Facebook? That's Nothing New

We had a facebook back in 1976. It was about 50 pages long and full of beguiling photos.

I had just started college and every student was issued a Freshman Directory so we could get to know each other.

Of course this quickly devolved into us guys sitting around late at night, flipping the pages, looking for the cutest girls in our class.

“Does she really look that hot?”

“I don’t think so. John Kermath says she’s in his Lit 151 seminar and she’s marginal, at best.”

“Wow! Look at so-and-so. Is she really a student here?”

“I think I saw her at Harry’s Luncheonette with a bunch of guys. No way you’re getting near her.”

And so it went.

Whenever we got bored, out came the Freshman Directory and we perused more faces, hoping to recognize someone new, hoping to make a connection.

Years later, Zuckerberg came along and digitized the whole thing. And you know the rest of the story.

Today, Facebook claims to bring 1.23 billion people together. Not a second goes by when one of my 561 friends isn’t posting or commenting.

Freshman faces at my alma mater
I have to admit I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Sometimes I relish seeing what my friends and long-lost contacts are up to. Other times I have a sort of disdain for the exhibitionism. I have a handful of friends who make me belly laugh (and they do it effortlessly). Some are profound thinkers and some are excellent writers – they know how to express their thoughts and feelings.

I guess my life is enriched by the experience, then. Without Facebook, I probably wouldn’t realize how smart/funny/engaging/extraordinary these people are.

Today, friends are posting movies of their Facebook lives. It’s really pretty cool. A nice birthday present to all of us who took a deep breath and took the plunge into this community.

We’ve come a long way from the Freshman Directory of 1976. Wonder what became of that girl at Harry’s Luncheonette?


Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

I live in two worlds and thrive in both... the 'real' world and the real world via the Interweb. Knowing the two exist, in parallel, and how my relationships in one are enhanced by the existence of the other is probably about as close to existential as I will get. I am 'me' in the 'real' world, but I am 'more' in the other.

John Novaria said...

That's a great way to look at it, Veronica. I'm still trying to figure out how to reconcile the two! Thanks for reading.