Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Social Media

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, but a few weeks ago my friends and I were talking about Facebook and about what happens when we see our Facebook 'friends' in real life.

Before I get into that, I want to mention that all of the people I have on my Facebook I either know in real life or are the writers of blogs that I follow. There is literally no one on my Facebook (besides the blogs/bloggers) that I have not met in person and had some sort of dealing with. It's true. I don't like just adding anyone because some of the things I post I wouldn't post if it was able to be viewed every where. (Like where I am or who I am with or gripes about politics or whatever.) It's my zone and just like Embrace the Crazy, I keep it real. I want to feel comfortable to post what I want without having to worry very much about it.

That said, my friends and I were discussing our friend list clean ups and the times that we have seen our FB friends in real life and what happened. We have each had experiences where someone added us on Facebook, and when we saw them in real life, they either ignored our smiles and/or passing hellos, or they gave us a dirty look or something.

First of all, I was happy that I wasn't alone in having this experience. I've mentioned before how awkward I am with putting myself out there and making friends... When I see someone in Target that I am not particularly close to (but communicate with on Facebook or even Twitter) and I manage to smile and say hi without tripping over my own feet and falling and chipping a tooth or honestly, just choking on fear, it's sort of a big deal. (At least for me it is. I'm one of those shy-sters [get it? Haha!] that hide behind their computer. I'm less awkward that way...) To know that my friends have gone through the same things makes me feel better.

It also astounds me.

The reason that it astounds me is because if a person adds me on Facebook, as sad as it is, they are asking permission to have access to my memories and personal information. It's knowing where I am or where I have been, how I feel about things, good and bad (eek!) pictures of me, what my religion is and where I stand on politics... A friend request, to me, is someone asking me if I would be okay with letting them in. Not just that, but they often have access to my friends because of tagged photos and status streams... They can even see a 'Friendship' between me and one of my friends.

I don't take that lightly. On every single social media outlet that I am a member of, I chose what I want to share and with whom. I talk about some things on Facebook that I don't mention here and I post blogs on here that I don't mention on my Facebook. It is at my discretion. Obviously, my blog is public, while my Facebook account is private. There is a reason for that. Facebook is real time and Embrace the Crazy is a journal for myself. I typically don't write where I've been until after the fact. It's safe. Plus, not many people read this blog outside of my bubble. Which is fine. This blog is not for anyone else. It's just for me. But the things I post on here I post because I don't mind sharing them with whomever decides to stumble upon this ol' blog.

I was explaining to Bryan that while I think using the word snubbed has a connotation to it that doesn't quite articulate my feelings, I suppose its close. I don't expect to be best friends with everyone on my Facebook, and I certainly don't think I have to strike up a conversation with them in public just because we are friends on Facebook. I do feel that if you make eye contact it would not be hard to smile to acknowledge them. Or so say a quick hello before going about your business. Really, I think my expectations are low. A hello has never hurt anyone.

After the few times that I had experienced this, I really started to wonder. If these people want to completely ignore my existence in public, what are their motives to being 'friends' on Facebook? My thoughts barreled down to genuine human curiosity and it's more negative counterpart - nosiness. There is a difference between being intrigued by someone and their life (some reality television/interviews) and general nosiness (like paparazzi fueled websites/magazines). Once I made the distinction, I started thinking about the few people that were anything but friendly in person and I resolved that, based on what I knew of them, they were people that were nosy. So, you know what I did? I deleted them.

At the risk of sounding as though my mindset was "You weren't nice to me in public so I defriended you! Take that!" I'll be honest. I don't want people that are nosy on my Facebook. Which is kind of funny when you think about it. I want people that are genuinely interested in knowing where I've gone in life and sharing funny quips with each other, or giving reviews of items or books or movies. I happen to think that other people are fascinating and I love knowing why people choose certain things or really, just their story in general. But I don't use the information they post against them. I don't ignore them in public or follow them around on Facebook saying rude and mean spirited things. (My husband has a 'friend' that does this on occasion. It's really sad.) And I'm not catty with the information they post. I feel like nosy people only want information to do bad things like gossip and I'm not down with that. So I deleted them and I don't feel bad about it at all.

Moving along, in yesterday's post, I mentioned that I went to dinner with my Mom and Larry on Saturday. While there, I noticed that an ex-boyfriend from my junior year or high school and his friend were there. I debated about interrupting their dinner to say hi. I also didn't want to seem like I just ignored them. I have my ex on my Facebook and we post on each others stuff sometimes - no big deal. But I immediately thought of the conversation I had with my friends.

So, I took all of my 40-pounds-heavier-than-I-was-in-high-school self and walked by their table and said hi, made some small chit-chat and left after a minute or two. It was easy going and not all that awkward.

Then I get to my Mom's and look in a mirror and realize that I forgot that I let my hair air-dry because it was raining and that I chose not to do my make up. I was also wearing slippers and a huge San Francisco sweatshirt. Sigh.

I just HAD to say hello while looking like a homeless person. Ugh.


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