The Book of Face, for which I have my reasons in using (mostly in keeping my parents satisfied that I'm alive and keeping in touch with my brothers about my nephews -- our level of familial intimacy suits the Book), has this section for "People You Might Know." The list is a creepy reminder that the Book likes to crawl through your information and that it's keeping track of who knows who, much like some sort of HUAC or J. Edgar Hoover file on communists in the State Department.
Still, there is something almost optimistic about the list, as if you would WANT to be "friends" with people who are "friends" with your "friends," and you could all "like" each other's photos and trade mass-produced, illiterate quips and electronically group-hug one another into a frenzy.
Unfortunately, I know some of the people's faces who pop up in that section. That is, I know them in real life -- or did. So, yeah, X is a person I DO know, and for that reason I have no intention of being their "friend," on the Book of Face or anywhere else. I can't get rid of their faces, either. There they are, evil little devils popping up on the screen, as if my internet is possessed. Perhaps the Book of Face is, unto itself, a possession of my computer, invited in by the incantation of opening an account?
I also lose just a tiny, Book of Face bit of respect for my actual friends who are "friends" with these characters. They KNOW how nasty and vicious at least one of these people are. Indeed, I think that person is on the Book just to gather information to use against someone at some time (a bit like J. Edgar Hoover, really). Why would they open up their posting lives to them -- or even any part of their lives, including "hello"? Of course, I'm not being just to my actual friends because "friends" is often a diplomatic or networking sort of relationship rather than a real one.
Still, I wonder what people who study these sorts of things find about the ways people use the Book, the reasons they choose to interact or display information on the Book. I also wonder how much thought most people put into this online interaction. What are the nuances of "like" -- or lack thereof -- in an environment that has "like" as the only option to demonstrate solidarity or agreement or sympathy or horror or any other range of response? How has the concept of friendship altered? I have friends and I have Book "friends" and sometimes the two overlap -- those are the people I actually like, rather than "like."
I can't say that I actually enjoy being on the Book. Again, I mostly post trip pictures or speaking engagements to keep people satisfied that I'm living a more fabulous life than I actually am, and I "like" people's accomplishments and their pictures of dogs and babies. Occasionally, my Tex-Ass friends and I engage in some exasperation about the regressive state of the state. Otherwise, it is a venue in which to be supremely polite.
Many people don't know how to be polite, have you noticed? Not that I'm an prime example myself. Social phobia and an upbringing in which lack-of-manners was a rebellion against an earlier generation and all. Still, I begin to consider reading Emily Post, and I feel like my grandmother more and more as time goes on. I have a big, heavy purse filled with about anything you could need for the day. My casual dress tends toward a dowdy mix of slightly out-dated fashion and elements of the early 1960s (minus the yards of polyester). I inflict my vacation photos on everyone around me; and I'm prissy as hell about people's manners in a way that I never was before.
Oh heavens! Maybe I'm the one being possessed?