Two weeks ago, I joined Facebook. I had no interest in it, but took seriously a challenge by the tech-guy at work. You can read what he wrote here. Granted, his target audience was the faculty, but what he says applies to non-teaching personnel, too. Technology at our school is moving ahead at a steady clip, and I, for one, don't want to be left behind.
So I looked at how I use technology in my personal life. I began using email and surfing the web as soon as I had a computer and an internet connection, about ten years ago. I started my blog about two and a half years ago. At one point I had a web page. I belong to networking groups. Recently I set up a ning for my family's use.
In another effort to try to keep current, to not fall behind and stay behind, I opened a Facebook account. I'm not sure I'm going to keep it. It's not that I don't have "friends." In fact, I have an abundance of them, with additional people knocking on my proverbial door daily. And it's not so much that it's a time-eater, though it certainly is.
It's a matter of boundaries. My "friends" include some cousins, some seminary classmates from ten or more years ago, some coworkers and a couple of students from the school, folks from my quilting world, and my very first friend Estie from when we were in third grade.
I have never thought of myself as particularly compartmentalized. But it occurs to me: Do I want people from work -- either students or faculty -- following threads that will lead them to other areas of my life? I'm not sure. Do I want my family members exposed to the vernacular of some of the students? Do I want my Lutheran colleagues wondering why I'm accepting Quaker-themed virtual gifts?
I'm not sure.
And this has got me to thinking about the blog. I'm mindful of the concept that I shouldn't put anything out into cyberspace in any form unless I wouldn't mind if it showed up on the front page of the [possibly soon to be defunct] Philadelphia Inquirer. I share some of my musings with my blog readers, and often am enlightened by their insights. At the same time, I am mindful that I don't want to write anything that would make my husband or children feel uncomfortable in any way.
I'm aware that if I choose to write about someone, readers aren't getting a complete picture of that person (or of me) -- it is only what I am choosing to share. And I wonder how just that is.
Sometimes I feel uncomfortable when I read blogs where people share painful stories from their childhoods or speak disparagingly about their parents. I think about the gal who makes nice quilts and used to blog about them and then suddenly during the recent Presidential campaign turned into a ranter who posted untruths about one of the candidates and used the Drudge Report as a primary source. I wonder if someday she will feel at all embarrassed about having let her vitriolic passion become so public. I think about the blogger whose training, I believe, has nothing to do with psychiatry or psychology, who labeled her parents with diagnoses straight out of the DSM-III (or is it IV, now?) and I feel sad for them.
I guess where all of this is leading is to the realization that on my Blog I can control what I share, but can't control how others might interpret what I write or what they might do with my writings. So I'm judicious. On Facebook, it seems, no matter how carefully I word my "status" -- "Nancy is tired" -- people will write what they like on my "wall" and their own statuses will show up in the "activity" for all to read, to think about and interpret.
I thought I'd give Facebook a month, and I still believe I will, but somehow I don't think it is going to be my thing. Whether I fall behind technologically or not.
Did this make any sense at all?