Halt! Who Goes There?

People are following me.

And I let them.

In fact, maybe I want them too.  That’s sort of why I’m writing this – to figure out my motivations.  Because I’ve had conversations with someone about this and the question of motivation always comes up.  Frankly, I think he’s a little obsessive, but what do I really know?

I’m not very good at assessing motives, at least at first.  My own, I mean.  Facebook was originally a way for me to spy on my daughter.  I confess, I didn’t really understand how the whole thing worked when I opened my account a few years ago, but I figured I would be able to see something of her profile.  I am her mother after all.

I have since learned the ugly truth of the matter, which is that the only way to see anything about a person, besides who they hang out with, is to let them be your friend.

I am running into similar issues now with Twitter.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Twitter.  I might love it a bit *too* much, just like I do every other shiny new technological toy that comes out.  The thing is, there is a line between building a useful community and farming one’s self out for page views.

In fact, I just started being followed by a fellow on Twitter whose profile said he was out to demonstrate how having a large community is actually less beneficial than a small one.  I sent him a Tweet saying I sort of agree with him, so I’m sure he’ll understand if I don’t follow back.  For some reason, he dropped me shortly thereafter.

I wasn’t trying to be rude.  I was actually trying to be funny, and I might have clicked on that follow button anyway, if I liked his response to my tweet.  Oh well.

As for Facebook, I had certain unwritten, unclarified rules about whom from my past I could comfortably add as a friend.  I mean, I need to be able to answer all those quizzes and not get called out for, er, stretching the truth, right?  And I’m finding that some of those on the not-so-comfortable  list are finding me.

And maybe I was stretching the truth right there, too.  Maybe I just feel ashamed for even wanting people to see that I am really writing now, but that I’m still me.  That I haven’t really made much progress in the last twenty years.  That maybe, I’m just now figuring out what the problems actually are.

What I like about the blogging community is just that – the community.  Most people I’ve come across in this world of moms and writers and damn funny women are so helpful.  I can tweet them a question, and I get a really thoughtful response.  But I also feel a sense of – who am I to be asking a question of this person that I don’t even know?  And I also want to guard my time.  I am all too aware of how easy it is to get sucked away by the internet black hole.  And it’s not like I’m flush in excess time, you know?

For now, I will let those questionable Facebook friend requests linger on my home page.  I might end up just adding everyone, since I already have quite the unweildy lot.  But please don’t be offended if I keep my community just the tiniest bit gated.

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5 Responses to “Halt! Who Goes There?”

  1. Just my opinion… you are who you are, if you feel like you have to apologize for that then are they really a friend anyway… anyone who knows you loves you and appreciates you for who you are. I do not accept everyone to facebook either and I have basically no information on my page at all. I look forward to reading your blog, if you were not who you are it would not be so funny and so you- which is why I like it!

  2. Love it! I’ve never been to a class reunion because I feel like I’m a different person than I was in school (and also about 30 pounds heavier, but never mind.) Now Facebook is letting them find me, but fortunately, I can make my self-photos look better with Photoshop, and it’s all pretty superficial in content – so it’s ok.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    First, thanks for being so thoughtful about things. It’s not a self-indulgence, being thoughtful. It’s a keen way to get through the world. I do find, though, being thoughtful myself, that it’s really easy to completely over think the simplest of things. I can make a slip knot difficult, both in the making and undoing. Yes I Can! If I don’t think about it, though, and just do it, it’s often much more simple than I thought it would be.
    About Facebook. Meh. It’s Facebook. You could have 300 friends or 20 and I bet 90% of them aren’t paying any attention to you at all. That’s not a dig. It’s true of everyone. It’s certainly true of me. Out of my 100-odd “friends”, I maybe regularly communicate with about 15-20 of them via Facebook. The rest, I guess, are just ephemera.
    Kind of like high school.
    And speaking of high school, the funniest thing I find about Facebook is that the people I expected to and was excited to be reunited with, I very rarely communicate with all. And not because their lives are busy and fabulous and mine’s in the bin, either. I mean, my Maid of Honor/best friend from college is on that thing and other than randomly throwing a cake at me, we don’t communicate….at all. But then, there are people I totally didn’t appreciate when I was a kid (and who probably didn’t appreciate me, either) who I’ve become pretty close to – as close as one can be in binary code.
    Also, I think that being a mother – a real, thinking, compassionate parent – is such an internal and closed process. It’s not like getting promoted or getting a Master’s Degree or running a marathon. Although it’s done in public, it’s a very private affair. No one mothers like I do. No one fathers like David does. It’s particular and unique. Therefore, it is largely unrecognized in our culture because it’s not quantifiable, mass-producable (sp?), or marketable. For those of us who got the jump on our peers in the parenting game (and you more than me), I think we often look stalled out, when really, we’re burning. But unless you know the fire you see, it looks like inactivity, immoblity.
    My friend posted a thing about parenting on Facebook yesterday, a snarky answer to the question, “What do Mother’s Do All Day?” And upon reflection, yesterday, it’s hard for me to say exactly what I did. I did a lot of things that don’t seem to amount to much. I mothered. That’s what I did. All day. All night. There you go. And this is not a manifesto to justify why it’s okay that I didn’t get jack-shit accomplished yesterday. No, the laundry didn’t get put away, but some burned fingers were kissed. And no, I didn’t make an elaborate dinner, but diapers were changed, washed and folded and placed back in the cabinet. The dining room table still has light sabers and plastic cups on it from the other night. This is true. But the baby spent a good 30 minutes at the piano and I wrote something so as not to lose my mind.
    About writing…just do what you love whether you feel good or not. No one with any merit ever feels supremely confident. If they did, they’d have a personality disorder be Hitler. Don’t try to be Hitler, Jennifer. Trust me.

  4. Twitter is a lot of things to me, but one of the best things about it is having the opportunity to chat a bit with people whose blogs I love. I mean reading their blogs and leaving comments and them reading my blog and leaving comments is great, but it isn’t the same as some good back and forth banter or discussion of an issue.

  5. Friends are the people who do unexpectedely pour hot bowls of soup on your head.
    Troubles are the things that cause you pain that you cannot walk away from.
    Worrying about whether or not you live up to other people’s expectations is like wondering whether or not the bartender at that NYC club you went to liked your shoes when you visited last year.
    You accomplish far more than you think you do and the only thing that really keeps you from from doing more is lack of trying tied in with fear of failure.
    Oh, and that was a pretty cool shuttle launch tonight.

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