Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Facebook Friends

Here are some things I will not share with you:

1) I will not tell you via Facebook that I am in a new relationship. (The odds of my ever actually being in a new relationship are slim to none but in case lightning strikes.....) If we are close enough, I might call you or e-mail you or stop by to see you but I will not bump you (along with the rest of the world) on Facebook.

2) Even if I hated my job (which I don't), I would not confide in you about it because people seem to forget that Facebook isn't private and any number of people who do not have your best interests at heart may be lurking, including co-workers and other moles. In fact, confidantes and Facebook are almost a contradiction in terms.

3) I will not ask you to help me find my baby lamb in Farmville or collect guns in Mafiaburg.

4) I will not tell you about the million points I just scored in Bedazzled or Bejeweled or Be-whatever.

5) I will not send you Love Hearts or virtual flower bouquets or Hugs and Kisses.

6) I will probably not invite you to join any groups or sign any petitions or ask any new friends into your circle. If you want to do any of those things, you're on your own.

Having said all that, I will help you cheer your teams on to victory (as long as they aren't competing against Jimmie in NASCAR). I will celebrate with you when your child excels and sympathize with you when he or she stumbles. I will congratulate you on anniversaries, weddings, engagements and birthdays. I will sometimes click on to the YouTube videos you post, especially the music ones.

I like it when you pop in to let me know what you're up to - how your work day is going, what's up with your family, where you went on vacation. I like seeing your pictures (unless they contain pick up truck beds full of coyote corpses - sorry, guys). I like neighborly news about mutual friends. I enjoy knowing how many mushrooms you found and how many fish you caught (although it makes me drool with envy). I enjoy the occasional heated political discussion.

I think Facebook is a positive development in communication because it helps you keep in touch with people you might lose track of - former co-workers who changed jobs, friends who've moved, new friends with shared interests, like my NASCAR pals. Facebook sometimes help you hook up with people you thought were long lost from your life. It keeps you current with what is going on with your favorite teams, politicians and issues.

Having said all that, Facebook is only the shallowest of ponds. You can dip your toes in it, that's all. If what you want in the way of friendship or knowledge or communication is deeper and stronger and truer, Facebook isn't that. It's like Headline News. You have to go beyond it for the rest of the story.