Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Next Best Thing

So, about Facebook (for those who inquired)... I've been on there for a few years, since my cousin Angie invited me back when it was still a college networking site. You create a page with links to your profile, photos, and whatever contact information you feel like offering, and you can connect and interact with anyone else who's a member. And, of course, in the last year or so it's exploded; I now have 137 friends, mostly high school classmates and family. It was more effective when I only had 30 friends and could keep track of everyone, but now it's sort of a time suck if I'm not careful.

In addition to posting on your own wall (short status updates, videos, links, etc.) and on your friends' walls, you can play games (there are hundreds to choose from) and assault each other with imaginary pies, pillows, hugs, insults, gifts, what-have-you. I got addicted to something called Farm Town for a while, where you plant crops, harvest and sell them, buy seeds to plant more crops, buy livestock, houses, fences, wells... it gets insane. I quit after a few weeks.

The really great thing about it is that I'm keeping connected with my girls in San Diego, cousins in Wyoming, and friends all over the country. I'm getting to know Brent's excellent friends and accidentally alienating one feisty niece (don't worry, she's mellowing out some. Hormones, angst), and mine are getting to know him.

The really bad thing is just that; over the internet, sarcasm is a deadly trap, assumptions fly, and tempers flare over politics and social attitudes. A vague status update (I'm a chronic perpetrator) can lead to disaster if you never bother to elaborate. It's a tricky thing, who to "friend" (yes, verb) and who to "ignore." Plus, I don't always think about who's reading and share too much (or plop down an opinion that gets challenged), and sometimes my sweet, clever, devoted friend who happens to be working on a full-body tattoo gets a little profane and I cringe thinking, Mom's going to see that. But Mom knows her, and knows what she's been through. It's probably okay.

Overall it's great. For example, in the last month here are several things that, without Facebook, I would have completely missed out on (the great and sad): Kym's beloved Great Dane, Frankie, died; Cory revealed she's pregnant after she and Dave returned from a trip to India; Cara got her dream job in Denver; Dori posted pictures of little Thomas; Bekah posted pics of little Will (and burned her bra- I still have to find out what that was all about); Jesse sent me a Pig Hug; Andre, Michele and the girls hit the Washington slopes and nobody got hurt; Annie decided to have a year-end equipment sale and I got to purchase her Canon 20D (a $1,500 digital SLR camera) for $200; Tonetta ate garlic-flavored pita chips in bed and regretted it.

See how much fun? I could live without Facebook. I'm even cutting back, mostly because my attention is elsewhere (see two previous posts) but it's still nice to post a cranky status update at 1 a.m. and have several people chime in sympathetically. Connecting is, admittedly, much better face to face. But when you just can't do it... there's always Facebook.

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