Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Face to Face

Facebook. It scares me. I joined somewhat absent-mindedly today cos someone sent me a message. Next thing I know I am in contact with everyone I have ever met. OK, I accidentally emailed everyone on the global address list, including ex-Ministers of the Crown, a woman I did work experience with 8 years ago in the flower of my youth, and several ex-boyfriends who are very welcome NEVER to get in touch again. So it's not surprising that they were a wide and diverse bunch.

But the truly amazing thing about this Facebook is its reach. Just for the hell of it I typed in random people's names, people from all over the world. The next thing I knew, there we were, face to face...A guy I worked with in China, a girl I last saw on the Paris metro 5 years ago. Have now wasted much of my working afternoon - following a long lunch by the river - communicating with what were, til today, the ghosts of Christmas past.

I can't decide whether I am excited or terrified by this technology. In a way, the world will never be the same again. The mystery of sending letters, to have them returned to sender, googling someone - and finding all kind of possibilities to guess at. Did the shy schoolboy you're trying to find end up an artist? A conman? The guy who got in the news for setting fire to his own hair? It's a matter of psychology, and finding the right language domain as much as anything else.

But facebook - it's all there just in front of you.

A word of warning though. My officemate tried to add his fiancee - next thing you know 600 Yolanda's pop-up asking him to add them! Shows that it's worth having a good photo to boot...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You were scared by signing up for Facebook?! Not nearly as scared as when I got your invite for me to 'join you on Facebook' (or whatever alarmingly worded phrase they use)!! I have chosen to ignore it (Facebook, not the thought behind it - for which I am grateful. Honestly)...I receive a lot of these invites and start to worry that some kind of hierarchy is forming....
I do worry about this apparently incessant need to use technology for contact. Don't get me wrong, email/internet is a godsend for keeping in touch. Keep the same email address for years and there's no need to tell people that you're moved, new numbers etc...all sorted! But individual blogs/sharing sites to tell people the minutiae of your life...surely this is an extension of a celebrity culture valuing presence in the public domain over true cultural value? Although who am I to judge cultural value...if beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Can just one thought trigger a debate, or should only structured and culturally valid debates be permitted to trigger further debates? Just where do you draw the boundaries in an era of mass culture and mass outpouring of opinion? [That's my enigmatic ending! Hope all's well with you ma biche, Lx]

Consider This said...

Its true, there does seem to be a profusion of ways in which to share the banalities of our existences. But look at it another way. Many people I know say that their friends, support structures and so on exist PRIMARILY over the internet because people are so mobile (and good friends so rare) that you have no choice but to communicate electronically. I guess the advantage of blogs, facebook etc is that you can partake in someones existence vicariously. It gives you a window onto their lives in much the same way as family photographs...as for this blog. I dont know. IT was never intended to be particularly personal - hence anonymous. More motivated by the fact that I mostly fail to remember my more memorable encounters/ideas. And I wanted an archive for written material, as well as an excuse to write regularly. So thats it - work in progress. You wont find me blabbering on about my love life in minute detail however. BTW L - I'm stuck. Who are you? First guesses, Liz or Lisa...

Anonymous said...

Tu y es avec ta deuxième choix ! I have to say I didn't intend to make that sound like an attack on your choice to write a blog, which truly was not the intention. I guess I'm being very snobbish in that I tend to draw a distinction between blogs such as yours providing an interesting perspective on various affairs, as opposed to "the boring, adoring and the heart's outpouring"...which, call me old-fashioned, is good to keep for friends!! But keep up the good work....I really enjoy reading your prose, it flows so nicely! Hope les choses passent bien au Bruxelles et j'espère te voir bientôt. Bises.

Pussilla says... said...

Facebook. Hmmm. In theory its a great idea and method of getting in touch with people you've lost contact with over the years. HOWEVER, there is a reason, at least for me, why I haven't been in contact with every single soul that I've crossed paths with over the years.

Sløseri av tid!

Love ya girl! Oh how was the marathon?

Tx

Consider This said...

as I am discovering, Pusilla dear...but then life is all about balancing the costs and benefits. And it was definitely worth it to meet up with an American friend that I hadnt seen for years and at whose place I resided Friday night after being stranded in London!!