23 September 2009

About face

Here is a question that I do not know how to answer: Should I join Facebook?

On one hand, pretty much everyone I know is there, and I have received many requests to join, and I think it would be a nice way to keep up to date on people's lives, while they keep up on mine. The Mister is on it, and I see the value of maintaining connections with people who otherwise would be lost to my past.

On the other hand. Oh, the other hand. I haven't joined so far because on a practical level, I think it would be just one more time suck on the internet. I also haven't joined because I'm exceedingly wary of managing my online presence under my full name. There's a reason this blog never mentions my last name, the Mister's name is not public, I don't post too many pictures, and many topics are off limits.

I also don't like the jumble of everybody in one's life being thrown under the category "friends" and everyone being privy to the comments and conversations of everyone else. (Which, admittedly, is part of the attraction of Facebook on the voyeuristic end.) I tend to have very distinct and small knots of close friends from the many places I've lived, and I don't think the kinds of relationships I have across the board necessarily "translate" from one group to the other. They're all facets of me, but they're different facets. I can imagine this leading to awkwardness. Maybe I'm too concerned about how people view me, but that's part of being a quiet/private person.

As a simple example, back when we first told our family about the pregnancy, one of my aunts congratulated M. on Facebook--perfectly natural and very thoughtful of her to do so. But he hadn't told any of his work colleagues yet, including those who were doing legwork for potential job placements for him. So he had to delete her comment (awkward) and hope that no one had seen it. I can imagine situations even more awkward than this one.

In addition, having resisted Facebook so far, I'm really indignant about the assumption that *everyone* is on it. I have missed important news from friends and relatives--the "we're moving!" news, the "I'm pregnant!" news, or worse, "the baby is born!" news--because they assume posting it as a Facebook update means that then everyone knows. In other words, I feel like Facebook sometimes cuts into the (dwindling) amount of personal connection we have with our friends and family (even if it's just an email) under the guise of a purported greater connection. Maybe we're mistaking connectivity for connection?

All of that said, I'm still really tempted to join, especially now that we're pregnant. It would be a good way to let friends and family have quick snapshots of our lives and our growing child, especially as it gets more difficult to write more thorough updates, and the blog might be too public a forum for baby pictures and so forth. So I'm open to being convinced. Should I join Facebook?


Sarah said...

No notes from nice folks yet? Regarding facebook - you know what my vote is. See you soon. Love.

the Provident Woman said...

Well, I love facebook. I love catching up with people from the past. Most of all I LOVE the games.

kateisfun said...

I have a love/hate relationship with fb and most of the time wish I had never gotten sucked in. My reasons for loving it and hating it are pretty much the same. I could spend hours updating, "researching", browsing; it's great for reconnecting with long-lost friends (and "friends"), but for me I don't want to have to virtually manage the real friendships I do have, and I don't want to be sucked in to nurturing the ones that I don't actually care for. My plan was to keep my FB friends representative of my real-life friends, but - as I find myself with 203 friends - I realize this was a tad presumptuous. Some days I feel like everybody is my friend, accepting every request that comes my way; other days I've had it, and friend requests sit unanswered for months. I do like the picture sharing capabilities, but there are many sites that do this, and better. Good luck! :-)

Catanea said...

What ever happened about that translation job?
I am on facebook. Any real information I have to share I share via the chat feature (mostly when I happen to coincide with my daughters) or via the private message feature. I seldom post anything and I HATE the games which look incredibly stupid and time-wasting to me. [I've done maybe two quizzes, specifically invited by my US resident daughter because they were personal (how well do you know x, or are you really a Washingtonian or similar)]. And I feel guilty turning down "friend requests" but I don't like the idea that all that information is out there somewhere, available to all - or to the proprietors of FaceBook, anyway.
You could try having separate accounts with different versions of your name; also, I know of people who have separate BLOGS which only invited people can access (i.e., family and intimate friends).
And that's my recommendation.
Congratulations! So, your baby will be US born? A piece of advice: obtain a Spanish birth certificate immediately, and then a Spanish passport BEFORE you apply for the US one [the Spanish government want you to swear the child has no other passport before issuing the Spanish one. The US (and UK) don't care. I didn't know about this, and so Caroline has US and UK passports (even though she is Spanish born) and 3 birth certificates, but no Spanish passport. Which might be usueful, despite the EU.] There's more to it than that, but that's the basic recommendation.
All the best to you and Marc (it is Marc, if I remember correctly?)!
Amanda Adams