Friday, May 15, 2009

Parking Lot Epiphanies about Facebook

Facebook is weird. For a LOT of reasons. I am kinda thinking of leaving it, but probably won't. Mostly, I really like being mentioned on the news, when they say the fastest growing demographic of people joining/using Facebook are people over 35. Ha! That's me...talkin' 'bout my generation.... So, apparently I get jazzed about being a follower.

Today's Facebook rant is (mostly) about people who go missing from your Friends list.

I saw a mom at school drop-off today, and it dawned on me that I hadn't noticed any of her FB updates lately. Not that I check FB frequently or consistently. I go in spurts of checking it and spurts of completely forgetting to check it. Anyway, a few months ago, she had posted about tattoos or something. Well, I saw her that morning several months ago, and I said, "Now you've got me thinking about tattoos!" or whatever and she laughed and said something about drooling over this one guy or whatever.

So, I see her today, say hi to her as we pass each other, no biggie. As I walk to my car, it dawns on me that, oh yeah, I haven't noticed any of her FB updates recently. That's weird. She used to post a status update twice a day or more.

I check FB, and yep, sure enough, she has disappeared from my Friends list.

Which means, she must have removed ME from HER friends list. Right? Isn't that how that works?

I wouldn't know. Once I add you, I keep you. I don't know anything about removing people.

[Added Bonus: Here's a Rant-Inside-A-Rant!
I do know about blocking people. I've blocked some people, who were never on my friends list. My block list is something I update consistently. It just keeps growing, person by person. Like, yesterday, I blocked my boss. And that Work Husband guy. Can't believe it took me THIS long to figure out that I should block them. Duh! I wanna block Work Husband's real wife, but it won't find her, for some reason, even though she is on other coworkers' Friends list, big as day, front and center. Whatever. Facebook is stupid. Where's their 800 number, anyway? Stupid Facebook.]

This lady's disappearance from my Friends list brings the total count of Disappearing Friends to 2 for me. As far as I know for sure. There may be others that I'm just not remembering.

I'm trying to take a page from my husband's book and not take it personally. Perhaps she's decided to prune her FB world down to close friends, or long-distance family relations. No biggie. She has the right to tweak FB to her particular needs. The most we ever do anyway is say hi to each other at school. I have mentioned to her in the past that I think it'd be fun to get together for drinks or something. But she's of the Stay-At-Home-Mom variety, with three kids 9 and under, and I'm of the Works-FullTime-Outside-The-Home-Mom variety, with one kid, who's not available to help watch HER kids when she needs a break or to run to the store or whatever. In that regard, friends-wise, I think my variety is at a disadvantage. I just am not as available to put in the time to cultivate the social ties among other moms, especially those moms that I've been passing in the parking lot for the past 4 years. But still, after accumulating 4 years' worth of acquaintanceship, you'd think it'd be possible to have a margarita together at some point.

Which brings the discussion back to Facebook. Facebook allows me the chance to be linked in a little more to the PTO-ers, to the parking lot chatterers who linger next to their cars in their sweats and flip flops and ponytails as I swing my car past them on my out of the parking lot to get to work. I watch them wistfully just for the time it takes me to arc my car into the exit lane, wondering what they're talking about, what meeting they are dissing somebody for, what groups are their kids in that mine isn't that would cause them to have that much to discuss? Or are they just lonely, just needing to connect? And how can I join them? Alone in my car, I focus on my commute and listen to Morning Edition instead of joining them. And think, well, I can kinda join them, via Facebook.

So, I sent the friend invitation, she accepted, and then two or three months later, she disappeared. No margaritas for us, it would seem.

As you can tell, I don't have a high number of friends on my Friends list, so yeah, I notice when someone goes missing....well, I will eventually notice. Give me a month or two and I'll figure it out one morning in the school parking lot.


blognut said...

I'm not a big user of Facebook, either. I forget it for months on end, then get faithful to it for a few days and forget it again. I'm fickle like that.

teasinglydiverse said...

I'm a FB addict. I've been on since 2005, back when it was college students only (and not even ALL colleges!). I have a lot of FB friends and even with a lot I consistently notice when people disappear. Because I've got a pretty good idea who my friends are it's not that hard for me to figure out who disappeared. Sometimes I don't even care because we weren't close to begin with, but there have been a few times when I've wondered what was going on.
I've stopped worrying about it though, because SO MANY people are deleting FB altogether because of what you mentioned - the largest growing number of people joining FB is people over 35. For people in my generation, that means employers and older family members, including parents. A lot of my 20something friends would rather delete their FB than be monitored by their boss or their parents...especially since that's not what they signed up for when they joined. FB was the alternative to Myspace.
Just my thoughts :) Sorry for rambling!

Cat said...

FB has given me an opportunity to reconnect with people I have not talked to in years - that is both good and bad of course and while I am much like you in that once you are added - I just dont drop you off - I have often wondered about why I keep people I never talk to in my FB...

Why do we do the things we do afterall?

Have a great weekend!

Christie-A Work In Progress said...

I protested FB for the longest and now basically use it as a promotional tool. Every single one of my friends found ME first...I dont look for people. It is nice that I have connected with long lost high school/college friends and relatives. I am enjoying it. I am by no means an addict. And I do not notice if I lose friends. I dont even know how many I have. Is that bad?

Hyphen Mama said...

I refuse to join FB. I keep in touch with the 3 people from school that I intend to...would we have lost touch if they were that important?

My thoughts on the moms in the parking lot at school... I see them, too. I've had those moms try to suck me in, just so they can be catty and include me in their gossip. I didn't join my kid in preschool to make friends, and I don't have time to keep up with the few friends I do have... those moms don't matter. Now I just smile and say 'Hi' and keep my 2 year-old and I moving right along. WHO HAS TIME to stand in the parking lot for 10 minutes gossiping about other moms or who's divorcing whom?

Mama Dawg said...

I'm on FB as well and noticed a few disappearances but thought nothing of it because if I couldn't remember who was on the list to begin with, it must not have mattered much.

However, someone I did know and consider to be a friend dropped me from FB, twitter AND her blogroll. And all because I disagreed with her on something.

Oh, well. Good riddance.