Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So I've been sucked into the realm of "Facebook" which casts you into cyberspace in a manner (at least partially) of your choosing. I mean, how much time does an average person spend on selecting the photo that reveals themselves to long lost acquaintances (now upgraded to "friend" status)? My brother doesn't have a photo of himself on Facebook. He's just an empty cypher with a name. He might be my brother, now that I think of it. Anyway, he hasn't accepted my friend request.

I love all these people who show up from the distant past whom you thought never noticed you. (I am one.) They have so many friends, too! And all the people whom I regularly hang out with, people who were in my wedding, like my wife -they have so few friends by contrast. I am at once more popular and less popular than I ever thought.

The social graces of cyberspace have yet to be sufficiently elucidated, by the way. Do I really want to be "friends" with people that are in my family? If I turn down a friend request from an in-law, I'm pretty sure my wife won't write on my "wall" for a week, much less share my bed. Imagine how the whole network would change overnight if, when you received a friend request, you could just click NO THANKS. MAKE ACQUAINTANCE. Then again, it probably already exists as a feature for established users. I haven't heard back from a few folks.

Yes, it took me a while to get hooked up on Facebook, I mean, obviously I'm a dinosaur, still spending my time in the Jurassic blogosphere. My immediate instinct is to blame my age (Verging on 40! There was no email in college!) but then I noticed a bunch of my friends' parents on there, so it seems I've arrived late to the party. "Izza 'bout dang time!" someone scribbled on my wall. I can see it: a month from now I'll be like where'd everyone go? and everyone will be over at "Spacebook" or "FaceReunion" or "MySlice" or whatever the hip domain is. Me, I'll probably still be over here with the blog. So passé.

But it's been fun connecting with all those people I haven't seen since high school and college and summer camp and Starbucks yesterday. I admit there's a part of me that wishes I had just picked someone more popular and successful than me and started an account with their good name and an old high school photo of them. (Wait a minute: who says I haven't?! And I'll resist the temptation to do a Facebook search on myself, as I doubt it's happened to me.) Anyway, it's amazing how so many people who've crossed paths in the past can come together so easily and so often and have so little to say. Does anyone out there ever just stop and go, Whoa. We're all here sitting inside staring at our screens. Why don't we meet at the beach? And then I realize I'm the only one with perfect weather in February, ten miles from the beach. I've been online with the service for only twenty-four hours and people are coming out of the woodwork, and from around the world. So it's Facebook: the phonebook that writes itself!

Of course, there's always the virtual beach invite and all the "poking" that goes on. Poking? Are we back in class? Is this what "friends" do? Okay, so, it's cute, but I'm not sure I need cute. I've got cute here in droves: my two-year-old just peed on the couch. And yesterday someone on Facebook requested to "kidnap" my profile and -I'm not sure- either hold it for ransom or molest it altogether. Request denied. (I put a lot of thought into what year I didn't graduate from college.) But I will buy a virtual round of exotic cocktails from a virtual Polynesian pool bar at sunset, brought to you on a virtual gold platter by erotic models of the opposite sex, for everyone I've ever met, and redeemable until the end of the ages.

It's just a matter of time before I make a complete steer's ass out of myself on Facebook, as I do here on Blogger on a weekly basis, so wait for it. At least I have another venue to share eccentric interests with long lost friends without having to exit the house or spend a dime. Leave it to the Internet to drag meek nerds out of the cellar (or leave them there) and organize them into some sort of community. I propose an Internet collective for those of us with interests in all things botanic, but who are too embarrassed to join local gardening clubs because they can't get anything to grow. I will call it: "Faceplant".