Dreaming of Facebook

cover-facebook There’s something unsettling about knowing what old classmates are eating for dinner yet not knowing what they’ve been doing for the last 20 years.  For many of us in our thirties, Facebook reached a tipping point in the last year and we are being deluged by friend requests from old high school and undergrad classmates that we had completely lost touch with.  People in their twenties or younger had the Internet when they were in school so they very likely never lost track of people – I think this is mostly a pre-Internet phenomenon. 

So for us older folk, pockets of our friends are connecting in waves that get bigger as the months go on.  I’m adding at least one old friend a day, sometimes three or four.  At this rate, I just can’t keep up with my Facebook email – I gave up about 70 friends ago.  Every time I look at my Facebook inbox I cringe – there are dozens of messages in there from people I have really missed but I don’t know where to begin.  There’s so much to say, so much to catch up on, so much to respond to (often years of photos, links, blogs, etc).  So I haven’t said anything.

This is causing my brain to be put through some very strange paces.  It’s hot wiring memories – jumping over the normal gates and straight onto the third rail.  I know what these people think of the latest episode of Lost, yet I can’t connect these new bits of flotsam to my former memories.  All of these new data points jumble around in my mind, mixing with the other bits of unprocessed data from my day, and appear in my dreams.  For weeks I’ve dreamt of people I haven’t seen or even thought of in over 20 years.  They are baking brownies, they are skipping stones, they are talking to each other.

I think the only way to stop the dreams is to just start at the top of my inbox and work down.  So if you are my long lost Facebook friend, you’ll be hearing from me soon.  I may even have a dream or two to tell you about.

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2 thoughts on “Dreaming of Facebook

  1. Well put. It’s impossible not to relive old memories when you’re plugged in to the minutiae of the daily lives of friends you haven’t seen for years. I feel oddly connected and understandably voyeuristic when I see relationship updates (going from married to it’s complicated is a dead giveaway), meal planning details, workout aches and pains, vacation highlights (and lowlights), and random ruminations on world events. Next time an old friend breezes through town, we can talk about more than the good old days. I can ask them if that tickle in their throat is gone, or if they’d ever go back to Honduras. And in a world lit by the blue glow of a computer screen, I feel a sense of community I lost a long time ago.

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