Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Quest for Facebook Friends

Sometime before we left for Australia, I got a notice that my Livejournal friend Tracey had added me as a Facebook friend.

Now I was one of the many people who signed up for Facebook and then completely forgot about it.

We become this lone name floating in the Facebook world.  But then someone finds us, and we get lured in. 

Tracey is Australian and at the time was the only Australian person I knew.  I looked on her Facebook profile and she had like a million-gazillion friends.

Facebook is not advertised as a place to meet new friends, but instead as a place to keep up with/get back in touch with people you actually know in real life.   Or I guess...people you met on Livejournal.

I tried finding people I knew and had no luck.  Granted I've not been the most popular person with real-life people through out my life. I don't have this rich social life with tons of friends.  But I did KNOW people. I've moved multiple times in my childhood and went to several different schools.  I had so many names to plug in to Facebook search. I kept coming up empty.

My other Livejournal friend Jamie joined Facebook so then I had two Facebook friends.  Tracey and Jamie.  I felt a bit pathetic....especially compared to Tracey's massive list of friends.

Jamie and I talked about how we were both having trouble finding friends.  I mean not that I need to be super popular, but Facebook is just not that fun when you have two friends on your list.

I came up with a theory that Facebook must be more popular in Australia. I joked with Jamie that I needed to find friends in Australia--just so I could add them as a Facebook friend.

A few days after we got to Australia, I met this fellow mom in the Darling Harbor playground.  She was nice and we had a really lovely chat.   I thought we clicked well, but I'm horrible at going beyond talking with people.   My big sister is good at that.  She chats with someone at a Japanese restaurant and then she's writing down their phone number.

A couple of days later, we were at the Moore Park farmers market.  This was miles away from the Darling Harbor playground.   And guess who I see.   The mom from the Darling Harbour park.   I decided this "coincidence" was fate kicking me in the ass.   I found courage and asked for her phone number.  Michelle and I became friends.   We got together for some playdates.  We bonded.   All along, I was thinking....when can I ask her if she has a Facebook account?  I was just trying to build up the nerve.

I finally did when we all went out to dinner together.  I tried to be as casual as possible and not pant frantically, Are you on Facebook?  Are you on Facebook?

Michelle WAS on Facebook and she added me as a friend. I now had three Facebook friends.

Later, I learned that people do meet people through Facebook. Total strangers started adding me as their friend.   And that's not odd or uncomfortable to me.  I love meeting new friends.  The only strange thing was when people who just added me a few days before would then inform me that I was going to be listed as one of their top friends.   I'm thinking....I know I'm incredibly great, but it usually takes at least two weeks to figure that out.  

I guess relationships move fast in Facebook land.

I personally became obsessed with Facebook.  It was my life. I mean literally. I felt like I lived inside of the damn thing.

I also became a Facebook missionary. I started pressuring everyone I know to join. I got all my family onboard and I got some of my old livejournal friends to join.

Within months, I had 122 people on my friend's list. It was out of control.I was out of control.

Then I quit.

I had a lovely few months with most of those 122 people.  Sadly, I keep in touch with very few of the people I met through Facebook.

But I have kept really great relationships with two or of them seems to be becoming the best friend I've been wishing for all my life.  So, I don't regret joining.


I can't say I regret leaving though either.

One of the Facebook friends I left behind--my Haiku Pet Scully. He's now in Haiku heaven. I miss him dearly.


  1. That's so funny. I still cannot understand why people gave pretend facebook gifts, had pretend facebook pets, and superpoked each other.

    I love that I've reconnected with so many people from schools and camp on there-- though I haven't met any new friends through it.

    I still continue to be baffled by all of those "applications", I'm glad I never got into any of that-- it's seems to be a bottomless pit.

    But, I do miss having you on there.

  2. Laura,

    One day you will understand the joy of pretend Facebook pets. After I brainwash you.

    There ARE way too many applications.

    It's annoying because a lot of them are so much alike.

  3. Ah, yes, I got on Facebook so I could keep up with you, then you left, and in the meantime, I became obsessed with all the little games and gifts and pets. One day I glanced at the clock and realized I had spent something like...oh, five hours there. Without stopping. So I deleted most of my applications and set up blocks and I rarely go on there anymore.

    I also pretty much quit LiveJournal. I haven't even been reading. I'm thinking about starting another blog somewhere else where I can just jot down things I'm thinking or want to remember, and not telling most of the LJ people. I don't like the pressure of obligatory reciprocal reading and commenting. I really liked your idea of closing all comments for awhile. Maybe I'll just do that.

  4. Jill,

    Yeah. Facebook can be very addictive. Some of the stuff is fun, but it can get overwhelming. Before I left, I set up a lot of blocks. That helped. Or maybe not. It kind of seems for every thing you block, ten new applications are created.

    Having no comments on livejournal helped for awhile. I know a few people got annoyed about it, but it was nice for me.

    I also have a private journal there and that's VERY helpful. I love having that.

    I like Blogger because there isn't that I'll friend you if you friend me. And I also don't get that feeling that I'm obligated to read and comment on every entry. I read what I want to read.

  5. Well my dear wonderful friend I think i have only been on facebook once or twice since you left and this is someone who was like you on it everyday. I know now that it was you that kept me there. I was drawn to you because you are this amazing person and dont you ever forget that I love you.

  6. Suzanne,

    You are incredibly sweet.

    I love you too.

    And see now we're going to be reinforcing my parent's idea that I'm a lesbian ; )

    I know you just got married and all, but are you SURE you need to stay with your husband????

  7. I've never been on Facebook, just doesn't appeal to me.
    Some cafes in Melbourne have banned customers from going on Facebook whilst eating/drinking coffee, coz they linger longer without buying, or something lol.

  8. Jayne,

    Good on you for avoiding it!

    It can be fun for awhile, but then it gets old...eventually.

    Way too time-consuming. I think the blog thing is a healthier thing to get into.

  9. Yeah it is a bit of a wank to be getting all these "friend", some of whom are probably who they say they are, but a lot of whom I can guarantee, if we met them in real life, we would say within 5 minutes "I really do not like you"

  10. It's funny about perceptions. I never even thought anyone would really give me a thought or my facebook friends. The other week though I did look at my list and did feel blessed for having such a rich friendship base: facebook is really filled with snippets of my life:primary school, high school, (hmmm no uni though), old friends, online friends, current friends and family. For a long while it did nothing for me as it was my friends list consisted of lj friends and my online mother's group: all people I already had a relationship with 'elsewhere' if that makes any sense. And then a few other people from my past (or present) appeared and it was/is great. I don't really get into the applications at all (I loved interacting with you and my mum in this way though)..but love the networking....I think mainly because (as you know of naughty me) I can get very very lazy when it comes to emailing and facebook is quick and easy.

    I'm rambling now :-) But yes, that is what Facebook means to me. I was/am so sad that you are no longer there but I do understand. And I love this blog. Love to read it and love that you post regularly and about a wide variety of topics. It's different than your lj..I like this side of you :-)


  11. Tracey,

    I think originally that's what I wanted Facebook to be. I've lost touch with so many people. There's a lot of people I'd love to get back in touch with. But I couldn't find any of them on Facebook.

    It was kind of frustruating. Then I pretty much gave up and just met new people.

    I did plug in old names every few weeks or so.

    Even with my high school class, they had a group in the group thing, but there was hardly anyone. Maybe 40 people? And most of the people I didn't even remember.

    I had a handful of real-life people--some cousins, aunts, uncles, immediate family, two people I knew from high school, etc. But they hardly even went on Facebook. So they were kind of just names on my list.

  12. Tex,

    I think a lot of people who added me as a friend on Facebook just wanted my name and face on their list--and they wanted someone to exchange application gifts with them.

    I would reach out and try to be friends with them--A lot of them did respond back and we became friends (although several of those friendships died when I left Facebook). But other people really did not seem to want anything to do with me outside of gift exchanging.

  13. I understand the need for Facebook. I've been found and I found others. All of the people in my account are old friends, acquaintances, and family.

    I will admit all the little add-ons can become annoying. In the beginning I would add them. Now I ignore and delete.

    On a positive note,my family attended a picnic (I would call it a psuedo class reunion). It was great seeing people and sharing our lives.

  14. Jennifer,

    Why does it seem everyone can find people except me??????

    What is the deal???

    Maybe I should start being paranoid and believing that everyone I know put my name in the "Block people" thing.

    Even before Facebook....I've been involved in multiple online communities. I always think well, maybe I'll find someone I used to know in real life.