Friday, October 30, 2009

Anti-Social Even on the Internet

I studiously avoid most networking sites or services including Twitter and FaceBook. Obviously, Blogger is an exception since it is my journal and not an advertisement for myself, availing any and all to seek me out. I admit to an aversion to these sites that prevents me from even looking at them-I have not ever looked at FaceBook or Twitter.
This seems a little strange since I am not necessarily a private person. I am a talker and anyone who has had one conversation with me probably knows all they want or need to now about me. I will write about almost anything. (In fact, in response to Jill's request- I wear a 36 D. Before I delivered my kids I was an E and that was before my milk even came in. We're talking personal-size watermelons here people.) Yet despite this proliferation I cringe at the thought of a very specific group of people finding me- anyone from high school.
I did not enjoy high school. That is an understatement. In fact I hated the years that collectively include junior high and high school, puberty, adolescence, all of that. I hated it so much that I dropped out at 16, got my GED and went to community college so I could transfer to BYU by the time I would have been graduating high school. One of the best decisions of my life. Because of this, I alienated a lot of people from my life, as was one of the primary reasons for doing so. I wanted to change my life and make a clean break. High school is not a place for clean breaks or absolution among your peers. I think I made those years unnecessarily difficult for myself. I am a completely different person than I was then and I don't want to reminded of that time of unhappiness.
Since I left high school in 10th grade and haven't seen most of those people since then, I never really gained closure. I left when everyone was at their peak of punkish-ness and thus they are forever frozen that way to me. It is so hard to imagine that they have moved on and become successful, contributing members of society, never mind admirable parents. That thought is mind-boggling to me. Mind-boggling. I know that at least some of them must have grown up to do something worthwhile if only because of the mathematical probability. Perhaps I may even like one or two of them if we met as adults. But I still can't imagine that to be true. In many ways I feel like my life began when I dropped out. Most of my memories and parts of my life that I like to recall are from that point on. Anything remembered from my adolescence is usually explained with a lot of head-shaking and shoulder-shrugging.
Perhaps part of this means that I am afraid of what people will think if they do happen across me. Would anyone even look? Remember me? And if they did would they think kindly of me or remember me as the weird girl who freaked out and dropped out of high school?
I know its idiosyncratic and probably an insecurity on my part, but I don't want to be on display in the online meat market that exists.
Besides all of those reasons, I try to live a simpler life and to me, these typify the rapidly increasing world of technology and voyeurism. I am not against technology and quite enjoy many of its fruits, but not to the degree that most are accustomed. We have a cell phone thanks to my mom, but I never use it and it is, as described by a flight attendant on the loud speaker this summer, a 'Model -T' phone, or looks like its from 1953. While I don't think it is that bad, it is definitely a no-frills phone. No camera, no touch screen, no apps or games of any kind. And voyeurism? I feel about blogs and the like the same way I feel about friends. I don't care about having throngs of friends who are merely acquaintances that I keep on hand or see occasionally to share trivial bits of information or gossip. I much rather enjoy a few select friends that I know well and love. I don't have the time or interest to pursue the lives of people I knew 12 years ago, veritable strangers, who knew me when I was at my worst.
So there's my defense of my anti-FaceBook and Twitter policies. Just musing on that today.


rmt said...

Most of my FB friends are not old high school friends. Maybe like, 5 of them are. I am with you--I was a totally different person as an adolescent, and I have no interest in revisiting that time of my life. Which is why I will not be attending any of my high school reunions, either. Everyone who I still care about, I am still in contact with.
In defense of Facebook (I can't vouch for Twitter, I don't use it, FB is enough for me!), I have reconnected with some family members that live out of state, and it has been so nice to be a part of their everyday lives! I have learned things about them that I might not have known otherwise, and I love being able to chat for a few minutes or send them a message to say hello. I love that I can just post a few quick thoughts, as opposed to doing a whole post on Blogger. Oh, and you can block anyone from seeing your account, your pictures, sending you requests, anything.
Like everything else, it could easily become a problem...I have a hard time turning on my computer without checking Facebook! But that's like anything else I guess.
I personally would love it if you joined FB, just because it's another way to stay connected, but I understand if it's not your thing. You don't have to defend it to anyone:)

michelle said...

I too have no desire whatsoever to connect with people from high school. That part of my life is like a chapter closed, and good riddance. Several people have found me on FB lately, and there was one that I was surprisingly happy to hear from. But I got a message from one of my fellow cheerleaders from Neshaminy (remember I only went there for my senior year) -- I accepted a friend request from her and she replied: "What? The "It" girl herself deigned to accept my hand in friendship?!"

Seriously. What the hell.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, who is like they were in HS/JH? I have said I would go back to those years because I had a blast, not because I am that same person, ya know? You have control over who is your FB friend, over who can see you etc. It's really not a big deal :)

Getting married so young I pretty much shut the door on those HS friendships and there was no closure. I am so different now than I was then- they are too. I reconnected with Jenica through FB and if that one connection alone was only made, it was worth it.

All that being said- do what you do and what feels right. It's all good :)

Jill said...

I haven't joined Facebook or Twitter either and have no interest in doing so. I loved high school, but other than being curious about how their lives have turned out I have no interest in rekindling a superficial relationship. I am still close with my best friend from high school and have reconnected with one other friend from back then as well.

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