Some people on Facebook have a ridiculous number of friends. Thousands. My friends list has been around 850 for a majority of 2009. I don’t see it as any sort of popularity contest, nor do I feel the need to collect random people’s friendship approval. Most of the people I’m friends with are either people I know, knew, or am getting to know. Sure, there are a handful of really random people who I am not always sure of who they are, but for the most part they are people whose status updates or pictures I’d feel comfortable commenting on.
All day long I’ve been thinking about this acquaintence I have. We have a few mutual friends, and I know I will be running into this person within the next few years. Today I went to leave them a wall comment expressing how they’ve been in my head, but when I searched for them I discovered.. that we are no longer friends. They unfriended me.
My heart dropped a little bit. I’ve been rather faithful in every so often dropping in on them or leaving them comments or even engaging in conversation with them, and their unfriending me has kind of hurt my feelings.
Almost instinctively, I visited the profile of a random internet Facebook friend I have, whom I came across on flickr. I sent this friend a message, and realized that my message would probably not be responded to.
So I began to think of the many ways Facebook takes small stabs at my ego – sometimes people like my status, and other times nobody even notices it. I can see when people write on someone else’s wall but not mine. I also love the event feature where you can see what kinds of people want to have nothing to do with you, and who can’t decide if they do or not. The worst is seeing the boy you like on Facebook chat, and then watching them sign off moments after you’ve said “hello” to them.
But then I realized that this is not something that is limited to Facebook; these kinds of small punches are thrown at us all around the internet. Here on wordpress, I frequently like to look at how many times my blogs are viewed. I see the things people search for to stumble across my blog, and my blog views go up while my comments stay about the same.
Twitter? Yeah, today I decided it sucks. Even with a couple hundred followers, my twitter updates only result in my followers decreasing.. rarely do I get @replies.
Even just plain e-mail. Remember the days of passing people notes or spending hours sneaking your cordless phone into your room to talk to your friends at all hours of the night? I miss that.
I miss real life conflict. I miss the joy in finding out the phone number of the boy I liked. I miss memorizing people’s numbers. I miss folding my notes in cool ways and writing “2: FROM:” on the front.
But right now I especially miss the ignorance of life away from the internet. If someone “unfriended” me in 7th grade, I would have never realized it. What would that have meant, any way? That my acquaintance would be continuing to not call me or hang out with me? Nothing in my life would have changed because I would not have been aware of it.
Tonight I realized that the internet makes me feel awful about myself.. and yet for some reason I find myself drawn to it. An abusive relationship, for sure. I’m looking forward to the summer, when I will be at camp investing in real, face-to-face relationships. I’m considering giving up the internet for social networking for the summer.. even e-mail. I gave up Facebook for Lent and am so frustrated that I’ve already slipped back into codependency.
Tonight I will have dreams about my lost acquaintance and wonder what in the world is so awful about me that my blog comments never increase, my twitter followers decrease, and my acquaintances delete me from their Facebook friends lists.
Goodnight, internet. You’re sleeping on the couch tonight.