Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Facebook Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. It also happened to be my first birthday since I’ve been on Facebook. Which means that everyone I once hung out with at recess messaged me with one-sentence birthday wishes. No updates on their life. No real interest in mine. They just followed the Facebook etiquette of acknowledging the birthday update. (This is a bit of an exaggeration, as some people who messaged me are actual friends. Or family. Or friends of the family). One friend tried to send me a “Very Naughty Gift.” I’m assuming it’s not a toddler drawing on my wall with markers. So I don’t think I’ll accept it. I can see how she’s think I’d appreciate the risqué; I exude burlesque-dancer-in-training.

I have coworkers on Facebook. Because of this, four people wished me a happy birthday before 8:30 a.m. And I was given a rather fabulous Rolo chocolate cone as a gift. So I really can’t complain.

I’m still not sure what to think about Facebook. I think it knows too much. And as I’ve claimed that blogging kills conversation, in a fun twist, I will blog about a Facebook conversation I had last night. So if you were hanging out with me yesterday, you’ll find this redundant. You may read, just don’t expect any brilliant epiphanies.

I’m listed as “single.” This is a very true fact. And it’s not a fact I’m necessarily embarrassed by or feel the need to defend. I’m not going to go on some rant about how I’m just not looking for a relationship right now or any of that semi-untrue babble most of us have been guilty of spewing out as excuses for such a status. In some ways, the single status prevents friends I haven’t seen in eons from asking about my love life. At the same time, it makes me feel as though I’m one step away from online dating, with a profile that promotes me as single rather than just keeping people up to date on my life. The real problem is that I can never remove my status. People will ask questions. Every friend I have will see the notice that “Nadine Bells is no longer listed as single.” Which clearly means that they need to message me publicly and ask me about my new guy. And then I’ll have to respond that there is no one. As per usual. And that, my friends, is more embarrassing than being listed as single.

And why is there an “It’s complicated” status? Why would I tell you? Isn’t life always slightly complicated? Does it mean that I’m in love and he doesn’t know I exist? Does it mean that he forgot our anniversary and I’m just a little moody? Did he Facebook my high-school rival? Does it mean that he thinks we’re married and I’m pretty sure we’ve never been on a date? (Okay, so I know this last one to be true in the case of a lovely friend of mine, but even with her, the amusing status is lost on most of her friends who now probably just assume she’s fighting with a boyfriend she doesn’t have).

So I think I’ll stick with “single.” Unless I stop getting messages on my wall. And because I look to Facebook for validation, I’ll change my status to “engaged” (or “married,” for more of a shock) just to receive an onslaught of hilariously nosey messages. But I don’t want to give my parents, who are my Facebook friends, heart attacks. So then I’d have to warn my parents about the lie I’m about to announce to the world, and I’m not sure how well that would go over. So maybe I should just get married for real. At least I won’t be a liar (which is probably worse than being a wife. But I guess it depends on who you ask).

Oh, and in case you were wondering, you can get married in Colorado without an officiant or a witness. So technically you don’t even need vows, as no one’s there to hear them. So be careful if you’re signing any paperwork down there. You might think you’re signing a lease when you’re actually committing yourself to that person for life.

(This information comes courtesy of Beth, the all-knowing Vancouverite whose very presence at my birthday dinner last night was a gift in itself. Love.)

But I digress. Back to Facebook.

It’s easier to snoop on Facebook than it is on MySpace (which apparently continues to appeal to the working class, while Facebook has us “strivers” abandoning MySpace in droves. Yes, I read or in the blogging world. If my Friend A and Friend B are friends with each other, with one clever click, I can read their conversations. I can find out what they’re doing, where they’re going, how much fun they’re having in a world that doesn’t include me. This morning I realized that my messages to friends regarding my birthday could be quite isolating to other friends who interpret talk of birthday fun as disregard for their party-craving feelings. I suppose photo albums can do the same thing. But this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop posting. I’m just going to become less sensitive and try to offend my friends equally. So if I diss you on a friend’s wall, it’s just because I believe in equality.

Things to take away:

  • If I don’t post on your wall, I don’t mean to offend you. Posts aren’t necessarily a gauge by which you can measure my affection for you.
  • If I do post on your wall, I love you more than everyone else.
  • Just because my birthday is over doesn’t mean that I can’t go out for dinner with people. Or see movies. Or just party it up like it’s 1999. Which was a pretty crazy year for parties, I hear.
  • I live in Toronto. Come visit me. Consider this an open invitation.
  • I appreciate a “Happy Birthday,” but would appreciate actual conversation more. A combination of the two would be stellar.
  • Don’t forget me until next year.
  • Don’t send me naughty gifts. I will judge you :)
  • My mom once told me, “Don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see.” This applies to relationship statuses on Facebook. Just ignore them. Unless I’m engaged. Then I expect gifts. Real ones, not the Facebook ones.
  • My dad posted this today. I believe it captures the spirit of Facebook.
  • Facebook promotes ADHD. I am losing more of my attention span each day.


michael lewis said...

I find Facebook so depressing! And your dad's post on blogger was completely correct.

Once upon a time, we though blogging was socially isolating. No longer! Blogging is nearly traditional, a past-time or hobby, now that social networking....ahem....VIRTUAL social networking, has become the new black.

I'm sad now. I have no friends. Post on my wall?? Let's Facebook each other later. Ok?

(PS: Happy Birthday, even though it's belated.)

nadine said...

P.S. I don't hate facebook. And I like birthday wishes. I just wish facebook friends were real friends. And that people would learn how to spell :)

Beth said...

i had a witty comment earlier, but blogger wouldn't let me post. now i forget it. but you post on my facebook wall, which means you love me. YES!

you really should move to vancouver. for serious. serious serious.

nadine said...


You help me find me a job and I'll be there. For serious.

And yes, I love you :)