Finding Facebook

“Hey, look! I’ve located my first love! Cool, maybe we can go have dinner or something!” … precisely the words a newlywed husband was hoping to hear from his wife …


Amanda was sitting on the couch discovering Facebook, a place on the internet she had been assiduously avoiding until only a day or two earlier. Finally, she became convinced that she could do this and keep it under control … keep her professional life (as a teacher) separate from it (if any of her students are reading this, don’t even try to friend her!). It was fun watching her learn the ins and outs, and to reconnect with many of her college and high school friends. So when she found her first love, I thought that was great, and as I headed downstairs to the blog cave, I congratulated her.

Then I sat down on my computer.

….Tappity tapity tap tap tap….

And a moment later, heading back upstairs to grab a cup of coffee and passing by the couch… “Oh. Me too.”

“Huh? Me too what?”

“Oh, nothing. Just grabbing a cup of coffee here…”

The whole first love thing brings up a number of questions in and of itself. I prefer to use the word “first girlfriend” because for some reason it has more meaning. For me, the carnal side of relationships and the friendship and emotional side did not congeal or progress in the way that it might have for others (or, should I say, as others claim to be the norm). So Leslie was my first girlfriend according to me. Not counting small childhood flings like Pammy (who turned out to never grow beyond her first grade height) or Mary Beth (who died under the wheels of a truck only a week after I proposed to her in Kindergarten) or any of the others left behind like so many tiny bits of human relationship flotsam and jetsam. Leslie was the first person I really really loved, and that is to me what counts. We separated only because her father got a job in another state and so we simply went our separate ways. Which means I never didn’t love her, and now that I think about it, I’m sure I still do, in a way. And yea, she’s my facebook friend now and I’ve already told her one secret that no one else knows! How cool is that!?!?

And yes, I’m very glad that Amanda found her first love. One of the reasons why we have such an excellent relationship is that we each appreciate each other’s personal relationships. We may miss each other when apart for a while, but we are never jealous of the time and attention we give to the other people in our lives. That might sound simple, but it is actually not universal and may even be a bit uncommon. This is one of a handful of ways in which we match well, all of which together make our relationship perfect (sorry, almost everybody else, that you can’t have this, but hey, what can I say? I’ve had plenty of flawed relationships, I get to have one perfect one, don’t I?).

So my friend Lizzie was telling me the other day about why she quit facebook.

“I don’t mind having my family on Facebook. We can all communicate, maybe plan things, whatever, that’s cool.”

“Uhhuh”

“I don’t mind having my friends on Facebook, that’s fun.”

“Meh”

“And a bunch of the people I worked with were on Facebook, there was nothing wrong with that, in and of itself.”

“Mmmm…. and so why aren’t you on Facebook?”

“I really didn’t want them all in the same room.”

“Ah….”

So Amanda and I have utterly opposite Facebook rules. I am a total Facebook slut. I friend friends of friends. If Facebook was sex, I’d be so dead of STD’s it wouldn’t be funny. Amanda, on the other hand, only has friends that she really really knows and would like to keep in touch with for the explicit purpose of getting together for coffee or dinner now and then. A very exclusive group.

The difference between us is not because of gender (though it almost sounds like that) but because of profession. She’s a high school teacher, and I’m a blogger. Say no more.

….

Oh, and I totally get that Facebook is Satan incarnate. For instance, see this. And who knows what else they’ll pull. But for now it’s a fun party.

Comments

  1. #1 Natalie
    April 20, 2009

    It’s interesting that you comment that it *could* be related to gender that you and Amanda have different rules for facebook (although I get that wasn’t your main thought), since that would imply that women communicate less via facebook. On the contrary, it would seem that women are far more sociable on facebook (and social networks, in general) than men:

    http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/03/09/more-details-on-user-communication-patterns-from-facebook-data-team/
    http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13176775
    (Apologies, as you may have already seen this, and there may be duplicate information in the two articles, here and there).

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    April 20, 2009

    imply that women communicate less via facebook.

    I was thinking only of the promiscuous bit.

    Thanks for the link, though. Very sociable of you.

  3. #3 Crystal D.
    April 20, 2009

    I started using Facebook ONLY for Minnesota Atheists. I did pretty well, I only have 5 friends on there that I haven’t met through MNA in some kind of fashion… I don’t want my family on there, my sister was a ‘friend’ on MySpace, and I know I for sure learned some things about her that I would rather have not, and I’m sure she feels the same about me.

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    April 20, 2009

    No feeling sorry for me, please. I’ve carved out my own little slice of perfect.

  5. #5 clinteas
    April 21, 2009

    I think im more like Amanda,although you are my FB friend Greg,and we have had the odd meaningless discussuon LOL

    Ive somewhat gone off the boil with the whole thing after a year or so,I look at it once a week roughly,I am careful noy to update my details in a too personal way since I have added a few workmates over time,and occasionally I leave the odd drunken comment on someone’s comment….

  6. #6 vince
    April 21, 2009

    Good piece, quite funny. A former girlfriend, from nearly 40 years ago, found me on MySpace then Facebook. By coincidence, we now live less than 60 miles apart. She suggested meeting for lunch – with spouses – but my wife of 35 years says – no way. End of story.

  7. #7 wybory sondaze demokracja
    April 21, 2009

    Well, beside Facebook there is a looot of other virtual societies. I think it’s not bad to have a one profile, maybe two, but if you sign up almost everywhere (excluding professional issues, of course) it should be considered addiction, as far as I’m concerned.
    Moreover there is nothing wrong with having more or less friends as long as you have friends in reality or you use Facebook as a kind of ‘database’ of them.
    Actually I know some poeple who spend time up-to-dating all profiles they own so they have no time left for the ‘real’ side of life. I guess all we need is a golden mean.
    Wish you happy www-surfing!

  8. #8 khan
    April 21, 2009

    I went to facebook in Nov ’08 because of PZ. Didn’t do much ’til Jan ’09.

    Have found friends, relatives, classmates, information, camaraderie…

  9. #9 marilove
    April 22, 2009

    Slightly related: When I was 12, I was madly in love with a boy who was a year older than me. I found him on MySpace several years ago, and we’ve become BFFs, and in fact are kinda dating excpet he’s in the army and so we only really see each other when he visits my state to visit family. Which is okay, because I’m really independant and not really into dating anyway.

    But we hadn’t seen each other in FIFTEEN YEARS.

    The internets are awesome.

  10. #10 marilove
    April 22, 2009

    wybory sondaze demokracja, I’ve had a livejournal since I was 19 (I’m 27 now), I have a myspace, a twitter, and a facebook. I’m not addicted. I actually use livejournal more than the others, facebook is coming in a close second, and myspace for those that don’t use facebook, and twitter a few times a week to say silly lines.

    For those of us who grew up with computers (I was BBSing when I was 9! Then came IRC!), it’s not at all difficult to keep up with multiple social sites and still have a life, especially since you can update most social sites on your cell phone (this is what I do in the bathroom when hiding from work lmao).

    Most of my real life friends were met online (mainly via livejournal, actually). I can’t be the only one who has a LOT of real life friends she initially met online, and not on a dating site.

  11. #11 anon.
    April 22, 2009

    vince: have your wife read this post, man.

  12. #12 Kate/ Dorid
    October 24, 2009

    That’s exactly why I’ve now got three facebook accounts: one for family and friends, one for my online peeps involved in science, atheism, and politics, and one for my diet buddies. I just don’t want them all in the same room ;)

  13. #13 Stella
    October 24, 2009

    Marilove, you’re not the only one. I met most of my friends on Livejournal too. I never got into Facebook, though; I like the longer format of blogging.

    Greg, your story is sweet. I’m also in a low-jealousy marriage, so I can appreciate what it’s like.