Genie is still not sure how she feels about Facebook. I like being able to keep up with old friends from high school who would not otherwise read my blog or be aware of my doings. It just seems like one more place for me to update my life other than all the places I already am.
I have photos online; they're on Flickr. I have status updates; they're through Twitter (and don't force me to refer to myself in the third person). I don't need to write on walls when I can send an email or text or send direct messages via Twitter.
Ironically the people I want to see how they're doing after 15 years all have children as their profile pictures. I'm glad you have kids, really, but when I'm trying to remember if you're the Megan I shared AP calculus with, your toddler isn't helping jog my memory. Then again, my current profile photo features me dressed in a full bunny costume drinking coffee. That should help them remember me.
I don't need to throw snowballs or water imaginary plants or take a quiz to find out which planet I'm most like. Again, it's great for other folks but it's really not my bag. I block all those applications.
As I list all these things I hate about Facebook, I'm starting to feel like a great big curmudgeon who's raining on everyone else's social networking parade. Facebook is a gateway drug to lots of other sites. I really enjoy hearing from folks I would otherwise be completely out of touch with. I like the idea that if my old high school friends want to send me a Christmas card, I could give them access to my contact information through Facebook. And this weekend Facebook really saved my ass.
Saturday was a hockey charity game in Charlottesville. A fair number of players' wives showed up to cheer on the team and help out the Richmond Hockey Fights Cancer cause. There's a trend in the hockey circle that all the ladies are known only as [player]'s wife. There's Rusty's wife, Buncy's wife, Richie's wife (that's me) and Jay's wife. Everyone knows the players (or at least their last names written on their jerseys) but the wives' names get lost in the shuffle. As one of those wives it gets awkward when we're all in a room and realize we aren't really sure of each other's names but feel like we're supposed to know them. I see these women four times a year or so. They're all great women but the names just don't stick for me.
We got to the rink and as I walked in I saw Jay and his wife and baby. I started to freeze. Shit, I can't remember Jay's wife's name. Laura? No, that's Lee's girlfriend. Laurie? No I think I made that up. And then there was the baby - I couldn't even remember if it was a boy or a girl! The last time I saw them was only a few weeks after she delivered and that was months ago. The rink wasn't that crowded and I knew they were headed our way.
Me: "Hey ... you guys! How are ... you all ... doing?"
Whew, so far so good. Think, dammit, think. Was she always wearing those glasses?
Me: "And how is your little bundle of joy?"
Jay's wife: "Oh he's fine. He's a little over 4 months old now."
Wow, that was a close one. I'll wait a little bit and try to remember his name. But her! What the hell is her name?
We parted ways for a moment and I immediately grabbed my iPhone. Jay is one of my Facebook friends and we're both fans of Richmond Hockey Fights Cancer. His "wall" may offer me some clues. Damn his time - his profile picture is a little baby. At least I'm sure it's him already. Oh ... getting closer ... he's been updating his status recently. I switched to the info tab and it says he's married to Lauren. Hallelujah we have a name! I was so close before, but I didn't want to mumble my way through it for the next two hours. I've been called Jenny enough to know the irritation of someone confidently misremembering my own name.
So for all the other internet scenes I haunt these days I still haven't quite gotten comfortable when it comes to Facebook. Am I missing the boat or is it just the french vanilla to the vanilla I'm already enjoying? Are you using Facebook and what the hell are you doing on there (and why haven't you friended me yet)?