what about you?

August 13, 2011 at 12:19 am 12 comments

hello dear reader,

i know you are out there. i can creepily stalk you via “site stats.” i know that there are actually a bunch of you and that you are coming here from links at something called “facebook.com.” which means i probably know you. (which means i will probably write about you, too!) that’s actually about all i know.

no one is commenting. it’s probably awkward. the people who i’ve posted about have already sent me sweet messages in their “sure, go ahead” messages, so commenting and saying in public, “gee, thanks for saying all these nice things about me” probably seems redundant and awkward. and then those of you who are just reading, “wow, i agree about this person i also know” is potentially too revelatory or odd-feeling, “woah, i wish i knew this awesome person” emblazoned in a comments section of a blog is too permanent a tribute to a stranger, & being the very first person to comment on an entire blog is a big step. that makes sense.

but bloggers live for comments. it’s a common phenomenon. this project is definitely definitely DEFINITELY all about saying how awesome my friends are. but the reason i have so many facebook friends is because i love connection.

so here is a hopefully conversation-generating topic:

what about you? what is your relation to facebook? and since i don’t want to be just glorifying a corporate entity… tell me about google+! or livejournal! or diaryland! or … wordpress!

how and why do you social network? is it to network? to stay connected to your past? to find out about current events? or to find out about events? to tell people about how bad your life is? to tell people about how good your life is? to generate envy? to generate pity? because people told you you should join but you still don’t know why?

and if you know it and feel like sharing, what’s your myers-briggs personality type? i’m an xnfp, vacillating between balki bartokomous & anne shirley, retreating from the world to contemplate it, and then dancing and shouting what i’ve learned to a crowd… until i’m ready to retreat again. it seems like the perfect personality type for all this online journalling. i wrote 5 journal entries on my first geocities account in early 1998. then in 2000, i purchased a domain name and kept a journal there for a year or 2 (generally not giving it out to anyone i actually knew). then there was diaryland, then livejournal, and then a primarily locked livejournal, with zines interspersed. and then a blog on wordpress, and then facebook.

now this. reflecting on my sense of online connection. and mostly because i’ve recently realized that we all seem to do this differently. there are people fearful of privacy invasion, or a generation of overly self-absorbed teens, or a disease in which vulnerability and stardom get accidentally mixed up. this is some scary new thing. and it is. and it isn’t, because i think if i wasn’t facebooking and blogging, i would be writing handbills and spreading those around, my s’s looking hilariously like f’s. but tons of people do it. and i want to know why, especially why my friends do it. we humans tend to assume similar motivations for things. but it has finally dawned on me that yours are probably different than mine. what are they?

tell me. & talk hard.


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friend eight. friend nine.

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robert Hutchison  |  August 13, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I like this solicitation for feedback. I’m guilty, as I have read your blogs thus far without comment. To take a brief break from my trial prep exercise, I will step in as asked to share my thoughts.
    Facebook for is literally that: a facebook. I use it to maintain connections past and present for personal, nostalgic, and utilitarian networking purposes. I love it as a medium of contact, but I feel little to no compulsion to share my life. i’m generally discriminating in who i let friend me and I don’t post often. I do like to comment when called for or to share a joke. It’s an easier contact list to maintain than that in my phone. I make no effort to generate spite, envy or smug satisfaction in those who view my profile. I’m too concerned with my own expectations for myself to worry much at all about those of others.
    I’m a rare type in Myers-Briggs: INTJ. I’ve taken the test several times in the last two decades and it has been wholly consistent. This gives us only the “N” in common, but as I recall that seems dead on from our days at New. I have never doubted my INTJ label, and many of its prominent features are those things for which I am best known.
    i hgope this is but the first response you get to your solicitation. I’ll try and comment on your blog when a thought arises. It’s a brilliant project.

  • 2. cubbie  |  August 13, 2011 at 5:19 am

    robert! thank you! your words are as inspired, inspiring, and rare as… silent bob’s! *laugh* is he an intj? i mean it, though. because your words are rare, they have a lot of weight, and there’s always a measured quality to them that i find extremely valuable. so your stamp of approval means a lot.

    AND thank you for just telling me about how all of this stuff works for you. it actually sounds very similar to how it works for me, up until the point about sharing one’s life. so i’m fascinated by the desire to connect without sharing everything about oneself. hm…

    thank you for the kind words AND the food for thought! and for being the first brave soul to comment!

  • 3. Simone Cyndy Ekle  |  August 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Hello. 🙂 This is the first of your blogs that I have read (because you linked to it from FB and I am interested in your project and how it pans out). I think the only time I’ve ever really commented on anyone’s blog was when it was a good friend from NC and I also had a blog on livejournal. Anyway, I suppose it’s no surprise that my Myers-Briggs type is IN (F/T) P. I just retook the test, and got T, but usually it’s a weak F. I also got sidetracked and did a few more tests online. The F/T label is always borderline for me, where the I is always a clear I (80 to 95%). Is it because I think about my feelings and try to feel my thoughts? Or do I want to be a T, but am really a F? Actually, I’ve always considered myself to be an introvert, but tried to be more extroverted. I used to give myself extrovert tasks in my final year or so of NC to challenge myself to be more extroverted. I teach a lot of conversational English and students often say they think I am pretty extroverted. I can pretend to be one. (They are also usually the students who don’t question their stereotypes concerning the differences between Japanese and Westerners–especially Americans–Japanese are shy, Americans are loud and outgoing. My teacher is American, therefore she is outgoing).

    But, your questions were related to social networking. I use Facebook for many reasons, but I suppose the main reason is staying in touch with people back at home in the US, people I’ve met here in Japan (who maybe have moved back to their home countries), and for sharing stuff with friends here in Japan. FB also keeps me on the outside of the loop (rather than miles away from it) of what’s happening culturally and so forth in the States. I’ve had to google a number of things people mention in passing on FB (Lady Gaga, for example, because I rarely listen to music of English speaking bands and any English songs are old or sung by Japanese groups). FB has also been helpful for getting bad news quickly–like my English school closing (later declared bankruptcy), friends passing away, and the catastrophic earthquake/tsunami in Tohoku this past March 11.
    Recently, I haven’t posted too much on FB, partly because a lot of my former students, an ex-boss, and ex-profs are connected, but also because there are too many people connected to me and I don’t need an audience of 400+ for every comment I want to make. I’m also getting started on G+, where I feel it’s easier to comment more naturally.

    Anyway, your project is really interesting and I hope it goes well. I suppose I enjoyed reading about Friend 4 the most since she is part of the NC family (and a friend of mine as well back in the days at NC), but I enjoyed reading about your other friends too. It’s interesting to see how other people make impressions on others.

    I hope this reply isn’t too long.

    Actually, for a while I was trying to think how I met various people for the first time. Sometime during the end of my first year in Japan, there was a teacher who just started who reminded me a lot of you. So, I was trying to remember what the connection was and just couldn’t. I finally remembered it (hopefully correctly)…Michaelson’s classes. I think we talked about his Varieties of Religious Existentialism class, which I would have taken in Fall 98.

    You knew me as Cyndy, but I go by Simone now.

    PS If you are interested in alternative personality theories, blood type is very popular in Japan (and other parts of Asia). There’s no support for it when they test it, but it is interesting. On the surface, there are 4 types, but it can get more complicated because there are small differences for genders and small differences for the recessive blood type. I’m an O (A recessive) and fit the profile pretty well. However, O’s are supposed to be outgoing and friendly, whereas I’ve been fairly shy since I was about 4 (my father told me I was pretty outgoing as a baby/toddler and liked meeting strangers).

    Anyway, so you have another comment. 🙂 Hope you get more.

  • 4. Jocelyn Grant  |  August 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I think facebook took off in North America a bit before it became popular in England so I initially joined to stay in touch with my cousins and school friends in Canada. I like it for what it’s good at, sort of allowing one to feel casually in touch with the lives of people one likes but aren’t really in one’s inner circle, but I feel like it’s not really good at sharing anything real. Or maybe I am just not really good at sharing anything real. I’m still pondering going back to real journalling somewhere else as I drunkenly wrote to you and a few others about, but part of me really hates the whole blogger culture thing that’s going on right now, because I am a really grouchy old man about some things. I don’t know.

    I’m an INFP, through and through. I like that we’re so similar, Myers-Briggs wise.

  • 5. cubbie  |  August 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    simone! i actually owe you a response to your recent facebook message. and these longs posts and messages back and forth are exactly why i love the internet and social networking and all that, because there is a potential to get to know someone on a whole deeper level than in other ways. at new college, you (and robert, too actually) had the sort of quietness that may be shyness or not but that masquerades really well as deep intellectualism, so my fluffy ebullient self was always a little intimidated. but the internet makes some of the intimidation go away. also, possibly, being in one’s 30’s (wtf).

    did you find out which “friends” character you are? 😉 (actually i remember an online personality test that sorted you by both myers-briggs & buffy the vampire slayer.) i’ve got a good friend who is really into enneagram stuff and finds that more valuable than myers-briggs. i don’t always completely understand those, though. and then there’s astrology of course… i don’t know anything about blood type theories except that i know people who are into ideas about eating related to blood type– who can/should be veg or not, and even like if you should eat standing up or not. but i didn’t know personality could be part of it. i should look into it.

    hm… i didn’t take a michalson class until spring of ’99, but… were you in victorian religious themes, or… modern christian theology? or… were you in any of hannah schell’s classes? maybe we discussed michalson there? i have a vague memory of that maybe?

    dude, write as long of comments (grammar?) as you want! write me a novel, i will eat it up!

  • 6. cubbie  |  August 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    hi jocelyn! i actually wandered back over to lj today but couldn’t remember anybody’s name anymore and it’s kind of a desert on my friends page. there are a couple of people still posting but it’s mostly some photo communities posting like crazy…

    i think you’re good at sharing real things– but maybe in a more controlled space than facebook. actually someone i was talking to the other day was talking about all of her facebook filters, which is a feature i never use, but that i guess you could use if you wanted to try to replicate some of the lj candor (in 420 characters or less). the thing with lj was that, for me, i knew, irl, maybe 10% of my lj friends, and on facebook, i’ve met almost everybody (except for a stray lj contingent and some zinesters). and so my posts on lj were waaaay more candid, but on facebook i’m trying to figure out what would be appropriate for ex-coworkers, relatives of my girlfriend, and bff’s to read. i think i’m constantly trying to emphasize the “cute relationship” & “wacky homebody shenanigans” aspects, which are most of my life now anyway. my life is so much more low drama so things are generally pretty family friendly. (though trisha is regularly surprised by how many embarrassing stories i feel willing to share. because she’ll get calls from her dad in which she discovers that he’s read about some goofy thing i did and she’s like, “you wrote that on the INTERNET?!” but i think my facebook is locked enough that few future employers are going to find out that i burned my toast the other day or whatever…)

    i like that we are similar myers-briggsishly, too.

    (meanwhile, i feel like i’ve developed some cutesy gushy persona in these comments. it sounds unreal somehow, but i think it is real. i think there’s just a lot of caffeine. and a lot of “oh wow i’m so excited about this project and other people are, too!” giddiness.)

    • 7. Jocelyn Grant  |  August 14, 2011 at 12:36 am

      I wander back every now and again, but it’s got a ghost town feel about it and the site design is starting to look very dated and junky and I’m never inspired to post anything.

      I guess the control aspect is what I struggle with. Because I very much respect people who can really put themselves out there in an unselfconcious and genuine way to a wider audience but how do those people not worry about how they’re coming off to all the in-laws and co-workers and all those people who don’t really know them?

      Also I think that having lived so far away from my family since I was 18 has allowed me to give them a really filtered picture of who I am and what I get up to, which I’m not sure how to feel about.

      I guess I don’t know whether it’s helpful or not to have an lj style audience of people who don’t know anything about you really except what you allow them to see. In some ways I think it allows me to be more honest and develop ideas I didn’t know I was thinking about, but I worry that it’s a way to process things away from day to day life when really that’s where I should be working through them.

      I dunno, I just need a regular supply of extreme emotional intimacy and I worry that I’m a bit of a vampire about it.

      I love that you get gushy about things. You’ve always seemed to me to be a most charmingly earnest fellow, it’s terribly endearing.

      • 8. cubbie  |  August 16, 2011 at 5:25 am

        i think my philosophy, as you probably know, has always been to put the truth out in the open so that there’s nothing to make up. i’m always very honest and open so there’s probably never going to be some sort of big scandal where some giant secret comes out. *laughs* not that i’m going to be president or anything, but… yeah… i’ve just always found that putting everything out there makes me less afraid than not. there was that one time where i got really burned, but that was only one time. usually it has worked well. but i think… it’s also just the type of person i am. and it works for me, but might not work for others…

        in religious communities sometimes there are arguments about the value of retreats and spaces away from the rest of the world. i think they can be valuable and important if you go back into the world. and i think online style journaling (or private writing or thinking, too) are similar.

  • 9. Simone Cyndy Ekle  |  August 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    With the ‘Which Friend are you?’ quiz, I think I usually get Phoebe, but I don’t really relate to any of them very strongly. I just did a Harry Potter character quiz and got Dumbledore.

    I think it was that we talked about M’s Varieties of Religious Existentialism class. Maybe I recommended it? Perhaps we talked about it when waiting during Michaelson’s office hours? Or at lunch/dinner in Ham Center? My only H. Schell classes were a group tutorial (Mary Daly) and a course on American thought on religion, politics, and something else (Spring 2001).

    The blood type thing I was referring to links blood type and personality. I don’t believe it (and the research into blood type and personality has found no support for the theories), but it is interesting. And, it helps teach conversational English and (sometimes) can help explain vocabulary to students here in Japan. I guess blood type is used by some people to try to find significant others at these group date things that are popular in Japan.

    I was going to write that I was surprised that I came across as intimidating at NC. Someone once told me something similar years ago and I think that I thought they were crazy. Me? Intimidating?
    However, I suppose it can be hard to read quiet people (and even though I know my quietness isn’t standoffedness) I sometimes have thought a quiet person wasn’t very friendly when I met them. I once went to a Frank Black show with my then roommate. She kept asking me if I was having a good time. I was. It was a great show. But, she externalized her excitement, but I obviously wasn’t. Back then, my quietness was probably a mix of shyness to the extent of social anxiety and (when I was comfortable) a preference for being a little distant from the center of things to observe and think about what was going on. The more people around, the less l would have talked. By the time I finished up with the Catalyst and was an RA, the social anxiety stuff probably had worked itself out.

    I guess it’s a good thing that the internet can strip away aspects of a person (me) that might seem intimidating. NC was such a long time ago, so I’ve been trying to imagine what my internal voice used to sound like. It is interesting finding out just how your own idea of how others perceive you differs from others’ actual perception of you.

    Hopefully your project is getting more friend traffic. Maybe it’ll even inspire someone to follow your lead and do their own similar project. Actually, for a while I had been thinking of writing something about different friends so that if I died suddenly, they could be given what I had written about them. Your project has the advantage that while it focuses on what your appreciate about your friends, it’s not born from anything morbid like my idea.

    • 10. cubbie  |  August 16, 2011 at 5:40 am

      i always wanted phoebe but got joey. it made me sad and a little offended until i decided joey is like phoebe if phoebe liked girls.

      pragmatism? was it the pragmatism class? i loved hannah schell and at the same time my big memory from that class was confessing that i picked the philosopher i picked only because it was the very last one of the semester so i could procrastinate and then feeling really embarrassed about that.

      yeah, i think the secret is that shy people are often very intimidating. which is pretty funny in a way. and it makes sense. you also always struck me as super smart and intellectually together and motivated, which was also intimidating. and you’re pretty (which is not meant to be creepy flirting but is just true) which when i was in college pretty much meant i wasn’t at all sure how to relate to a person.

      when i was on lj in my last couple of years of college, i would post polls about myself. with rating scales. am i more this way or that way? silly or smart? earnest or shallow? but that was almost all people who didn’t know me in real life so the answers were skewed. but i was always trying to figure that out. how am i seen? i’m less curious about that now. or have been? this mix of job hunting and conversing about it is making me curious again.

      man, i wish i was like dumbledore.

      • 11. simonecyndy  |  August 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

        I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to get Joey as a Friends character. It’s easy to focus on his IQ, womanizing, and immaturity in the first few seasons, but he does have some really good characteristics (more obvious in latter Friends seasons–7 and 8?–when they actually bothered to develop his and Rachel’s characters a bit more substantially). He might be one of the best friends on Friends. He is very loyal and would do anything for his friends–he proposed to Rachel when she had Emma, became vegetarian for Phoebe when she was pregnant with her brother’s kids…
        Phoebe is cool, strange, independent, but Joey is just as good (if not better?) to get on a ‘Which Friend are you most like?’ quiz.

        You know, it was the pragmatism class! I was finishing my thesis during that term, so my memory of the class is a bit fuzzy.

        Which philosopher did you choose? I can’t remember which I chose…I just looked at the list of papers on my external hard drive, but I’m not sure which was a presentation and which were just weekly response papers. It does look like I wrote something about Royce and I do remember my final paper sucked because I needed to turn in something, but I was finally finished with my thesis and BAC and really couldn’t properly motivate myself….

        I never really did polls, but I did take many quizzes that I posted to Live Journal.

        I don’t know if I’m really like Dumbledore. My favorite character was Lupin actually, though I don’t know if I’m really like him.

        I suppose I also had the aloof thesis student thing going on in that class too? Actually, I have a friend over here that really intimidated me because he had that cool personality and was quite good looking and obviously interested in his appearance. I remembering being a little annoyed with my friend for inviting me along because it just seemed like it was going to be an awkward evening until I could escape. However, he did become a friend and I can get away with being a bit more open with him than with most of my Japanese friends (he’s Chinese, not Japanese).

        (Though I’ve never seen myself as being particularly pretty, I’ll take what you said as a compliment, not as a creepy comment).

        I took a few quizzes recently on the similar minds website. I had pasted and rearranged a bunch of adjectives to post on my G+ page…but I closed the window without posting or saving it anywhere. It seems like one way to get clearer about your strengths and weaknesses.

        I haven’t really even done much of anything with it yet, but you did inspire me to create a new blog. There should be a link to in your followers list. Tomatodayo. But, there is nothing on it right now.

  • 12. cubbie  |  August 24, 2011 at 12:48 am

    simone, i think at new college where being the smartest ever was so valued, getting joey was embarrassing because he’s not. and as someone raised by hippies and who has always identified as weird, phoebe made more sense to me. but it’s true that he’s loyal and stuff. 🙂

    i think i chose santayana. either him or dewey? i think it was santayana for some reason but i know more about dewey now so i’m not sure.

    (i’ve really enjoyed this comment conversation!)


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