Like everyone one else over forty, I joined Facebook last month (as in three days ago, but, officially, last month). I resisted it for awhile, because I knew full well what would happen; I would get sucked in, obsessed, and shirk all my other extra-curricular activities to see who had responded, if anyone commented, and what they all look like these days.
I know this was invented for/by twenty year-olds, but it's an amazing gift to us "oldsters." What a great way to fill in your past (if you want your past filled, I guess). I feel about fb sort of the way I felt about email, when I finally figured it out back in 1994 in grad school--two floppy disks switched in and out of a single drive, long addresses entered, eternal waits for dial-up connection (beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, dong, dong, dong, kkkkkkkkkkkkk). Back then, I was in my twenties and couldn't believe how easily I could reestablish contact with "long lost" friends from 1991. And the emails were quick and breezy and you could feel connected to some one else's life without running up phone bills or writing long letters (remember, that was pre-cell phone)(and before cars were invented).
What goes around, comes around, altho this time it's people I haven't communicated with for 20 to 25 years. They have teenagers who look like they did, the last time I saw them. They have love and lost and had major successes and failures and put some mileage on the odometer. My friend Jeff calls it "one-stop shopping" because it's all the fun of a high school reunion, without the awkward cocktail hour.
Some of my friends shudder at the idea of "putting it all out there" or being available to whoever wants to look. I figure if you exist, you probably have an internet presense and if some body wants to find you, they will. I don't really understand posting anything you wouldn't want your mother to see (she could find it, too, if she wanted to), but chatting with your freshman roommate of 1985 is kind of a hoot.
I wonder what this will do for how we think of our past. I had regrets about people I have let slip through the cracks and figured I'd never hear from again (there's only so many pages of Google hits I feel like scrolling thru). I wondered how this kid and that work friend turned out...now, there's a chance I may find out. I suppose there's something bittersweet about the finality of a discontinued friendship, but I think the hope of rekindling is nicer.
We'll see. The chick I walked with for high school graduation sez the glow dies down after a few weeks and you can get back to work. I guess I have until Valentine's Day...