At my mom’s funeral service, as I was getting a sympathetic hug from my great-aunt Joyce, I heard her ask close by my ear, “Are you on Facebook?”
I avoided joining Facebook for a really long time, for many reasons. One, I have a MySpace account, but I hardly ever go to the site anymore — I’m a little embarrassed to have a page on MySpace. Second, we’re not allowed to access Facebook at work. I’m totally fine with that, as I have plenty of work to do! Social media is often a distraction, and we don’t need extra distractions at work. Third, a Facebook account would distract me, and take time away, from OTHER things I need and want to do during my busy outside-of-work everyday life.
So why did I sign up? Well, for one thing, I’ve always liked my great-aunt Joyce, and she’s a great-grandmother for crying out loud, and if even she is on Facebook, chances are that some 90% of the people I know and want to keep in touch with are also on Facebook. (My best friend, Marie P. in Maine, doesn’t currently have internet access at home or work, but bought a laptop and created a Facebook account, and can use wi-fi at the library or coffee shops to get online and stay in touch.)
Second, I’ve been listed on Classmates and on Reunion (oops, excuse me, it’s called “MyLife” now) for a long time, but rarely do anything on there, because you have to pay for a membership level that actually allows you to contact people. I realized recently that if I think of old friends from high school or college that I want to get back in touch with, if I see them on Facebook, I can send a note or “Friend” them for free. There’s a no-brainer for ya!
Third, as I noted in the title of this post, I think I’m wiser now than I was when I got a MySpace account. One of the reasons I signed up was because several cast members from The Office had MySpace pages, and they actually kept them updated themselves! I mean, Jenna Fischer, better known as the Pam half of “Jim-and-Pam” or JAM, Jenna Fischer had a MySpace page! I sent a comment to the guy who plays Toby, and he actually wrote back! I had just fallen for all things Office, and there were Office castmembers and Superfans on MySpace that I could connect and laugh with. It was FUN!
But where was I? Oh yes, how I’m wiser now. There are a lot of fantastic people on MySpace, but there were very few people I actually knew in real life. The people I’m “friending” on Facebook are all PEOPLE I ALREADY KNOW. They are friends, relations, or professional colleagues who maybe aren’t honest-to-God “friends,” but people with whom I am friendly. (I do consider some of my librarian colleagues to be my friends as well.) So there’s the main difference: on Facebook, I can be a Fan of The Office or Patty Griffin, but I plan to be Friends only with my friends. 🙂