Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flashback

I don't feel a need to apologize for yesterday's reactionary post about signing up for Facebook. I've resisted the social network for a variety of reasons, some better founded than others. Yes, I resent feeling as though I'm obligated to be on it while having to sacrifice certain amounts of privacy. Yes, I realize much of it has to do with my hang-ups. That is why I also feel as though I should put my objections in some context.

I am well aware that I did not have the enthusiasm for big social events and that on some occasions my parents forced me to attend them. Primarily I'm thinking of regional church youth conferences or similar types of events in which the onus was on me to meet new people. I don't know that I would describe myself as solitary, although there's likely some truth to that.

Anyway, one of the fastest ways to get me to shut down is to require me to do something I'd rather not do. I admit that I can have quite a stubborn streak, especially when I feel like my behavior or reactions are being dictated. For instance, I hate, hate, hate organized icebreakers, usually silly or potentially embarrassing activities that are structured to lower defenses among strangers. For some it is a pleasurable way of getting to know others, but it is definitely not my idea of fun whatsoever. Really, most requests for forced conformity and prescribed spontaneity put me on edge.

Facebook revives some of those old feelings and thus my wary approach to it. I don't want to feel like I'm 15 or 16 again, which is kind of what I fear it will do. I already feel like it was a big step for me to set up shop on the site, to just be there, but that I have to watch my attitude. Sure, it's one thing to submit and say, fine, I'll go, but carrying a chip on one's shoulder the whole time doesn't benefit anybody and makes the bearer look like a jerk. Guilty as charged.

So I acknowledge that these are my problems and that no one has put me in a difficult position (at least not yet). There are reasonable criticisms to fire at Facebook, but let's not ignore that what I fear in it is partially what I fear in me.

I'm not who I was twenty years ago, and I think that's a good thing. I'm not implying that that old self was bad, just that it was a rough draft. Chances are, though, that I will have to face off with that old version while navigating the social network. Hopefully the current me can do a better job of dealing with it.

If you have any advice for using Facebook, I am curious to hear it.

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