I caved. I’m back on Facebook. Up until last week, I was not. I really did delete my account and stay off for almost a year and a half.
In the search for my familial roots, one thing became very quickly clear. In order to get in touch with some of the people I match with on Ancestry DNA, as well as actual direct family, I had to come back. My cursory searches for names and phone numbers and addresses would only take me so far. I knew I’d have far greater success being on the platform that more likely than not, my relatives are also users of.
And I was right, because I re-connected with an uncle, nephew and niece. I also found cousins – both on my maternal as well as my newly discovered paternal side (no updates on the search, though!) and of course some friends who I had not connected with in a very long time. That also meant that I would be discoverable again by exes and those who I just didn’t care to have in my life anymore.
For as much as Facebook has made it really easy to connect with people, it’s almost perverse how much it is the de-facto way people connect with family and friends. I can remember and reminisce of the time when we had to pick up a telephone and press actual buttons to dial a number if we wanted to talk to anyone somewhere else. Or, get in the car and drive to people’s homes or parks or other public places if we wanted to hang out. Or, write letters and send them in the mail and look forward to a tangible thing to hold in our hands and read.
That said, I appreciate how instant and immediate the internet has made for communication between people. And sites like Facebook have become really good at it, at the cost of making really public blunders with leaking data and allowing harassment and abuse to go unchecked. However, I feel I can mitigate things by locking down my account, only connecting with people I trust, and immediately blocking undesirable pages and feeds and games and apps.
So you want to be my friend? Tough. Unless you’re family, or you’re a good friend in real life, my account is locked down and private for those who are close to me.