Facebook is wild.

I just connected with an old friend on Facebook, and we’re meeting up for coffee. Good times.

So I’ve heard, this ‘re-connecting via Facebook’ is very common these days, it’s almost “the way things are.” I pity the poor soul who still has no internet (but wait, isn’t that half the world? or more?)

So many friend are on it, I feel left out of conversations my circle of friends are having online. When they chat about things, I’m not…well, connected. It’s an awkward thing, this feeling. Unless I relent, I’ll be left out. Unless I login, I don’t plug in. Odd.

I resist because I don’t want relationships that are built online. But, I recognize that’s what’s happening right now. But I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s helpful. I don’t think it’s, ultimately, real.

Not to say, Facebook isn’t useful. I enjoy connecting with old friends. But I resist nurturing and re-building these friendships only or primarily via Facebook or other online ways.

What do you think?

Here’s a great article by Laura Mitchel:

Facebook can’t measure up with face-to-face.

LAURA MITCHELL, Cambridge
(May 24, 2007)

The Internet chat site known as Facebook has quickly become the telephone of the 21st century.

The quality of these programs is incomparable with versions of only a few years past. It’s an electronic web connecting seemingly un-connectable people. Long lost friends and partial acquaintances are suddenly reunited. Thank the Internet for that one.

What would you ever do now without these treasured new friends? The trace left when navigating through Facebook alone is something almost comical to watch.

“Bobby has looked at Sally’s profile.”

“Sally has commented on Donna’s pictures.”

“Donna has added Bobby as a friend.”

I can admit that I have always been somewhat skeptical about the overall appropriate nature of Internet chatting as a major way of communication. Not to say that I do not indulge in e-mails as an affordable and convenient way to keep in touch. Nor do I frown away from the former chat sites MSN or ICQ, as means to chat quickly. My skepticism kicks in when the Internet becomes the only means in which two people communicate – not to mention the source of a re-connection or initial contact.

The lack of intimacy via instant typed messages, paired with tremendous amounts of miscommunication, don’t add up to lasting friendships.

A solid friendship is based on knowledge, trust and familiarity. Typing to a person you knew six years ago, who you happen to see on a friend-of-a-friend’s, friend list, and with whom you had no prior desire to reconnect, does not come close to the sort of friendship you can acquire through dedication, and sharing of lives – leaving the house and computer behind.

I may be considered old-fashioned, but I believe that attempting to create a relationship through the Internet is a sure way of creating a fantasy that will never come true, not to mention creating delusions that may take time to work off.

The method, means and locations of meeting a love interest are countless; most happen by chance, many find you in a natural setting doing things common in your life – drinking a coffee or searching for a movie in a video store.

Connecting with people through the Internet does not give you the natural affect that a chance encounter would. Pictures pasted on one’s profile are carefully selected and approved for mass audience, posted comments are thought out, and one-on-one conversations are not as quick-witted as they may seem.

One’s overall web-based appearance, including font type and color, pictures and list of friends all becomes a strange mix between a popularity contest and a personal ad. It’s strange to find so many people dependent on these websites for entertainment and connection.

My advice is to shed the fear, turn off the computer, and embrace the excitement of a face-to-face conversation. You may have forgotten how much fun that can be.