the old versus new facebook generation (no, not the layout change)

Very recently more people from my high school years have been finding me on facebook and friending me. When this first started happening, i was wary to accept their requests, mainly because the people who i’m still friends with from my high school i still keep in contact with, so why would i start rekindling interaction with other former high schoolers whose relationship was such that i haven’t seen or talked to them in over a decade and a half? it again felt like it was a degree of voyeurism and a particular sense of artifice that i touched upon when i first joined facebook.

since then, i’ve been much more open about letting any random high school acquiantance or former friend into my… “facebook life” as a self-psychological experiment, which is too complicated to get into with this entry. And since i’ve started doing this, a particular line of thinking has come into my brain having to do with the difference between facebook users of my high school/college generation versus the current high school/college generation.

For me, seeing these faces come back onto my radar in little snippets slowly but continuously feels like a very time-stretched version of the 10-year or 20-year high school reunion – and those sort of reunions have always seemed odd to me. After high school, i don’t hear anything from some of these people and then a decade later, the fact that we went to the same high school and maybe had passing conversations in the hall or were in classes together during a highly developmental time in our lives is supposed to be some sort of relevant “common ground” to shake hands?

One thing that facebook has taught me about this is that at least in an online concept, going through that is not merely not as painful as i thought it would be, it’s actually fun. i’m so fascinated with people and their experiences in general that any excuse to see where people are in their lives and the direction their paths take is awesome and valuable even if they’re strangers, so having some background on even casual acquaintances and where they are now is fascinating. But with some people, i scratch my head as to why they would be interested in anything about *me*; in my head, i’d be thinking, “who are you again?”, or “didn’t we talk maybe twice in the whole time we were in high school?”, or “didn’t you think i was a total loser?”

granted, again, all of us are in different places than we were, and so maybe the reinteraction is a reflection of that.

I’m tangenting again. The point is, people who use fb that are in high school and college now will never have that “stretched out 10-year reunion” sort of feeling. Facebook takes away that potential whether negative or positive to link to a past that was forgotten because facebook makes it much more difficult to create a true “past”. Ten years from now, they’re not going to be suddenly contacted and friended by people that they haven’t heard from in all that time since high school/college. Instead, ten years from now, they would have been casually reading through ten years of status updates, and casually looking at ten years of photos.

i feel like there’s a significant long-term implication about that, and i’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe just that people who are a part of the current fb generation get more of a blur between what their past is to their present. The cynical side of me thinks that this can be problematic. i’m certainly not the same person now than i was in high school, and some of what i put into the past i want to keep in the past. Seeing how people are now after the decade gap is fine because i see them more the way they are now and how they’ve changed, so they don’t feel as much a part of my past as much as a different form and hybrid version of the present. But with people now, what happens when they change, when their lives meander down different paths and they don’t feel connected to the friends that seemed so important to them in those years? Do they defriend them on fb? ignore them?

And that’s another difference between the current internet generation versus the past non-internet generation: before, when people went their separate ways, it was more acceptable to fall out of contact simply because keeping in contact wasn’t an easy task. Now, even when people move to the other side of the world, the internet can keep them connected whether they want to or not, and there’s almost this internet social stigma, a pressure to not lose touch with people who they may only vaguely know or relate to. You defriend someone on facebook and it can cause drama and turn an anthill into a mountain. “why did she defriend me? are we not friends anymore? do i ask? what does it mean? do we no longer say hi when we pass in the hall? do i not call or invite her to a party if i come back into town visiting?” as if the concept of “friend” on facebook or LJ or anywhere in that “slice of life” paradigm actually is necessarily equivalent to a real friend.

For me, i still have a fairly clear understanding that fb is a mere touchpoint of what actual human interaction is supposed to be about. That said, i do accept it more than i used to because honestly it is kind of nice to see what people from my past are up to and how they’ve changed (or maybe it should be more accurate to say how they present themselves as changed). In the long run, though, it can still feel cheap, especially because since i’m not always the greatest at getting back to people nor sometimes being the most organized about important things, fb can make it seem like those shortcomings are amplified, and that may be somewhat true, but some of it is also sijmply that the more people i get exposed to on fb, the more my people energies can potentially get spread too thin.

Originally posted on darkblog resonate.  I welcome any thoughts or comments there.

backtrack on trackbacks

so there have been a few times when people have linked some of my writings here, and as such, i would get trackback notifications.  until today i didn’t understand what was going on, and thought it was just botspam attempting to create a malicious external link.


i guess this hurts me more than anything else as i don’t know who’s linking my stuff prior to now, so i’m not too worried about it.  it just makes me feel like an idiot for not getting it until now.  this entry is thus the public dunce cap on my head that i’ll bravely wear for a little while as now i know better.

it’s tempting to create some sort of regular feature to this blog such as weekly telly show reviews or something, but i’m not sure that i want to be confined to that sort of structure, nor do i want to alienate readers who may not be interested in some of the geeky telly culture that i’m a part of.  We’ll see, though.  If i have strong feelings about upcoming things that i’m watching that i feel warrants a Resonate sort of entry, i’ll probably post it.

it is my blog after all, right?  i’m not sure what the heck i’m babbling about.

breaking in the new blog

i’ve had a blog through livejournal for almost six years now. it’s time to change it up a little bit.

the design of my banner went through a lot of failed attempts. the original idea was to take a particularly visually appealing portion of one of my modern-notation pieces and contrast-gradient the music into the existing gradient background. The problem with that is when you move a black foreground and a white background gradually to a white foreground and a black background, the middle foreground grey matches the background grey. can’t have that.

So i cut up parts of the music into three segments and tried to place them in such a way that they would flow from left to right, but it was too disjunct and too busy no matter what i did with the colors and the positioning. Unsatisifed, i nixed two of the segments and kept the accelerando and started fiddling with its placement. The original placement was smaller than what you see, gradienting to a stark white and existing below the “darkblog resonate” header.

The problem with that is that it left the middle very empty. Putting other music there had already proven to be unsuccessful, so i tried putting something else there, a textured treble clef not unlike the treble clef that I have in my livejournal icon, but after a week or so of looking at it and getting some general guidance from katie, it was determined that that just didn’t fit the bill.

I *think* i’m happy with the final design, for which i can thank katie for guidance. expanding the accelerando figure to encompass more of the screen and changing the gradient from a complete white to a spotlight grey feels more subtle and less intrusive.

i think that’s the 01:30 entry you’re going to get. As a “Grand Opening!” blog entry i think i pretty much failed, but i’m pretty happy with the bio page, so that makes it okay. If you haven’t read it yet, do, because it explains why i decided to create this blog in the first place.

and yeah. welcome to my new world.