At the beginning, Facebook was my living room. I had only 40 friends more or less, people that I am in a weekly contact with. I used to write funny status messages, that my close contact understood. I’ve emailed, Twittered, IMed or met (yes, that face to face thing) with everyone on my list. I was a member of less than 30 groups. And I didn’t have a problem to write a status message that I am pissed at someone, sad, having a horrible day. I am surrounded by friends, mediated by a great technology.
Then my friends list grew, and Facebook was my neighborhood. I had something like 100 friends, some past contacts, no relatives yet, some of my blog readers, and some business contact. I didn’t feel a difference, as it was still my neighborhood. I uploaded all my pictures, made couple of funny videos. Didn’t care really if I wasn’t shaved – it is still my neighborhood – just without the physical element. I don’t shave before I go to buy milk in my neighborhood grocery store. Why should I act differently online? I started to create more and more groups, participate in new discussions, and increase my exposure and contribution to the community. I generated useful business contacts too, and had a lot of fun while doing that. I also learned more about the people I work with, which improved my overall relations with them.
My friends list continued to grow and Facebook became my town. More and more business contacts and past acquaintance joined my friends’ list. People that I never met face to face joined it too, friends of friends discovered my blog, or my Facebook activity, and decided it is worthwhile to connect. Slowly I realized that it is not a living room anymore. But I still enjoyed talking with long lost friends, touching base with my high school sweet heart, and yes – learning more about my family members, who joined Facebook too.
My friends’ list is still growing. Suddenly people connect with me, and when I ask them where our paths crossed, they don’t answer. I don’t add them, but it is still annoying. I get requests saying – "we have common friends, let’s connect". No "I read your blog". No "we’ve met at this and that place". No " X told me that we should talk". Just an effort to further extend one’s friends’ list. Now, my groups grow faster, cause I am more connected. I have more readers, more business contacts. I learn about new people all the time, new areas in the world, and new industries. Now Facebook is my city: behind every corner there is a surprise, a new building, a new shop, a new interesting person to meet. But it also means that the intimacy of the living room is lost, the familiarity of the neighborhood is gone, the coziness of the town vanished.
I hope that Facebook would add privacy rules to friends lists. That might give the flexibility needed to support a living room, within a neighborhood, within a town, within a city. Just like in real life….
He also lived in a village