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In which I use LJ to praise Facebook [Jan. 28th, 2011|12:32 pm]
The internet is a beautiful thing. LJ has given me the discipline to keep a regular diary for about 6 years. I go back and re-read bits of it to remind myself of particularly good and bad times.

Not only does it allow some of my family to keep track of what's going on (which of course means I'm a bit circumspect, but surprisingly uncircumspect), but it has become a magnificent opportunity to create several quite deep friendships with people who I met on a fairly arbitrary basis (mutual obsession with a television show - Buffy the Vampire Slayer). We have gone on to meet in person (but not yet, alas, varina8), and to share other details of our lives. I like hearing about their daily lives, like I would with any friend.

FB is a completely different scene - the difference between a relatively private and select coffeeklatch, and standing in the internet equivalent of the town square and seeing which random is going to pass by. I don't search for friends, but people find me. A lot. One lovely incident occured about a year ago, when I started on FB, and a good friend in Uni who I hadn't seen in 20 years contacted me. We had fallen out for a reason related to my relationship with PG - to put it bluntly, she didn't like him (for good reason) and I don't do well with people who don't like my loved ones. But that doesn't mean I didn't miss her quirky humour and generous spirit (she's a big supporter of the RSPCA). I'm so glad she friended me. I find her posts amusing, her life interesting, and I'm happy things have turned out well for her.

Similarly, yesterday I heard from someone who had literally dropped off the face of my earth 26 years ago. We were very good friends in high school - she came to our school in grade 10, after her parents had gone through a difficult break up. My BBF and I immediately took to her, because she was intellectual and questioned things and there were precious few of us - so we huddled together for warmth. She left Montreal to go live with her dad in California when she was 17, at the end of high school. Her dad freaked me out. He couldn't help growing up in Germany during the Nazi period and being in the Hitler Youth at 13. But he could help joining another cult, Scientology, as an adult. My BFF and I visited Monika in San Francisco when we were 18 and she was still her glorious sunny self. But then she too joined Scientology. We had a stilted meeting at 21 - she had married and was living in Big Blue (Scientology's downtown LA headquarters), working in publicity for them (she was always very clever with words), and that was a bridge too far for me. No contact since then.

It was such a relief to hear from her yesterday. She left her husband and her 'church' after 20 years, re-married, went into advertising (or perhaps I should say, took on a different client), and had a kid last year, at 47. Fortunately a healthy and cute kid. I wonder whether there is a word that is the opposite of schadenfreude? I took great delight in hearing that she turned out okay. Please forgive my judgementalism, if you don't think Scientology is toxic and incredibly stupid, and any exit from them is a victory for humanity.

I don't want to be great friends with her, but I am glad to catch up. I find it remarkable that I can live at the other end of the world, and people can find me like that. Of course, some people I 'ignore' or even 'block', but there are advantages to checking in at the town square on a regular basis.

[User Picture]From: varina8
2011-01-28 05:18 am (UTC)
I think that's an excellent description of the differences between lj and fb. I know you can create filters on lj for a more intimate experience but truthfully I don't have the time or energy for all that.

Meeting in person...::sigh:: Any chance of you being NYC in early March? LA in late April or early May?
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[User Picture]From: caraway_
2011-01-30 11:28 am (UTC)
Who knows what the future might bring? I'm sure we will meet face to face at some point, Irene!
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