Facebook as a Sociology Observation, Take One

I joined Facebook a while back, but have only embraced the site in the past couple of months. It's providing a pleasant walk down memory lane, while giving me plenty of food for thought.

I was am a nerd/geek. Back in my middle and high school days, I only had a handful of friends-but they were good friends. How many of you have among your closest friends people that you met when you were 12? (Ed, don't answer this-you trump me by knowing Tim since you were 3!)

Along the education and life path, there were people who I met who made a positive impression on me. I doubt I had as much of an impression on them, because I was the geek/nerd, the brainiac who didn't quite fit in. Those who got to know me beyond that exterior found out that I have a warped sense of humor and that I was a goofball.

Once in college, I hit my stride. These people didn't know me, didn't know the 12 years of teasing and taunting. I got involved in ton of activities on campus and ended up majoring in something that I'd wanted to do in high school, but wasn't really 'in' among that department. The radio staff and the theatre department? They got to know the full on me, the nerd/geek/zany/silly Suzanne. I felt included, something I'd never felt in the previous 12 years of school.

I picked up friends along the way, lost some, too. Perhaps when you start out not having as many friends as most, the losses hurt a little more. Sometimes, it was just a case of me being too involved in work (I did that a lot), the relationship (oh boy, did I do that with the first marriage-A LOT) and moving away. There were tons of people who I wondered 'Whatever happened to?' with a healthy dose of nostalgia for just how cool/nice/fun that person was and probably still is today.

Along came Facebook. Unlike any of the other social networking sites, you use your real name. You enter in the schools you attended, jobs you've had-all in the hopes that a blast from the distant past finds you just as cool as you found them and seeks you out. Maybe even people from the fairly recent past wants to maintain a bond that began at work, scouts, or a neighborhood.

I dipped a toe in to Facebook, nervously. Would I be shunned like I'd been back then? Would those people that I would love to chat with once again with feel the same way?

To my surprise, for the most part, the answer has been yes. There have been a couple of people that I sent requests to that haven't responded. The older and wiser me isn't taking it the way I would have at 16. Interestingly, though, there are people seeking ME out.

The ability to send notes to someone without 'friending' them has been pretty cool, too. It's neat to be able to pop a note to someone and tell them that something they did 25 years ago impacted you in a good way, the music they couldn't wait to play for you is now on the iPod instead of the turntable, the author they suggested is one you still follow.

There is a lot more that I can glean from this experience, that I'll probably muse at another time. Right now, though, I'm just happy that some of those faces of yesterday are once again smiling back at me-from my Friends page on Facebook.

(Gotta say one thing that confuses me. That Friends you may know? It keeps bringing up friends of friends that I've never met!)


Sara said…
I LOVE facebook...can't get enough of it!!
Suzanne said…
Sara, I'm equally in love with it. Getting back in touch with people from my past has been very cool!

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