04 August 2009

Why Facebook?

I find myself repeatedly trying to articulate to others why I'm finding my first couple of weeks on Facebook so enthralling. I've decided that Facebook's genius is in virtualizing trivial communication--the kind of chat that happens when you see someone every day.

"I dreamed last night that everyone in the world sent me a french fry."

"On my long haul to the Bronx I get a lot of reading done. Now I am reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

"I almost fell down the stairs while looking at my iPhone with my reading glasses on. The dog looked away."

These are approximations of actual posts by friends I rarely see, or haven't seen in 20 years or more (OUCH!), but which make me feel they are still part of my life, even though they are not physically present.

These are folks with whom I'm unable to sustain an email relationship--either they don't write, I don't write, or there's not really enough to say. But if our life circumstances were different (still living in the same city, working in the same office, going to the same classes, not consumed by work, children, or other passions), we'd still be hanging out.

I've also rekindled a couple close friendships via Facebook, but find myself inclined to pursue those outside of Facebook. Email and phone calls are more appropriate for deep conversations and reminiscing. But for a virtual sense of community, virtual water cooler, or virtual corner cafe or bar, Facebook is consummately effective.

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