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 at 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."
"I don't mind having my friends on Facebook, that's fun."
"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."
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.
And, if you're quick, you can click here and become my 3000th Facebook friend. But you'll have to be quick.
Amanda's reasoning is why I don't Facebook. I don't want my workmates chatting to my family. Or my family chatting to my friends. Or my wife chatting to my girlfriend.
Err, forget that last bit.
"I really didn't want them all in the same room."
That's a problem I wrestle with often.
Diaspora has it licked. You can sort people into different aspects of your life, so that your religious cousin doesn't see the stuff you post for your friends in the local BDSM community. It's just too bad it sucks balls.
My own kids and all my (high school) students agreed, no Facebook for me. "It would be too weird!"
So that's that.
Just to clarify, because I drop a lot of names: Amanda is my wife who uses facebook in a limited way. Leslie is my former girlfriend from when I was like 13 or something who happens to be on facebook. Lizzie is a BFF who often says things that inspire me to write entire blog posts about them, and does not want her different diasporas in the same room. (She is neither on facebook nor a reader of my blog, so all of our communication is in person.)
Itzac, I'm still struggling to keep my religious family away from the rest of my fb life. How does one go about doing that?
Gwen, one Facebook friend has two separate FB accounts, only one with a photo - I am only friends with one of these - I think they used the same email address for both - it should be possible to keep two accounts separate if you use separate email/mobile phone numbers. (Not sure what the meta-message is with that though :-)
You can create "lists" (which are very different from "groups") of friends and only allow certain things to appear to certain lists. I have a list for family/close friends and a list for students. I let everyone see work-related stuff, for my own amusement if nothing else. Most of what I post is only visible to family.
I used to be a Facebook slut, but I got seduced by Twitter. Now I'm a twitter whore.
And now, you can be a slut+ or a whore+
Nice story Greg, yeah Facebook is a good place to find love :)
Friend of mine also found her love on Facebook and now they are married ^_^