Just to be clear, this is not The Deep and Meaningful One, I'll give you a heads up on that. No, this is The One About Facebook. Because it's a topic which invariably needs tackling in every dedicated web slave's life at some point or another.
So facebook. It starts off innocently enough, you hook up with some buddies, you insult each other playfully on your walls, you post some fun/nostalgic/embarrassing photos.
Then 'oh ja, remember her' sends you a friend request and you think it'll be fun to see what she's up to, so you accept it. And her brother's, when that invariably then comes through.
Then the whack one from Varsity who you always thought was way cool sends you a request and your early-20's slightly insecure ego proves to still be lurking in the back of your psyche and you accept and feel a little smug that you've clearly made the grade. Finally.
Then your long lost drinking pal contacts you from New Zealand where she's now a divorced mom of 3 and you obviously accept her although you've zilch in common now but for old time's sake right? Then her room-mate who you didn't really know but you spent a couple of drunken evenings together so what the hell... and you add her too.
And then you get that request from someone who you absolutely most definitely have no fucking clue who they are so you call up your buddy from high school (one of only 3 that you still have contact with, on facebook or otherwise) and it turns out she a) remembers him, b) reminds you about That Night and the fact that omg you should so remember him too and - horror of horrors - c) she's just accepted his friend request and now you'll look like a superior tart if you don't but you really don't feel like it, but, but, but.... and so the rot starts...
Next thing it's ex-boyfriends, ex-colleagues, and my personal worst, the entire rest of your high school class, all sending you messages and wanting to be friends, and by now the little contextual relevance you may have had has so fallen by the wayside and you just actually really don't want them in your life again. And the next thing you know you're angsting about 'how it will look' if you ignore so-and-so, and working out that refusing 'halitosis-from-highschool' will mean you can never again post on the wall of 'kinda cool from chemistry' in case halitosis sees it and remembers that you exist but didn't accept their friend request and yada yada yada....
And for a minute there you're tempted to pack the whole thing in, delete your profile and get the fuck out of Dodge.
But doggone you can't. 'Cos you're hooked. Because if you weren't there you'd feel like you were missing out. And because for every unwelcome friendship advance there's someone that you're loving being back in contact with, someone who you last spoke to when you were 11 but you totally got each other then and wow, you still do now. Someone whose kids you're watching grow up through their photos, whose wedding you managed to attend, albeit digitally, someone who reminds you of the person you once were, or the good times you once had, someone who makes you laugh each and every time you log on.
And you do, cheesy as it may sound, feel like you're in a community of sorts, a social environment which is always there, always available (when you have bandwidth that is). This was never more precious to me then in those first few months of mindfuck colic newborn baby bizarreness. I could crawl to my PC at 2 am, aching boobs, grainy eyes, surreal sense of time and place, log on and find a friend, have a laugh, have a moan, and feel like I was still part of The World.
So I'm not packing it in. Weighing up the pros and cons there's too many reasons not to. But what I am doing is becoming far more ruthless. Tonight I culled my friend list, I tossed the dead wood, I swept out the cobwebby corners. And I ceremoniously ignored the 4 pending friend requests I had from people who have no relevance to me. Because facebook is a new social order and the old rules need not apply. I would say hello to those 4 in the street 'cos I'm a well brought up gal, but I'm not going to befriend them out of a sense of social obligation.
This is crackbook y'all, it's a whole new world, and I don't have to be Ms Nice Person here.