Ah, the interwebs. Our hyper connectivity is a double edged sword. On one hand, we can build a network of thousands of followers, fans and 'friends' with whom we can be constantly connected. On the other hand, this false sense of familiarity can be problematic.
People feel as if these little snapshots of your real life, carefully extracted and edited are somehow the totality of you. And this can be dangerous. An offhanded comment, a melodramatic blog post, a heated exchange, they all take on greater meaning through the lens of the computer screen. What we say has greater impact and how we say it opens it up to scrutiny and miscommunication. When you type your words on a keyboard, you lose the subtlety of spoken word. Sarcasm gets lost. The tongue planted firmly in your cheek isn't always apparent. What is crystal clear to you isn't always clear to the people on the other side of the screen.
And last week all of this hit me squarely in the arse.
I don't know how you navigate it all and I'm not sure what to do about what happened. I have real friends from several lifetimes all living together on my personal Facebook page along with fans and friends of friends and people whom I do not know and have never met in real life. It can be confusing and disconcerting watching them interact. They really don't belong together, you know. It's easier to keep them compartmentalized neatly into different eras. High school friends, college friends, theater friends, punk rock music scene friends, home shopping television friends, craft friends...and all of them also reflect different aspects of who I am now, who I was then and how I got from there to here.
It has happened to me on multiple occasions that people decide to mine my Facebook friend list to build their own. The problem is that a good portion of the people on that page are not crafters and are not interested in being marketed to by crafters. It is my personal page after all. And, well, it's kind of surreal really seeing people gather up my friends like a bundle of sticks and place them into their basket.
I am not sure how I feel about the internet. I am not sure how I feel about what happened to me last week. I am not sure how I feel about Facebook and Google and other sites tracking me and filtering what I see based on their perceptions of who I am. I don't know if I like how the internet creates these false impressions, false connections and false perceptions and I don't know how you change it without completely unplugging.
And I'm not sure if I can.
It's a brave new world.