she's 49 years old but still the high school sweetheart) posting that she was going to "clean out her FB friends because I really need to slim down the 1,000 friends I have". For those of us seeking acceptance and more friends to add to our 30 or so measly friends, that posting seemed a bit pretentious.
I fall right in line with my former high school self. One part loner and a large part non-conformist. I hate group think. I hate people who do not express their opinion for fear of losing friends. I have to ask, what kind of a friend were they anyway if you are not allowed to be yourself?
Opinions that are not Popular may get you Un-Friended
I have opinions, no one likes them on FB. I can post the very same thoughts on FB as my high school prom queen friend and no one pays attention but let Penny prom princess post the same thing and she has instantly 20 people posting a response "oh yes Penny you are so right" or "Penny I really think you are the best!". It gets annoying and I wonder why I am wasting so much of my time. Would anyone know if I disappeared?
A Word about Posting Photos
Photos are nice. I like to see your pets lounging on their backs sleeping or you celebrating a nice dinner with loved ones but there should be a limit to how many sexy photos of yourself you post!!
Have we not learned anything from Anthony Weiner? Seems he is at it again and like Anthony, I find there are some FB friends who cannot help themselves. They are serial posters of photographs of themselves. Before the new cell phones from Samsung and iphone enabled a way to turn the lens around, there were some who posted way too many photos of themselves standing in front of their bathroom mirrors. Oh come on!!
One such person, who is not my FB pal and personally cannot stand her in the "real" World as she broke the heart of someone in my family, has posted no less than 100 photos ALL of herself!. Yes...I spied on her. I wanted to see what she was up to now that she so cruelly and blatantly dumped this family member. What I found on her FB page was not surprising. Tons of photos of her in various poses of glam shots, pouting her lips, showing her new tattoos and full body shots in skimpy tube dresses and stiletto high heels. While I am not surprised at all by her recent photo posting binge as she is in real life a shallow narcissistic conceited person, I am surprised that she has no filters or self-control. I mean, at least one or two photos should be with other people not all about her, but then again maybe she is too stupid and too self centered to even get that! Any way, it was a good thing she dumped my super smart, computer nerd family member as he is too good for her!
Most people on Facebook post pictures but they tend to post their pets, funny things they witness and manage to snap a picture in time or them out with friends. Not too many people are so vain and conceited that they have nothing but photos of themselves in front of a mirror. Thank God for that!
Even Family has a Mean Streak
To make things worse my older sister sent a friend request when I first started with FB three years ago. Stupid me, I accepted her friend request so now she can correct me and show me where I am wrong should I ever post any opinion about any topic. In real life my sister always takes the opposite view point from me even if she does not truly believe it just so she can show me she is the smarter, more educated one with all the wisdom, she is no different on FB only now she has an audience to humiliate me in front of. And, before you ask, yes I have unfriended her several times only to get a message "did you unfriend me" accompanied by yet another friend request. She stalks me and I guess a family stalker cannot be blocked! Would if I could.
I find myself not posting any opinions about anything for fear I will piss someone off and lose a friend. After all FB is about collecting friends. The higher the number of friends, the more popular. I have 216 as of today, Penny prom queen has over 800. As in high school so it goes on Facebook, I keep my real friends to about 3 core people. The rest are like that boy in math class who I secretly liked but only spoke to while in class, out in the halls we barely gave a nod to one another.
Are we Friends? Not in the Real World
Then there are the FB friends who I know I would never talk to out in the real world. Not because I do not find them interesting or friendly but because we come from such diverse places. My diverse FB friends are all much, much younger. Some younger than my own children. There's 26 year old vegan Ed who lives on the opposite coast from me who is a radical animal rights person. I tend to agree with him to some extent but one time I photographed a salad I made which had cheese in it and he sent me a nasty posting "is that cheese I see in the salad, don't you know what they do to cows to make cheese?" I apologized for posting such a animal abusive picture but in real life if face to face with a total stranger like Ed I would have told him to go pound sand! Another FB friend is a punk rocker girl who is in her late 30's. She posts photographs of herself in all her punk outfits. She goes to punk raves. Her face reveals her age and in real life I would probably think her a bit off in the head and wonder if it is not time for her to grow the hell up. Not so when it comes to FB. I give her routinely a "like" on her photos and she repays me in kind. I am sure neither one of us would have much to do with the other if we met outside of FB.
I do like that my grown children have friended me along with their friends. And, since they no longer live at home, it is nice to keep up with what is going on in their life even though sometimes what they post is too much information.
Is Social Media Worth it?
Lately I am reconsidering FB and wondering if staying on it is good for my self-esteem. I am constantly checking and looking for approval to whatever I post. I find myself asking, why does Penny post the most inane things and get immediate justification for her feelings while my sharing of missing children or dogs for adoption barely get a "like" response. I am too old to start feeling like an awkward 10th grader again in life!
The Passing of a Friend
There are one or two people on FB that I really enjoy conversing and sharing with. One is a woman who is nearly 70 years old and a person whom I admire. She is an amazing person who cracked the glass ceiling of corporate America, made her money and then told them to "kiss off". She is a role model for all females and a few males too. Her name was Collin McKinny.
Collin escaped the rat race years ago by buying and renovating a large property in the Fiji Islands. Newly divorced and childless, Collin traveled from the comforts of her home in Seattle to Fiji. She negotiated and bought several acres of choice land with panoramic ocean views and called it "Lomalagi" which in Fijian means "Welcome to Heaven". She quickly built 7 bungalows with awesome ocean views and advertised.
Over the years, Collin entertained thousands of guests to her Heaven on Earth property and became friends with many of them. I heard she was a close friend of the late Beatles George Harrison and even owned one of his guitars, which she would play at beach-side dinners to entertain her resort guests.
I am not sure how Collin became on of my FB friends, but she always wished me a "Happy Birthday from your future" every year because Fiji is a day ahead of America. We also agreed on politics and she had my back many times when I expressed an opinion that the majority of my left wing FB friends disagreed with.
When Collin passed a few months ago, I was devastated beyond belief. Just as if a "real World" friend had passed, I grieved even though I never met Collin face to face. Sometimes, the online friends we make become closer than those in the flesh and blood. The reason for this is we tend to read and listen more when it is not face to face. We hear clearer when the words are written rather than spoken.
I still believe Facebook is nothing more than adult high school with the "popular" ones being the superficial, never stating an opinion and agreeing to whatever is the majority, but on rare occasions, you met someone who is genuine and real.
Rest in Peace dear FB friend. I know you are sending me "greetings from my future"in Heaven.