23 July 2010

Friend

Five years ago, social networks didn't exist. Five years ago, the word friend was still a noun. Now, it is a verb.

Yes, most of the people who access the Internet are familiar with social networking sites. There is Myspace, Orkut, Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, and all such sites available for the Internet user to join and create a virtual repository of one's social life. I once joined Friendster before, it was quite late when I joined, and only because I learned that my friends from high school were all members and so it was one way of catching up with them.

That was around 2004. Then, I realized that Friendster was rather full of clutter, and around 2007, I decided to switch to Facebook. I deactivated my Friendster account and made a Facebook account. I liked the interface and how clean it looked like. I hated the way other sites can be personalized, with your own personal background and all that, it looked ugly. That was why I didn't join Myspace.

Anyway, somewhere along the line, my motive for joining Facebook changed. I used to tell people that Facebook is the way I keep in touch with people from the past. My friends from all over the place can keep me updated about what they are doing through Facebook.

However, somehow, that logic kinda fell apart. I realized that there are things I do in Facebook that I would only be comfortable if my close friends learned about it. And in fact, friendships are dynamic as well. One might be close friends one day, but after ten years, they will be distant and cold. Friendships change, and they are never frozen. So am I comfortable telling these old friends what I am doing during my day? Probably not.

So, I went ahead and trimmed my friends. I used to have so many of them, and by that, I mean around 160. Old friends from elementary school, high school, college, and so on. Old friends whose pictures together now only consist of the elementary school photo that we had. At first, I did add them as friends, but now, I deleted them. I figured that they aren't my friends anymore. If I bump into them on the street, I would have no idea what we should talk about. It's bizarre.

So now, Facebook is just an extension of my life. What I do there is virtual, but it is real. That's part of my personality. And only my close friends have access to it. The friends I have there have decreased, but I don't have a lot of close friends anyway. The ones that remain are the ones that I really still keep in touch, and try to not be frozen.

So why am I blogging about Facebook? Because I saw this article wondering whether teachers should friend their students. When I was teaching, there were a couple of students of mine who friended me. I didn't friend them until my class was over and they weren't my students anymore. And a few months later, I defriended them, since again, they weren't my close friends anyway.



(Gold and Human, from my Salineras de Maras Series)

2 comments:

  1. I used to have an account on Facebook when it started and I abandoned it because I felt it was organized stalking. I hate mixing work with friends, simple acquaintances with old friends. Maybe I'm old fashion but I think we should expose our lives like that.

    That's why I stick to my blog, I can control what I say and yet people can find me easily.

    Hopefully, that makes sense!

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  2. Zhu,

    It does make sense! And I don't think you're missing much by not having Facebook. There's just so many issues about privacy that if you don't know what you're doing, you might be exposing yourself to unwanted dangers.

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