Friends, Memory Lane, & Public vs. Private

My experience with Facebook is starting to get interesting. As it seems to be gaining popularity, more and more people from my past seem to be joining. It’s interesting because initially it was really only my contacts through YULblog or Flickr. People who are more in touch with the internet. But now it seems that the rest of the world is slowly making their way onto it.

They break down into roughly these groups: family, colleagues from the work world, classmates from college, classmates from high school, classmates from elementary school, and kids from the neighborhood. One thing that has been kinda weird (even though it shouldn’t) is seeing many of my college and high school friends with kids. You know, people you went out partying with or other mischief. I suppose it’s odd just because with this medium you only see the images of them and not how they are in real life both with and away from the kids.

But, it’s more those last two which make it a bit surreal. People who I only knew as kids are now grown adults. Most of whom I would likely pass on the street without realizing who they are since their appearence has changed so much. And some I’m having trouble just remembering who they are to start with since it has been so long. It’s even more difficult for the girls since in addition to changing in appearance, many of their last names have changed. I kinda almost wish we had a yearbook for elementary school. Actually maybe we did have something and I’ll find it again someday.

Plus it’s stirring up so many memories. My head is actually spinning. Luckily there haven’t been any really bad ones yet and it’s more just remembering my childhood.

Another aspect of the new influx of FB people is that it has increased the number of people adding status updates and all those other amusing widgets. Not that long ago I gave up with the status updates on FB and opted for Twitter since I felt that status updates are really just for friends and not every aquaintance I’ve had since the beginning of time. But now connecting up with many of these people again, I’m debating whether occasional FB status updates may be worth it since it would be with an audience who are not necessarily internet superusers.

And it again brings up the question (in my mind) of what’s suitable for public consumption. Of course I have no problem with sharing observations as I have on this blog since the start. It’s pretty much the same with opinion. Over the years of blogging (feels weird to say “years of blogging”), I’ve worked out where I want the line to be drawn about what’s public (blog), what’s friends-only (Twitter) and what’s nobody but me. But it seems I still need to work out this status update thing. I’ve retreated them to friends only, but now I’m interested in “sharing” that part with the Facebook crowd again. I’m really interested in reconnecting with many of these people to see what it brings. But the question is where is the status update line drawn for that acquaintance level of public/private? And am I really just making way too much of a deal about all of this?

Lastly about the public/private issue, looking back it seems that ironically enough the time that I started blogging was the time when I became more private about my personnal life than I would have been if I started even a couple years earlier. Possibly due to the life change of becoming a parent. But lately I find myself to become almost paranoid about personal information. Like giving out very basic stuff like address and phone number. I’ve caught myself a few times being hesitant about releasing those for perfectly legitimate reasons and it kinda shocked me. I’m not sure if it’s being a protective parent, fear of credit fraud, some odd lingering fear of what might be lurking out there in the internet, or some combination of these. But I would have to say that I’ll need to get over these fears. Maybe those FB status updates wouldn’t be all that bad.

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~ by Frank on January 8, 2009.

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