Somebody’s Face in a Book

I had been deliberately avoiding Facebook (Your Face in a Book Dot Com, as Kermit calls it)….

But Kermit, who has been collecting people he used to know, IIRC in part to have some sort of jumbo-tron party sometime in the next 2 years (?), told me that Marsha, one of my high school valedictorians, fellow Academic Decathlete, is a web designer. Working in higher ed. (I’m almost surprised we hadn’t crossed paths somewhere already.) And that was the thing that kicked me over into signing up.

I have a MySpace account, mostly for professional reasons (back when I was at Pierce), but I only ever ran into one or two people from my past, and I don’t ever log in.

Facebook, OTOH, is chock-full of people I haven’t seen in a long long time. Which is kinda cool, on one level, but also a little disorientating.

Back in college & slightly thereafter, we used to describe the intersections of various social groups as “when worlds collide.” Actually, my relationship with C turns out to be one of those moments: I met him at the children’s museum, where I’d worked with one of his best friends for a couple of years. But as it turns out, one of his high school buddies is a guy I knew briefly when I had a…fling (?) with one of that guy’s friends. (It’s a long story.) Said HS buddy even “warned” C about me, not that that changed anything…and I’d even already told C that particular wacky story, IIRC.

I’ve rarely been good at handling those moments. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but I get into being one way with one set of people, and a slightly different way with another set of people, and so on. When the Venn diagrams interset, I don’t know how/who to be.

So in Facebook, I’m “friends” with a couple of people from work, some of my web-friends, people I knew in high school and college (not always very well), some very good friends from my past, my ex-roommate, my ex-boyfriend, a couple of cousins, etc., etc. It makes for not know which “voice” to use, or what bits to “disclose” (it’s not that I have tons of secrets, there’s just some things I’m more private about), because it’s all pretty much right there in these weird mixed friend groups.

About that…friend? Really? Ugh. The guy my sister had a crush on in junior high? Not a friend. My co-workers? Not friends. High school acquaintences? Not friends. (As lovely as all those people may be.) I’m all for being in contact with all these fragments of my life — it’s like the reunion that never ends! — but “friend” not so much. (I think LinkedIn does this pretty well, honestly.)

I feel like I’ve kinda got this down with the other “social media” stuff that I do, although I veer back & forth about who to be with Twitter, so I’ve just set up Facebook so that (a) anybody can see it (if you knew me back when & are curious, you can look w/out making a connection) and (b) it imports all the stuff from other things that I’m up to. (With the exception of Twitter. I don’t know why; something about that just doesn’t feel right.) And then I can just keep being this particular Elaine and using this particular voice. Such as it is.

3 Replies to “Somebody’s Face in a Book”

  1. I remember teaching myself, in some subconscious way, how to coexist within multiple cliques in school, and I thought it was pretty easy because there was always a place where I could fit within each one. If there had been less social overlap between the groups I chose to infiltrate, it would have either been more difficult (or impossible), or maybe I’d have become a multiple-personality case or a con artist or some other kind of misanthrope.

    There is a lot of potential for schism if you’re already trying to be something specific for each party you crash. On a personal level, I think that the best thing you can do for yourself is try to unite all the pieces of yourself under one banner so that you’re always You in any situation.

    I could be embarrassed about a thing or two that have leaked from one group to another via Facebook (and I was!), but I also recognize that such things are bound to happen when you live as colorful a life as I have, and that’s what I signed up for anyway so why worry?

  2. Yeah, for me it’s never a matter of trying exactly so much as semi-consciously choosing aspects of myself that I think will be most…appropriate? palatable? for my surroundings.

    the best thing you can do for yourself is try to unite all the pieces of yourself under one banner

    I’ve always been with that in theory, and yet I keep sabotaging myself. Times in my life where I was like that are the ones that I remember most fondly, I think.

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