Reconnecting on Facebook

I have a confession to make.  I am usually a reluctant social networker on the web and signing up for Facebook was really out of a sense of needing to get into it based on other friends being in it.  (And Alan had joined up — so I guess I felt braver going in..)  I resisted MySpace, Hi5, and the like — maintaining a Friendster account only because I have classmates and relatives there.  I went into Multiply not so much for the social networking bit but for the blog and the photo archiving utility within that network. I wasn’t prepared for the way Facebook would enable me to reconnect with friends and family — some of whom I had not been in touch with for decades — LITERALLY.

It seems that every so many days, I find an old friend from college, a grade school classmate who went to another high school, someone I went to law school with, someone I had worked with.. or long lost relatives or younger relatives who have no idea who I am.  (“I’m your long lost Tita..blah blah blah”)

It has been very heartwarming to be saying hello to people with whom I had spent a good part of my younger years with, and who had faded into oblivion as I moved on.  I am just awed by how many of my friends seem to have weathered the years very well — and although you can say the years had caught on, they look pretty much the same.  I would be able to recognize them if I bumped into them here in New York or in Manila or wherever else fate might make us meet.  Facebook has enabled us to “catch up” as we go through pictures, do wall posts and just correspond through private messages.

As of this writing, I’m a few friends shy of 400.  It isn’t a conscious effort to rack up more people on my friend list — my list has grown with some amount of trepidation on my part to boldly request friends from way back to add me.  There is always that fear that a request from someone would put them in a quandary about adding me or not.  I have so far not denied any friend requests except for one that came from a total stranger.  I have a few pending friend requests out there that have yet to pull through, but I figure those who have not added me have their reasons.  They might be too busy or maybe, they just don’t remember who the hell I am. 

Of that long list of “friends”, I have only had one occasion to “unfriend” someone after a life-altering conversation where I realized this person probably wouldn’t appreciate being updated with the things going on in my life anyway.  I figured anyone who had such strong feelings against me shouldn’t have to be bothered by my rantings (like this one) or photo album updates or wall posts.  Besides, I think anyone who finds someone’s finger being jabbed at her would hit that “block” button faster than you can refresh your friend list on your mobile.

There are too many gems of a find that make Facebook a continuing source of wonder for me.  How many childhood friends from grade school have I found here on FB?  I have googled the names to death and have tried to look elsewhere — and here on FB is where we “met” again.  And there are the countless friends from UP Lightbearer and UP Timang who have all surfaced here.. colleagues from our MK days in UP Manila.  Classmates from the Ateneo School of Law.. former co-workers at the ad agency I used to work for and the two multinational companies I worked for immediately preceding my departure for New York in 2000.

I have come across long lost relatives and the next generation who I am getting acquainted with only now.  Cousins I haven’t spoken with for years, and god daughters who never even knew who this M.I.A. Ninang was.  There is much to make up for with all the stories that are waiting to be told.  In many instances, it’s a time to get to know each other again after all the years that have passed.

We often hear it said: “The wonders of technology…indeed.”  How else would it have been possible on all these fronts? 

At the end of the day, we find ourselves remembering how things were — and no matter how innocent or how short a comment exchange might be, there are countless things that we discover about our network and ourselves.  I get reminded of those years when what was easy was complicated — and when my world revolved around a smaller universe. 

So I choose to forget that there was a time when we were defined by our political leanings in school — when one would be judged according to whether or not you came to school in a car or if you commuted down the length and breadth of Taft Avenue, or Buendia and EDSA for those of us at HV de la Costa.  There is just that joy of finding people who were once a part of our lives.  Squabbles among the elders in the family that brought the next generation apart become inconsequential.  Instead, you look at the next generation as they come to their own.  And there are those who, you discover, never really went anywhere and continue to be the same friend you once knew way back when.

Reconnecting is not always as simple as just saying hello.. there are joys and disappointments to it.  But the eternal optimist that I am, I’d like to think that there is always something positive someone else can bring my way, or something new someone can teach me — and if I can go out of my way to find new friends, it should be worth the effort to reconnect with old ones.

See you on Facebook…!

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