Archive for August, 2011

what about you?

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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August 13, 2011 at 12:19 am 12 comments

friend eight.

friend eight, who i will call alaina hellum-alexander, has a really good smile.

i haven’t seen friend eight in 5 or 6 years now, but when we were around each other more, i considered her a vital part of my support network. we knew each other in olympia, which more so than the bay area, is the kind of place where you are very likely to run into people you know and like every time you go out. friend eight is the kind of person who you’re extra excited to run into when that happens.

she is athletic and poised, fierce and kind, and knows a good cup of tea. she’s also apparently a fantastic teacher these days, rather than just an idealistic college student. i think she still has the ideals though, of course.

the funny thing is that one of my strongest memories of friend eight is just sitting in the car with her, her ex, and my ex, going somewhere, listening to the be good tanyas, when none of us were exes. and maybe it’s supposed to be an awkward memory, but there was this strong sense of safety there that i still associate with friend eight and with the be good tanyas.

August 12, 2011 at 12:33 am 3 comments

friend four.

the problem with the place i got my undergrad degree is that pretty much everyone is so awesome that there can be people you would have spent tons of time with in other circumstances, but at new college, everyone was so interesting and fantastic, a lot of amazing people just never quite made it into your “circle.” they were the people you’d wave to while walking to class or chat with while in the same vicinity, but hanging out, one on one, never happened.

my strongest memory of friend four, who i will refer to as adrienne, might be one of my earliest. i had a silly little radio show on the college radio station (that didn’t make it off campus, and hardly made it to all the dorms). somewhere in the context of this radio show, i had a conversation with friend four about they might be giants’ “i should be allowed to think.” and embarrassingly enough, it’s because of friend four that i learned that the song had anything to do with allen ginsberg. (the first lines of the song are “i saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical.”) she had lots of deep things to say about this connection, and i… nodded. a lot.

if time went slower, a lot of the waves and smiles would probably have turned into other conversations. friend four has always struck me as smart and funny, and an unintimidating blend of friendly and cool. i added them on facebook in the hopes that we’d move past smiles and waves, but shockingly, life is even busier and faster outside of college than it was in college.

August 11, 2011 at 2:37 am Leave a comment

friend six.

friend six, who i will refer to here as aidan, is an intriguing mix of boundless energy, sexiness, and generous kindness. i’ve always known about the first two elements of his personality and frankly, it’s been a little intimidating. he went to school with my ex and was part of that circle of friends, coming all the way to seattle for a party, telling me about good places to eat in olympia, knowing the cool people. i’ve never not liked him, but as a kind of shy, homebody type of person, those aspects put a little bit of distance between us.

but then, more recently, i had a bit of a crisis, and posted a request for phone numbers of people i could vent to, and his was the first that came. it was like some psychic link had been forged because honestly, he’s one of a very small handful of my facebook friends who has actually dealt with the particular situation that i was (and am) dealing with, and his advice and support at this particular is like gold. every once in awhile, i get “hugs” messages from him, out of the blue, and forget why i was ever intimidated.

August 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

friend five.

this is my first post about a facebook “friend” who is not a person but an entity. i wasn’t sure if i wanted to include organizations, businesses, etc. in this project, but i’ve got such local business love that i decided it would be fun to write about all of my facebook friends, including the ones that are not just individuals. also, as i sit here waiting for friends one, two, and four to give permission to post about them, it’s nice to have these larger entities to write about because i can just hit “publish” instead of “save draft.”

friend five is “Afsc Sf,” the branch of the American Friends Service Committee that is located upstairs from the quaker meeting i belong to. when i first moved to the bay area and had tons of free time and lived close to the meetinghouse, i had grand plans to do all sorts of volunteering for the afsc. but i haven’t. once i went to a benefit dinner and sat at a table and listened to inspiring speeches about the work that the afsc did for japanese americans who were facing internment in the ’40’s. i’ve read emails and short blips about the work the afsc is doing. and once, recently, i walked into the afsc office to ask about the room numbers in the meetinghouse, which i should know by now.

i know real human beings who are vitally involved with the afsc, but i am not one of them. i support and admire these people, the afsc, and the work, but i don’t do the work. when people think of quakers as actually existing and doing good work today, they are thinking of the afsc. and if people think about the afsc when they think about quakers when i tell them i am a quaker, they probably associate me with the good work the afsc does. which means i should probably do more to live by that light…

one of the projects the afsc is working on that i’m interested in is their youth and militarism campaign. i feel too helpless in the face of all of the work the military does to recruit the bright shining youth around me, youth who do need strong supports, structure, and education. the afsc in san francisco also does work with homelessness, peacebuilding, the prison system, and the middle east. it’s an admirable organization that does a lot of the hard work that helps us quakers keep our good name. it’s also a little convoluted sometimes to figure out how to work with it, even if i am a quaker. funny how that is sometimes.

August 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

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