I love Facebook ! This piece of information shouldn’t come as news to anyone who knows me or knows of me and if you’re my Facebook friend, you probably have had your news-feed getting spammed from my wall. But sometimes you love it, and that I’m optimistically sure about. So for those moments, when you are entertained by my wall, I love Facebook.
This year, rather the first quarter of this year has been spectacularly joyous in surprising ways routed through Facebook. Almost every week I’ve found myself accepting a ‘friend request’ from an old school buddy. It is quite amusing to notice the high that I experience in sending messages to old classmates, some of whom I haven’t seen in twenty years, which would make me younger than ten on the last occasion we were together. What fun it is then when my girlfriends remember almost every prank we played and escaped punishment from because I was the goody-two shoes and the teacher’s favorite. It’s really funny that the ones with the kids were the big pranksters who traded in early for a quieter domestic bliss. But most of my friends are in the peri-wedding age and space (peri = before, during, after an event, just showing off some medical jargon here), some of them already married, some in the process, and so we have reconnected so well over the trials and tribulations of organizing wedding ceremonies and then adjusting to a new way of life.
Infact one of the activities I look forward to every morning is catching up with two of my closest school buddies on a long Facebook message thread that started at the end of my wedding celebrations, and is carrying along through the ongoing preparations of one friend’s wedding and then will definitely carry through the just-announced-impending-wedding celebrations of the third friend later this year. Given that these two were the forces behind my wedding shopping and organization, we go over what happened at my wedding and what we learn from all the gaffes, learn of the newly committed gaffes, and learn that there will always be gaffes. I also console myself that I am playing the role of the bride’s friend well, even if in surrogate. Somehow, it just isn’t as much fun by email. On Facebook, we’re also able to keep track of ‘current events’ and pass our comments in public and in private – the only thing that is missing is a hot cup of tea and pakodas to share.
Coming back to the mirth of other feathers that flew my way, of course, there are times when I am in a dilemma – of accepting a request when I recognize the face, but realize that I just got to know this ‘friend’s’ name. Or worse, when I’d run helter-skelter in the opposite direction to avoid her in school or wherever we met, and now, I have been invited to invite myself to be stalked ! Oh yes, Facebook customization has worked well for me, but it required some effort. Some of these acquaintances happen to be peers, who for some inexplicable reason, sent cold hostile vibes my way leaving me piqued and irritated and weirdly-wanting-to-hide-my-face-in-a-dark-veil. I’ve even, on a rare occasion, stood in front of the mirror and wondered if I was ugly and fat – big issues for a young girl learning to maneuver the awkwardness of teenage; makes me to stop to wonder about kids that really (syn. actually, truly, in reality, evidence admissible in court) got bullied by their peers.
That my mother happened to be a school teacher and I was often the irritating enthusiastic kid in school (and both these were reasons enough to make me popular among other school teachers) were the only seemingly rational explanations. It is indeed nice then that today I can enjoy a happy conversation with them and comment on their status messages and photographs with ease and without any fear of ridicule. In fact, I realize that I probably intimidated several others unintentionally which makes me truly exclaim at how successful we must be that we escaped teenage relatively unscathed, and came away wiser.
The third class of old-acquaintance-popping on Facebook is occupied by not-so-much-an-acquaintance but more of the oh-i-recognize-this-face-and-i-am-recognized-by-this-face variety. Typically those who traveled in the same school bus but alighted at a different stop, or those several years older and think of me as a kid, or those several years younger whom I deemed too fattu to acknowledge.It is actually weird then that I get excited to catch up with them on facebook – to catch-up means to see their recent photographs of their travels and life in different part of the world and mostly of their kids. I have no clue why I am delighted to see pictures of mere acquaintances’ kids; no maternal instinct playing here please! Usually I find them through a mutual friend and very greedily hoping that they haven’t closed photograph access to strangers 😀
Really, that’s all I care about – see the photographs and I’m done with them. Sometimes I’ll let my mom know about them and she loves to hear about her school students. It’s an easy class to deal with – we don’t show any real interest in each other, just enough to cry aloud, ‘i-still-recognize-your-face-from-the-last-bus-ride-we-shared-two-decades-ago’. If I get a friend request, I don’t feel rude about ignoring it and we politely see through each other on other mutual friends’ walls. Hmm, maybe we’re talking about facebook etiquette here, are we?
Oh, there is even a fourth cadre – friends-of-friends-who-I-became-friends-with-on-Facebook-and-became-good-friends-with-via/through/because of-Facebook. More feathers in my social cap – that’s social networking at its best !
As I might have done, can Facebook be used interchangeably as a proper noun, common noun, verb, and adjective?