It appears these days that I'm giving in to the dominant paradigm of Internet-based communicating. Mind you, I've been an email junkie for years (I was one of the first who had a Prodigy email account!), and I do surf the Web on a regular basis. But I resist online networking and chatting. All that is apparently changing, however, as I joined Facebook yesterday. Needless to say, when I discovered how many people I knew were on Facebook, I felt like I had entered a party about two years late, and I'm still struggling just to get my bearings upon entering ("Uhm, where can I get a cocktail?"). Here are a few of my initial thoughts about Facebook:
1. I apparently know quite a few people. Seeing all of them listed as "friends," though, made me realize that I compartmentalize my family, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues into different pockets of my life. Seeing everyone suddenly clustered in one group is very strange. I guess one could say Facebook democratizes all of my relationships, but I find that alien to my sense of organization.
2. Searching for people from the past is frightening me. Well, actually, finding people from the past is what's frightening me. To see the names and pictures of people from my high school years flash before me if bizarre. It's my past coming back to haunt me. I don't mean this necessarily in a bad way, but I should explain that since I left NJ within a year after high school, I lost contact with almost everyone I had ever known. In my mind, they're the same people in my high school yearbook, not people twenty years older. (Ugh! Twenty years ago??)
3. Of course, #2 said, the other side is that there actually were a couple of people that I had always wondered what had happened to them, so I'll be curious to see if we connect again. But this brings me to another point. Does Facebook serve as a virtual social network and replace an "analog" (i.e., face-to-face) social network? I like email to establish contact with someone, but I prefer socializing in person, not online.
Ultimately, I imagine I have a lot to explore with this. I'm not discounting Facebook. On the contrary, I'm intrigued by it. I'm curious to see how it goes for me and whether I get into it or not. I certainly never expected to find blogging so satisfying, so who knows...I'm sure there will be a Part 2, Part 3, and so on, in my assessment of the Facebook Fenomenon.