I'm contemplating the whole idea of my Facebook "community." At first I used FB only to stay in touch with my kids while they were studying abroad.
Then, while snowed in last Christmas, I discovered lots of high school friends with whom I had not communicated in 30 years and it was fun to get a glimpse of their lives and to share some of my own.
Over the next months I was found by lost friends from as far back as summer camp - girls (because that is how I remember these now-middle-aged women) who I had not seen or talked to in over 35 years!
I started to feel like FB was a small town where I knew everyone and I could walk down the street and say hello, or not, and if I heard snippets of conversation that interested me I could stop and comment. My birthday came and I enjoyed the well-wishes of friends from all over the world and - even though there is little easier than writing "Happy Birthday" on someone's FB wall- it still made me feel cared for.
From time to time I was asked to "friend" someone I could not even remember, but they had gone to high school at the same time I was there and remembered me, and a few others who I swear I never knew, but we have several mutual friends, so what the heck. I have 2 friend requests right now from people that have no connection to me. I don't want to delete the requests (that seems rude and, who knows, in time perhaps I will figure out a connection), but I also don't want to accept them as friends in case they are weird stalker types pretending to be the normal looking person in their photo! I have also asked others to be my friend and have never gotten a response. I like to think it is because they don't actually log onto their FB account - surely it isn't an actual rejection - is it?!
I am "friends" with some of my nieces and nephews and a couple cousins who all live on the East coast and this has provided a way for us to know each other a little bit. I enjoy the updates on their lives and being one of the first rather than the last (as I have been since moving 3000 miles away) to learn of engagements, pregnancies, grad school acceptances, etc. I am even friends with one ex-husband and his sisters and their kids, although I have limited what they can see in my profile.
Through FB I have also become "friends" with two couples who live in Spain. I had originally found them through reading their blogs and then connected on FB and now I have a frequent glimpse into their worlds. When we are in Spain next fall we are going to visit with both couples. I have never known anyone through the internet before meeting them in person, but they have come to feel like a real part of my world.
Last night I updated my status and someone from Connecticut - someone who was 4 or 5 years behind me in high school but, apparently thought highly of me at the time and was so pleased to have "found" me-went on a total rant. Much of what she said had nothing to do with my post, but she was going off about immigrants and such. When I commented back to her trying to bring her back to my very basic point (that I was choosing to study Spanish) she went on further about our society taking God out of everything, and how her world is about responsibilities so she doesn't have time to learn another language and that I should go and enjoy my trip and post all my photos on FB! Wow!
I discovered, sitting at my dining room table, that someone 3000 miles away seems to resent my life as she assumes it to be, based on what I have put on FB! I started to respond but then decided it just wasn't worth it. I would not know this person if I tripped over her and I was puzzled about how my words, or my life, could get her so agitated. I wanted to e-mail her and explain - to fill her in on the realities of my life since she last saw me in 1979 so that she could know some of the hard times and then maybe accept me and be happy for the life I have now. But why? I thought about un-friending her, but don't want to hurt her feelings. Geesh! How ridiculous is that? Why doesn't she un-friend me if my postings are so offensive?
This morning I re-read the comment string on my post. It turns out that her comment was posted just behind the comment of another I-don't-really-know-you-but-I-see-you-sometimes-and-FB-has-made-us-closer friends. Eddie Baba. Eddie is an immigrant from Romania. After this woman's rant about immigrants Eddie ceased to add any more comments. I found myself wanting to write to her now and tell her about Eddie - or I wanted to publicly apologize to Eddie for her comments and also to let him and everyone else know that I do NOT agree with her. But, in the end I just deleted the entire post. I'm sure that no one will even notice. If, by some off-chance this woman were to ask, I would tell her more. I will hold off on un-friending her. That my life matters to her at all is something she is choosing.
But, as I walk down the street of this odd FB community, I think I'll take the long way around the block to avoid her house for awhile!