Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are You On Facebook?

Let's just pretend it hasn't been over a month since my last post, shall we.

WARNING!!  This post is severely long and terribly rambling.  I'm working through something and I need to use this blog as down and dirty therapy.  Remember we're broke and uninsured. ;-)  Feel free to skip on by if you're not in the mood to witness a middle aged woman unpacking her emotional baggage.   

Anywho . . . Someone must ask me about Facebook every single time I'm with friends, family, or frankly just people in general.  No, I'm not on Facebook.  Mom #2 is not on Facebook.  Baby Boy is not on Facebook.  Collectively, we are not on Facebook.  It's never really concerned or interested me too much; just a different way of wasting time online.  I'm sure people are on Facebook while I'm reading all of your blogs. ;-)

In the spirit of full disclosure, actually, I do sort of have a Facebook page.  It doesn't have any information on it, no photo, no friends, or anything like that and it's not under my real name.  I use it to "like" my favorite companies' websites so that I can get coupons.  I'll do just about anything for a coupon.  I big sparkly puffy heart coupons.  

Well, what set me off is that my sister recently sent me a link to a Facebook group for people who went to our primary/secondary school.  Primary school you say - long forgotten - big deal.  Well it is a big deal.  I grew up in Europe in a very close-knit, conservative,  dangerously-close-to-a-cult, religious group that included a school where we received a highly edited education. We spent many, many years there.  The majority of my developmental years.  The group page included photos from years past, along with more recent photos and updates from a lot of people who checked in.  My silly face was in a lot of those old photos and it really brought back memories.   Some people are still enveloped in a looser translation of the religion, many have moved on to more mainstream lives.  All seem to look back on those years as a fond experiment.  It's kind of like a recently defunct exclusive club and you were a founding member.  Very few people in the world are privy to the experience we shared.  

For a week after perusing the group pages, I proceeded to have raging nightmares.  The images brought up a lot of pain that I thought I was over.  Over the years I have weathered a fairly serious identity crisis as I have grown up, released myself from that religion, came out, began learning about actual science and history, etc . . . There were many lost years and many more rebuilding.  I'm confident in myself now, but that week I was having daily flashbacks.  It was emotionally draining.

Now that I've come out on the other side, I realize there are some people I really would like to reconnect with.  I see their photos, their spouses, their children and how much their lives have blossomed.  I feel the desire to reach out.  They obviously feel the same way or why would they have such a group.  It's like that shared experience is our sun and we're all in tight orbit around it.  The gravitational pull is getting harder and harder to ignore.

But on the other hand, I don't know if I want to live my life "out loud" like that.  I enjoy my anonymity.  I do blog (sort of), but I don't usually give my real name, or the real name of my family members.  I think it's common knowledge what general area of the country I live in, but not altogether too specific.  I like having a veil, even if it's imagined, of privacy in my life.

I have to admit that I am also afraid that I'll be judged harshly by people who are still "in the faith."  I'm completely burned out on religion.  I'm glad it's there for people who need it, including my very own Mom and Sister, but I simply do not partake. I have a long miserably sorted history with church, religion, demon deacons, evil church ladies, being gay, being feminist, being artistic, and being a bunch of other stuff that is  fodder for a whole other post.  Another long post. 

All that is to say, I've been thinking about actually personalizing my page and really joining Facebook, but I probably won't.  Are y'all on it?  What do you like about it?  What do you hate about it?  Give me the scoop!

Who knew a simple question, could conjure up so much . . . stuff.  Such is life, I guess. 

If you've read this far, thanks.  I really needed a listening ear.  If you skipped over all the drama in the middle and are just skimming to the end, I understand that too.  Time is money, Honey. 

43 days of triple digit temperatures.  I just had to mention, it's HOT!   

Until next time . . .


Anonymous said...

WOW. Your story doesn't surprise me, only because I know somebody who grew up in a similar situation. It seems to be more prevalent than we realize, yet it's also still a very unique experience for a person and I can personally understand your interest in connecting with certain people from your past.

As for FB... *pfffft* The only reason I'm on it is for my mother, sister, and mother-in-law. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother. I prefer the connection made with people through blogging and forums for specific interests.

That said, many of my bloggy/forum friends are on my FB, and I do like that.

But, overall, I could live without it (and a couple of my video gaming friends on it!).

Does that answer your question? ;)

Mel R said...

I'm on it and enjoy the updates from things I subscribe to like various stores, celebs, local events and places, etc and keeping in touch with friends I left behind in various moves. I also belong to some homeschoolers groups. However I steer clear of school reunion groups and old classmates because that was not a good time in my life. I get curious but then always regret getting swept back in time.

Jennifer, in Vancouver said...

Well, I tend to think blogs are far superior to Facebook. There's something about FB that I just don't like.

Here's my story: One time I got one of the "you have been invited to join facebook" e-mails from someone I knew, and then also included in the e-mail was this: "Other people you might know on Facebook" and there was a list of people that I knew peripherally (ie: the husband of a friend, someone I went to university with). And this made me quite certain that Facebook is indeed collecting information on people and using keywords to put them in categories.

Anyway, I know FB has its positives, but I'm staying away for now...

:)De said...

okay... I have started and re-started this comment 4 times now. Like, this makes me wanna hang out with you 'cause I know you got some great insight that would help so many others.

Anyway, I joined FB originally to keep in touch with family, but really I use it just for the games now. Jennifer is right. I think there is lots of information collection on there like any other networking site, but I don't get caught up in that. I only talk to who I want to and only share what I want.

I was lulled by a false sense of security on blogger in the beginning, but soon realized that all the stat counters tell my location, my browser, heck, what kind of operating system I use. So... anonymity is kind of a loose term for me.

I live about 5 hours from all extended family. FB is the only way I get to "see" how they are doing and keep up with family happenings. None of them know about my blog, 'cause they would most definitely criticize how I live.

Freakmom said...

I have a facebook account but only use it when a company has info I want to see (like specials that the swim club we go to), or when some foolish friend of mine decides to send me a message through it - e-mail me already!

I accidentally signed up for the account. I was trying to find a new insurance agent and a homeschool mom/agent had advertised on a local group and I wanted to know more about her before calling. Turned out to be her facebook page (sidebar - horribly unprofessional in my opinion, we didn't switch to her) and I had to sign up before viewing her page.

I don't include my maiden name on my page. I don't want to reconnect with my besties from 2nd grade. Within minutes of signing up for my account all these people started popping up to friend me. How creepy is that?! I knew them but still. The enter key wasn't even cool yet.

I never post on my page. 1. Because writing on a wall is just wrong! You get sent to your room for that - after you've scrubbed the wall. I do not condone vandalism. And b. because I can never think of a single thing I want to tell the weird, varied group of people who've friended me. There are homeschool friends, Girl Scout friends, work friends (egads!) and various family members.

So the short of it is, I'm not a facebook fan and as soon as I can remember what my password was I intend to cancel my account.

Jana C. said...

I am on facebook. I am logged in all day long, but I am rarely there. I only opened a facebook account to keep track of my son in Japan. When the Navy transferred him out of the country, it was an easy way to contact him. Then I realized a lot of my family was on there, so it has become a way to keep in contact with them too. ( Or at least the ones I wish to be in contact with. ). It is easy.

I don't have much contact with folks from my past though. Like you there is more pain than good. So I stick to homeschooling moms, and family for the most part.

Obi-Mom Kenobi said...

I'm there - sort of - mostly it's a decent way of contacting friends I have all over the place. I also don't use my maiden name. The people I want to contact with I have, the ones I don't (especially from way back yonder) would have a hard time finding me without it. I had a few minutes of "maybe it would be fun to see how XYZ are doing" before reality came back knocking. Truthfully, I'd ditch it in a second if I gave it too much thought. Actually, I have done exactly that twice now.

Holmes Family said...

Yes I'm on it. I debate almost daily if I should delete the damn thing, it can become such a waste of time when I don't want to do what I'm suppose to be doing. It works as way to keep in touch with close friends, at one point I had a bunch of folks I went to high school on there...I didn't like 99% of them when I was in high school, turns out nothing has changed. Most people stay the same, same thought pattern, same idiotic opinions. I deleted them all and left it to my close circle of friends and *some* family members. I'm very critcal of religion and politics on my FB page, I figure since I don't really want it I might as well say what I want on it.

I also have pages for various things I do (homeschooling blog page, freethinking magazine page, and I admin for a non-profit group. So I won't ever be able to get rid of FB. But I don't recommend people take on that crack if they are able to communicate with loved ones *including friends* elsewhere.

If we were in the same state as family and friends I probably would only bother with it once a month if even that *which is what it use to be like*, but since we aren't even in the same country I kind of have to. Or else miss out on so much *like wedding photos, friends' babies, and all that other good stuff that makes life more enjoyable.

I hope that rambling helps. :)

Kathy (floridamom) said...

Wow, what a background! However, like you, many of those people might have found their way away from the rigid beliefs, and are just looking to connect with the people they remember from when they were kids.

I'm on facebook and really enjoy it. Dh and I can keep up with family who aren't local. I enjoy reading about what friends are doing. There are a lot of people who use it as a soapbox, but I don't post anything political or controversial on my facebook. I post things like photos from our latest day at the beach, or links to a recipe I tried that I think others might share. I make sure to keep it just for fun.

I'm also selective about who I befriend. I ignore the peripheral friend requests and only connect with people I know. True, I know some of them only through the internet, but they're people I've communicated with either through our blogs or through forums.

In summary: Facebook can be fun if you keep it light. You don't have to befriend everyone who sends you a request. You might surprise yourself and enjoy it.

Tara said...

((Mom #1)) The background info sounds very similar to what we experienced at the local Waldorf school. I'm sorry you had to go through that and that it's still impacting you today, but glad the nightmares and flashbacks did not continue longer than one week.
I have a FB page, but it took me a long, long time to find a comfortable way to use it, for many of the same reasons you list.
What works for me is using it like a second email account. I have the highest privacy settings available -- no picture tags, etc, publish to anyone but me. If I have a comment to leave that's more than "happy birthday" or "my thoughts are with you and your family" I use personal messaging so it doesn't post. I also have a list of people that I'm friends with who are not able to view my page.
All that said, it has been a nice way to get back in touch with a few classmates, coordinate family outings, stay up to date on what's happening with my daughter's dance classes, etc.
One really important thing I did was to uncheck all the email notification settings, so I only go there when I am centered and ready emotionally.
Whatever you choose to do, all the best to you.

Anonymous said...

I don't blog (so far) for the same reason you don't FB...loss of privacy. I have found FB a useful tool for finding and keeping in touch with some of my old friends, but I keep my account fairly restricted and usually confine my postings to topics like the weather. (I'm constantly amazed at the personal things people share.) I have been friended by people who didn't like me in high unfriended by a couple of them too! (Small loss.) I have a blog but haven't opened it to the world or used it much because of the potential loss of privacy. I like your's like visiting a friend's house...yet you protect your privacy so that I couldn't actually drive there!


Hula Hank said...

I am a passive Facebooker, meaning I don't (or rarely) post updates, but I do comment on others photos and updates.

I like FB for sharing photos and quickly keeping in touch, but I do not accept friend requests nor make friend requests unless it is an actual friend or family member.

I say that if you could live without it all these years then it won't enhance your life by joining.

I do understand the curiosity pull of connection to the past, and that is FB one downfall... it brings the past to the present.

The best part is if you start exploring the past and you find don't it, you can delete it with a touch of a button.

val said...

I like facebook for photo sharing mostly, but I don't post status updates or have a lot of my own personal information on there.

I have reconnected with a few people from the past, and it's been fun to say hi and catch up a bit.

I think Mom #1, its in the expectations you have. If it's someone you think it'd be fun to say hi to, send a private message and say hello.

One was a child I used to babysit, now a woman, and her mother, and it surprised me how easily we fell back into conversation and it was fun to share memories of the time we spent when she was a little girl and I was a teenager--swimming, listening to records, doing our nails.

But none of this conversation happened on facebook itself. We spoke on the phone and exchanged emails.

You don't have to put yourself out there publicly on facebook to any great extent. Because it brought up so many conflicting old memories, I wouldn't.

And I never link from facebook to my blog. The friends and family and random strangers who read my blog--that's great. But I'm not linking it to the big wide world of facebook.

Good luck, hon. I hope whatever you decide to do, you have peace about it. love, Val

Related Posts with Thumbnails