One of the difficult things about Facebook is that it turns what would otherwise be a natural process of fading into mutual anonymity and ‘letting go’ into a conscious decision (the virtual severing of ties) that has to be made; a deviant pomp and ceremony.
A generation ago (I imagine!), you might stay at a hotel and strike up conversation with a couple of people in a bar. It might go well; perhaps you’d write down their address or phone number, and be in touch further down the line, or perhaps you’d forget and go your separate ways. Either way, it doesn’t really matter to either of you; the nice thing was the exchange itself; that moment of company and connection, that space to imagine the fuller details of their life (or perhaps not to) and to then move on back to focusing on the important relationships in your life, and your personal experience, even if that experience was perhaps illuminated or heightened or even forever changed by that particular interaction.
Nowadays, after a pleasant but forgettable exchange, your new hotel acquaintance might happen instead to venture to ask the casual and innocuous (though I think I’ve decided it isn’t always either) question: ‘are you on Facebook?’ Continue reading