Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Positive words about Facebook
Last week my former college roommate (and maid of honor for my wedding) tracked me down after twenty years or so, which pleased me very much. She invited me to join Facebook to see more pictures of her and her family. Being the paranoid person I am, I asked around about how much personal info. I'd have to give and who could see it. Reassured, I joined, and I've been very glad that I did.
I won't name any names, because I wouldn't want people getting my info. from Facebook and publishing about me on their personal blogs, but I've been touched and surprised by the number of old college friends who have noticed that I am on Facebook and have sent me friend requests. These are people, in several cases, about whom I've thought often over the years and wondered, but after the manner of lazy human beings, have done nothing about locating.
I realize now that one reason I have left my college years behind me is because I am not entirely proud of my own behavior in college. I went to Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, PA, at the age of 16. And a half. Don't blame my parents. They didn't know what to do with me at home, I had knocked myself out finishing high school early for the express purpose of going to college early, and I would have given them no peace if they had tried fairly pointlessly to keep me in Chicago. Plus, I was more or less unemployable. They probably hoped that this would change if I got a bachelor's degree. So, at considerable expense to them (a point I did not appreciate nearly enough at the time), I went the 900 miles to a small Christian college.
It really wasn't nearly as rough for such a young student as it might have been. The atmosphere was carefully monitored and quite wholesome; the entire student body came from conservative Baptist churches and was expected to behave accordingly, which they more or less did. So there were no shocks, just the general feeling of defensiveness at being at least two years and more younger than everyone around me, looking younger still, and being something of a nuisance.
My solution was to glom onto anyone who was nice to me and pour my largely imaginary woes and largely indefensible prejudices and opinions into the ears of such patient people as fulfilled that description. And to the credit of human nature and Christian charity, several did. I had friends, almost all of them juniors and seniors when I arrived (hence, something on the order of four years older than me, and therefore perhaps even more mature and kindly than the freshmen).
Now, yea, these years later, a surprising number of these generous people have made contact with me voluntarily, and I've been able to find out what they've been up to. In several places, that information has been especially humbling: One family has adopted a son with many special needs, another family has nine children, and another former college mate travels abroad every year to make films of the poorest of the poor for the hunger relief organization he works for.
So I've just added a link to this blog to my rather spare Facebook profile, and if any of y'all come over here, this is just to say--Thanks, guys! And I'm glad to be back in touch. Feel free to comment, if you want. (Hint, hint.)
I should add that, as advertised, Facebook is a very low-key site and appears to be very safe. I have received no spam from them, and I've seen only one inappropriate ad in the margin. You don't even have to give your address, etc., when you sign up, because there is a "skip this page" option for all of that info. that you might not want to pass around too much. The only thing they definitely require, besides an e-mail address, is date of birth, presumably for legal reasons. So I recommend it.
P.S. I am in the far bottom right corner of the above picture, which a Facebook friend found and uploaded. This was our drama team. All names have been omitted to protect the innocent.