Monday, July 28, 2008

I've fallen into the Facebook blackhole

Over the past couple of years people I've met have posed the simple question, "Are you on facebook?" and I've responded, "no".

Maybe my resistance to sites like facebook and myspace seems rather odd for someone who sends mass emails full of personal thoughts and has recently started a blog. I like to console myself with the fact that my name isn't on my blog and that I know exactly where the emails are being sent. I guess it's my own somewhat illogical balance of personal and anonymous in a "google and you shall find" kind of world. Also, as a teacher, I know that in my small community I'm a public figure. Many kids would come back to school and tell me where they spotted me or other teachers. My first year teaching, I went to High Holiday Services at a Synagogue near the school and the next day at work umpteen students (who were also Jewish) were just so excited to know that I was too. After that when I gave feedback questioners to the students, I got some comments such as 'I like my teacher because she's Jewish.' I just wasn't ready for the melding of what I considered personal (religion) with my professional life.

My aversion to social networking sites increased when, during my third year teaching in the US, it was announced that a teacher in the district had been fired due to the contents of her myspace page. She was a first year teacher fresh out of college and her myspace page was what I imagine many college myspace pages to be- silly jokes, pictures taken in a drunken state, references to drugs and alcohol that just seem so cool when your 20- but some of her students and their parents found that page and she was out of a job. With a nameless blog that student don't know of and a mass email, I've felt pretty safe in my oneline endeavors.

However, as I travel around and meet people and have some really awesome conversations with them, I keep on getting bombarded with the unassuming, let's keep up with each other question, "Do you have facebook?"

And as of the last 5 days the answer has been "yes". I've finally submitted to this aspect of pop-culture, even though I am still quite weary of it. And in those past 5 days my in-box has been inundated with friend-requests and wall-writing notifications- the number of people with whom I had lost contact that I've heard from since Facebook is incredible- people from my master's program, summer camp, high school, Birthright trip, college, etc.

So, Facebook is an amazing tool and I'm now one of it's many members- albeit maybe a more dubious one.

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