In a recent article from Salon.com, "Facebook, the Mean Girls and Me," Taffy Brodesser-Akner takes on Facebook and the way that via the social networking megalith, she has rekindled relationships with various girls who she had been friends with until junior high school, when they all turned nasty and bullied her. The article becomes a place for the writer to air this laundry and wonder about the worth of revisiting past people and times through new profile pics, current photo albums and status updates.
I wasn't bullied in school (except on rare occasion), and was generally popular, but I do have my own doubts about Facebook and its authenticity. On Facebook I have been requested as a "friend" by a good number of my high school classmates from 30 years back. What I have found is that though I always answer these requests by "accepting" and then writing a brief and friendly "you attitude-focused" letter, I have quite often received no response.
When I do receive responses, I have always written a message follow up, praising the writer for whatever accolades they have received or grandchildren they've been rearing, asking relevant questions, and trying to dig a bit deeper into that great divide that has left us well on in the latter stages of life. That's when the wall of silence really appears.
I'd estimate that nearly 75% of those new (old) "friends" never write again, not even when I ask them explicit questions or make comments on their photo albums. Never again.
Which certainly does beg the question: What have I done to create such a situation?
Or is it them and not me?
Ultimately, the question may be, what is the point in all of this?
Granted, I have been able to reconnect in an exciting way with some friends from past eras whom I really had wanted to keep contact with all along but simply had lost in the shuffle. An e-rendezvous with any one these folks is rewarding. But then there is that other mass of humanity who just sit warehoused in my growing friend list.
Now I wonder what to do: Should I conduct a Stalinistic purge, or let the pile of photos and profiles accumulate?