It finally happened. I elected NOT to be friends on Facebook with someone whom I know. An e-snub. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I know this guy will be posting 50 new pictures and messages a day and I don’t want to know about it. There are people I am already friends with on Facebook whom I regret accepting because they send so many messages and post so much stuff. I selected Facebook settings to restrict what comes into my email, even so, my emailbox is clogged with Facebook messages every morning. So-and-so has a pimple. So-and-so just posted a picture of herself dancing ballet in sixth grade. So-and-so joined the group Save the Salamanders and wants you to join too. So-and-so is in a relationship, wait no they’re not, no wait yes they are, no, it’s complicated, no, now they’re single but if you check back at noon they’ll be married. I can’t keep up. Today I’m changing my settings so nothing from Facebook comes into my email. I love email. I even (horrors) use the telephone occasionally.
I created a Facebook account for myself back in the fall of 2006 when I was preparing to publish my book. I read that it would help get the word out and sell copies if I joined all these social networking sites. So I made a presence on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, Second Life, blah-blah, bleeh-bleeh, and bloo-bloo. I created a blog. I started an e-zine. Now I have to ask myself, What am I? A woman or an avatar?
Last month, after reading another article about how important it is to have yourself on Facebook to sell books, I “tricked out” my Facebook account with all the trimmings I could muster. Suddenly, a bevy of close friends and relatives discovered me on Facebook and started communicating with me there. Then I started to get these emails from long lost friends and lovers and friends of lovers and lovers of friends and people I didn’t even know (and people I knew but never really liked) inviting me to be their friend on Facebook. So I drew my line in the dirt. I am friends on Facebook with a few close friends and family, an occasional fun acquaintance. But this is getting too big, like a marshmallow in the microwave. I don’t want to be Facebook friends with business acquaintances whom I have never met. Like the guy I snubbed. Akili (my son) has refused to accept invitations to be friends with many friends and relatives because he doesn’t want them knowing all his personal business that appears in his interactions with his peers at college. That’s fair enough. But he is worried they will be insulted when he refuses their invitation. I didn’t bother to invite him to be friends for the same reason that I don’t read my daughter’s blog. Too much information. None of my business. I would not have wanted my mother to read my personal correspondence to my friends in Europe when I was 25.
What happened to email? I like email. It’s private. How did this Facebook stuff snowball so that close family now sends me public messages on my Facebook wall instead of emailing me privately? My husband, in the other room, is posting to my Facebook wall that he’s about to run out for a loaf of bread. Should I be worried? I guess I’m OK until he switches his profile from “married” to “it’s complicated.”