Monday, December 15, 2008

Naughty or nice?

I am a bit cautious as to what I put online. People are CRAZY. I know; I've met them. On places such as facebook and myspace, I've got my profile selected so that only my "friends" (and I say that term loosely as for some reason I've got people on there I don't especially care for -- I'll get to that in a second) can see my profile, and even THEN I'm careful as to what I put out there. Once it's online, it's there. Just ask the girl who had to go into hiding for putting a racial slur inher facebook status. Yeah. You bet she regrets that now.

Anyway, I'm getting off the subject, as usual. I also do the whole instant messaging thing so I can IM Superman during the day. It's handy, and I love it. However, I am not as good with using it as I am other things. For instance, when someone contacted me today saying I was on his friends list and he was wondering why (i.e., who am I), it didn't automatically click that I CAN'T be on his friends list -- because he's not on mine.

I asked him who he was, and he said he was "Jake" and lived around a nearby area. Well, I know one Jake. And he happens to be from that place. So, thinking (and hoping) that this was the Jake I knew, I gave my first name. My REAL first name. "Jake"'s response?

"Cool. What did you major in?"

Uh....the Jake I know would ABSOLUTELY know this answer. As I politely tried to end the conversation ("My boss came in. I have to go. Bye." To which he responded, "Ok. Talk later?" I didn't answer. Maybe he'll take the hint.), I couldn't help but think, "GEEZ!! I'm sorry, but I don't MAKE virtual friends."

And then I realized how untrue that statement was.

As I follow people in this little bloggy world, I've started getting to know you all and praying for you as you struggle with different things: adoption, getting married, getting through the holidays, visiting your children...but then I realized the difference between y'all and "Jake": "Jake" is a name, a faceless person who I know nothing about. I read your posts and see your love for God and your desires to be Proverbs 31 women. True, the wool could still be pulled over my eyes, but I feel a little more connected with y'all than I do with "Jake" (who will be blocked as soon as I can figure it out).

Our world has become a virtual society, but what are the limits? We've all seen the Dateline shows of what can happen to people, good and bad, through use of the Internet and chatting with online buddies. But what about for the people we know? What about those people who ask to be your "friend" -- and you're not keen on them finding you? ;)

I've blocked more than one person online in order for my profile picture not to even show up in a search. And I use my married name instead of my maiden name -- those people who do not know my married name are people I probably am not interested in reconnecting with. Oh, and for people who want to be my friend and then don't speak when they see me in public? There's always that handy "delete" button (which has been used on more than one occasion).

But what about those people who you really don't care for but ask to be your friend? The ones that you see regularly? Is it okay to not add them or to delete them?

Is there a "polite" way to tell someone, "Hey, we're not really pals, and I don't want to be your online friend"?

Probably not.

I have gone through random "delete fests" because, well, frankly, I don't have 493 friends, as facebook claims. I'm not that popular. I didn't invite 493 people to my WEDDING. But I've actually seen people bragging about how many "friends" they have on facebook. And I want to say, "Really? Really? You have 12,038 friends?" That sure is a lot of Christmas cards to send out. Unless you do it electronically. Then it's probably easy.

When you blog, you bare your writing to the world. You allow people to see a piece of you -- whatever piece you want. One of the reasons I like my little anonymous blog so much is the freedom it gives me. I do have a few "real life" friends on here and others who read this blog, but they know me well enough to know that this is pretty much the "real" me. ;)

So what is the verdict in this virtual friendship war? On Santa's list, what would be found "naughty" and what would be found "nice"?

Blogging -- naughty/nice
Facebook/myspace -- naughty/nice
Instant messaging -- naughty/nice

Thoughts, anyone?


misti said...

You make me laugh =D I don't have myspace or a messager system. And it seems like I've recently started using face book as more of a networking tool than a social thing. But I think the bloggy world is the on the nice list =)

And yes, it is 100% you!

Beth said...

I think that this virtual world is a huge study in human behavior that is really fascinating! isn't it?!?
Fact: it is not the REAL world, but we know the blessings and joys of friendships there. It really is amazing. I find a lot of similarities between my blog friends and the pen pals I had in my teen years.
LOVE that I am getting to know the real you in a less than real world! *smile*

Beth said...

could I have your email? I wanna ask you some stuff.
email me at : queenoscrap at gmail dot com

CR said...

Several years ago, I deleted both my facebook and myspace accounts. Just in the last year I created a new one and am selective with who I add as a "friend". If you didn't go to elementary, middle, high school or college(s) with me you probably won't get added.

I typically only IM my hubby and my best friend and don't start virtual friends online...

I think the blogging world is safer then others...unless you start blogging about topics that get more hits then others.

I use to write a lot about sexual violence and violence in general and found myself with one commenter who was VERY opinionated and not of my opinion.

Now I just write about my life...much less interesting!

Sara@ Butterville said...

I guy I used to work with "Joe" has a son with autism and I got an email asking me to sign up for Facebook, so I could keep up with Joe and his family. Ok, fine I did. Then like the next day I had like 50 requests to be my "friend" some were people I worked with, some I went to school with some were friends of THOSE people that now wanted to be my friend. BLAH! I hated it. I took it off the next that a record for shortest existance on facebook 3 days??? I feel lucky to be your bloggy friend now!

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Jake sounds a little scary.

You know how I feel about the crazies. :)

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts! I just had a conversation with a gal I used to teach with that said I should get a myspace or facebook account. Honestly...some people from high school I would rather not connect with again and I also don't need another addiction! Blogging is so much fun to me and I have enjoyed meeting so many new people THIS way. The connections and friends I have made so far have truely enriched my life.
Having "friends" that I don't really know sounds kinda scarey to me! You never know who's lurking out there!

Michelle said...

Great post!
Although, "jake" sounds a little creepy! How did he manage to im you? Was it through facebook? If so, that's kinda scary that he could do that w/o being on your friends list.
Blogging, love it! I've only ran into trouble a couple of times with that due to the fact that people were searching for not-so-nice stuff about little girls and because of my user name it pulled my blog up in google. I closed that blog and moved to wordpress and have not had any trouble there.

Facebook, is another story. I really need to go in and clean up my list. When I first signed up I thought it would be fun to connect with friends from hs but I am a completely different person than I was then and well, they are still the same. And whenever I get invited by someone I know, i feel like i have to say yes, so crazy, i know. I have had a couple request from people i didn't know and just ignored them. wish i woulda done that with some of the people i do "know"

and my hubby has Sara's record beat. He lasted 5 minutes!!He says he doesn't wanna be connected. Ha!

oh, and i'm like you when I see someone with thousands of friends.

MInTheGap said...

Strange, you say that you read my blog, but then you say that you've seen my passion to be a Proverbs 31 woman. So, what have you done with the real Lois Lane II?!

It's always a game of how much you want to share. I'm just glad that you're choosing to share what you do!

Lois Lane II said...

MiN -- Whoops! LOL!!