I’ve got enough friends. I just wish I knew who they are.

Friends? Of course. Who are you again?

I try to do a daily drive-by of all the social media type things I’m involved with. Some days I’m great at the drive-bys, other days I’m neglectful. My swings through my internet hot spots include stops at cnn.com, my hotmail account, Stumble!, any new blog posts that show up in my RSS feed list, my own blog (it’s sorta like checking to make sure no one broke into your house while you were away. Are the kitchen appliances still there? Did anyone make off with the tv? What are the dogs doing?), Twitter and, of course, Facebook.

The other morning when I checked in at Facebook, two of my friends were mentioned on my wall as having “friended” a third person. Since my two friends were from high school, I assumed this third person was also from high school. But that’s just a guess — the truth is I have no earthly idea who the person is. So of course I clicked on the underlined name, to pull up the profile in the hope of seeing a face that I recognized but….nope. Not a clue. Turns out that this profile did list my high school, so that’s the connection, but this classmate? No idea, but the name started to ring soft bells in my brain. However, seeing as I have so little brain cells and so little time, I shrugged and moved on.

Then, two days later, the friend request arrived from this person. And I accepted it.

After that, I lamented to another friend in an email that I must have early-onset dementia because I had no idea who this person is, but now we are friends on FB. Doesn’t that seem a little crazy? And the email response? “Yeah, it’s crazy. I don’t know who 2/3 of my “friends” are either.” I guess crazy’s running rampant. (Or early-onset dementia.) At one time I had a policy that I would only “friend” people whom I really *knew* — or thought I did. But then I bent that policy for one person and the policy snapped and here I am, “friend”-ful and wondering who they are.

This morning as part of my drive by, I took a gander at how many people are my “friends.” The number is a respectable (to my mind) 149. (My brother, who just finished running for Congress has 4,089. I’m pretty sure I’ve never even *met* that many people.) Then I pulled up the list of these 149 and pondered it. They’re a fairly eclectic bunch — from various stages of my life and representing different, earlier versions of myself. Some of those versions of myself, like v. 8 years or v. 22 years, are quite obsolete now — but it’s nice to remember them, the way you remember that old wood paneled station wagon your family had or that Andy Gibb album you owned. (It’s okay to admit it. Retro’s back, remember?) So I guess I have Facebook to thank for that. I may be more connected to myself.

(Oh great, more navel-gazing. All this media seems to serve as vehicles to learn more about me me me me me. I know there are rumblings that “this generation” or “that generation” is self-absorbed and self-interested, but wow. Hello kettles, meet the pots.)

Is FB more about me than it is about “Friends?” I don’t know. I do know that I *really* don’t care about this one’s political opinions, that one’s musical opinions or what the other one is having for dessert. WAIT. That sounds harsh. I do care a little bit — in that way you care about the conversation you’re overhearing on the subway. (I’m a first-class eavesdropper. If you’re talking loudly enough for me to hear, I’m going to listen.) But those folks on the subway — are we friends? No. Still, I’m happy for the seared scallop dinner they’re planning for Thursday, and I’m pleased they actually did vote even if their candidate lost, and I’m happy for them that they got tickets to that band they adore….

If nothing else, FB put me in touch with myself in a way that I didn’t expect. I’ve followed links shared by “friends” that I never would have found on my own; looked at photos and reminisced about what I wish I had known then, done differently, or worn better (nice haircut in 1986, me); read opinions and pleas and demands for justice and change and civility that gave (and give) me hope for myself, my children, this country, this world.

Go on, send me a friend request. Odds are, I’ll accept it and spend 15 minutes trying to recall how we know each other. And then we’ll add each other to our rosters and get on about our days. I’ll wonder about your technique for roasting a chicken or if your soccer team won, and then remind myself to go buy lemons because it’s been awhile since I roasted a chicken.

And if we’re side-by-side in the produce department, I’m certain I won’t recognize you. That’s okay, though — we’ll catch up on FB.

Yes, I’m back in the game. This is a Word Up, YO! post. C’mon, join in:

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7 Responses to “I’ve got enough friends. I just wish I knew who they are.”

  1. Booyah's Momma Says:

    4,000 friends? Seriously, can you imagine getting that many Farmville and Mafia War updates? Boggles my mind.
    Booyah’s Momma recently posted..My daughters funnier than I am- anyway

    Alyson says:

    Huh. Hadn’t thought of that. Will have to inquire how he manages 4000 friends that way. For sure he never sees my updates since stupid Farmville and Mafia War would hog the screen space….

  2. liz Says:

    It is weird. This new world of social media totally has created this strange feeling of obligation to accept. It’s a whole new form – virtual peer pressure!
    liz recently posted..My Not-So-Interesting Confessions

    Alyson says:

    You’re right — that’s exactly what it is. I think, “oh, my best hs bud so-and-so friended them, so I should too.” Huh? If she jumped off a bridge I would also follow suit?

  3. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points Says:

    I TRY to keep FB to people I actually know.

    Although some of that knowing is online people I’ve never met.

    But sometimes…I’m in a hurry.

    And so now I have friends I don’t know.

    Which, frankly, feels weird.

    Should I invite them over for coffee now? What if they’re criminals? How would I know?

    This is all so awkward.

    I bet Emily Post never had to deal with this nonsense.
    Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points recently posted..Suggestion Box

    Alyson says:

    But at least you “know” you don’t “know” them. I’m totally baffled by those people whom I’m supposed to know, like from HS or College.
    I’m too young to feel this socially confused. I need to reserve that for the school parties where I attend in person and have no idea who the hell I’m talking to.

  4. Jen Says:

    Good thoughts. I wonder/think these things almost every time I get on facebook. Am I wasting my time or really building lasting friendships? It definitely has helped me find old friends which I appreciate, but it’s also helped waste a lot of time that I could spend cleaning up my Puke Room (see Liz’s {@bbcd} post the other day? She’s how I found you, btw.) Anyways… great post! Loved your eclectic style! 😉

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