Feeling Facebook

I never thought I would make a facebook profile. I am not quite sure what compelled me today – surely some email or other.. but I did. I was surprised how fast it all came together – I have a bunch of friends already, a relatively full profile and carry on a few conversations via ‘messages’ and ‘the wall’. I am scared that I will become addicted to it – as I am with checking my blog (for the never posted comments) and my email (grateful that I belong to several mailing lists!).

What I did find interesting, is how you create your profile – how it asks what you are looking for (in a ‘i’m available’ kinda way). It struck me as odd that my choices were limited to LavaLife type categories – even the “friendship” tag seemed loaded with inuendo. Where is the “to create a visual mapping of my social friendships” tab? If the site is academic in its nature (so i remember at its inception), why are all the profile categories so typical (interests, hobbies, books, shows, music, movies etc..). I don’t know – I am not sure what I was hoping for. I always feel weird sharing what I watch on television – as I watch SOME reality television, but have a distinct line of ‘too much’ and ‘lame’ even within the reality television spectrum. But when I read my “friend’s” profiles, reality television is often ridiculed – so do I lie, and make fun of it too or do I admit my guilty pleasure of reality television along with tubs of Haagen Daaz and beer + hockey? Like this blog, it is always a struggle between what to share, and what to keep to myself – except here, I don’t have a concrete reader list, so I can pretend no one reads. Enough of that derailed train of thought.

It is strange to see who my friends are in the way they are layed out and categorized by institution, affiliation and relationship. And how ‘friend’ is defined in the context of the site. Most are classmates, acquaintances and people I aspire to get to know better.

Contextualized identity … those who are not on facebook are not included – so the picture of who i am in terms of my network is skewed…at least to the outside world. Is this a meaningful space for me? Or just a mapping? Can I develop relationships here with colleagues that I may not have in other forums (email, mailing lists, the conference ‘circuit’ as my partner calls it). It offers more information about me than I may have shared with some people, while not enough I would have shared with others.

I don’t know how long I will maintain my FaceBook space .. the representation of me that talks for me while I am away… It is strange to watch everyone else’s business. I can see all the activity of my friends too – who they become friends with and what they’ve added or removed from their profiles. For this reason, my daughter is still contemplating whether or not to add me to her friend list. I know that she has my friend’s son on her list too … I could see his activity with her… The web that this all weaves may be too sticky.

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