Friday, October 1, 2010

A self-indulgent post about my self-indulgence

I, like I suspect many others of my generation, went out tonight and saw "The Social Network."

Now, I'd go out to see a movie written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher if it was about the creator of the metal detector. I'd also see movies by lesser known and talented people, but I digress. I was there. And I loved it.

I didn't realize I joined Facebook so early on in its existence. It launched in February of 2004. I was on it by that May, though I don't remember the exact date. Northeastern was definitely one of the first schools it branched out to, as I believe after the Ivy Leagues, they hit the Boston schools.

I don't remember who invited me or how I set it up (I didn't even remember there was an invitation process), but I do remember sitting on my dorm room sofa, in front of a window, dressed in a black shirt, my hair twisted back from my face, holding up my digital camera (my second large purchase with my Boston Globe internship money -- first was an iPod mini) and trying to take a photo that made it look like I didn't care what my Facebook photo was. It's good to see I wasn't the only lemming of my time.

I had just turned 20. I was "reeling" from two break-ups in a years time. The first was my high school boyfriend. The second was the man that was going to be my husband. I'm almost certain they were the first two people I sought out when I signed up.

I remember seeing said HS boyfriend at a mutual friend's house not that long after. "Oh, I didn't realize you were on facebook," I said. (Bull). I had used it to find him, his new girlfriend, various exes, THEIR girlfriends of current and past and over the past six years have used it to stalk numerous people. I get angry when privacy settings get in the way of what I want to know about that girl I used to know 20 years ago. I can' see her face! What does she DO? I tend to rely on Facebook to tell me anything I want to know about a person in a few short lines and then I fill out the rest in my head. A lame bio quote can be so telling...

Facebook is my Internet footprint, the first thing that comes up when you search my name, which is both apropos given how much time I spend on it, and sad, given that I used to be a published writer in a past life. (Today's Local News out of Northern San Diego didn't take off quite like some other ventures of the decade. In fact, they've spiked the website, wiping from existence any proof I ever wrote there or was ever a full-time writer. Perhaps that's a good thing.)

It's crazy to think how Facebook is such a symbol of my generation (I think "my generation," anyways. Zuckerberg and I are the same age and were the same year in college.) I wonder how many hours of thought I've put into it in the past six years. What my profile picture would be (we have 3 wedding pictures printed out in our house -- I have over 450 on Facebook), how my "interests" would make me appear to other people, who to friend and when to friend them (usually one meeting is enough for me to seek you out.) Whenever I friend request someone I don't know that well and they accept, I go to my page and look over my profile. I'm admitting this in a sort of blase way, but it is embarrassing. I try and take an unbiased overview of my page. What do these lines of code and data I update infrequently say about me?

Whenever I host live chats, commenters will ask me to put up a picture (I use an avatar instead and have no interest in sharing the sad truth with them.) I'm not particularly flattered by this, there's just as many people who implore me to shut up. They want to see my picture to see if I fulfil some fantasy about girls and sports. Regardless, I always think, "Why don't they Facebook me?" Some of them do, I know because they friend request me. But I always wonder how I come off. Probably as someone's who's trying too hard and not doing it well enough to make it look easy.

I'd like my internet footprint to be more than Facebook someday. I admire people with great ideas and hope that one day I have one.

And Facebook would probably be the first place I'd share it.