This is a tribute to Ashley Parent, who recently left Massachusetts to be part of the big city life in New York. Also, other than Ashley Parent’s name which I’ve plastered all over this post, names have been changed to protect the innocent. And me. I need protection too.
I’m sure there’s some facebook setting somewhere that can tell you what exact date you joined facebook but I don’t really have the energy to figure it out, so let’s just say it was about two years ago, on a Thursday night. Two lovely ladies I work with had been raving about how amazing and wonderful facebook was. It was every day, every 5 minutes.
Oh, how we’ve connected with old friends!
Oh, the places you will go!
Oh, how we can see what everyone is doing!
Oh, I just tagged a horrible picture of you when you bleached your hair in the 11th grade and posted it for the world to see!
Oh, we can see so and so’s kids!
Oh, we can see so and so’s wedding pictures, and did you see so and so went on vacation!
Oh, I lost 25 pounds just from joining!
You get the drift. Regardless, I was skeptical. At the time, I was working pretty intense hours – which meant late hours into the evening on my computer, and I did not see a reason to find something else to entertain me in the 25th hour of my day.
So, I may have had one (read: at least three) glass(es) of wine and said screw it, I’ll see what this facebook stuff is all about. So you go through your basic set up – what’s your name, birthday, blah blah blah. Facebook takes you along a lovely path of learning – facebook wants to know about you, and facebook wants you to learn about him. Pretty typical set up process. Until they ask you if you want others to know what you’re doing. They’re all “Do you want to alert others of your presence on facebook?” Now if I could recreate the process, I’m sure it would be clearer to me, but hindsight and all. At the time, I thought to myself, “Well, I suppose I should tell the lovely ladies that talked me into this that I’ve joined the bandwagon”, so I clicked YES. I figured that people that were on facebook, my friends, would be alerted to my presence.
What I did not realize in my carelessness, was that the question posed was actually, “Do you want to alert everyone in your address book that you’ve joined facebook?”. Even further, what I did not realize, was that the question, when really broken down, was “Do you want to alert anyone you have emailed from your gmail account over the past 5 years that you’ve joined facebook?”. Had I known, had I FULLY REALIZED the question, maybe the next 24 hours would not have looked like this:
8:30 a.m., email from Ashley Parent: Is this a joke?
8:45 a.m., 100 friends confirmed.
8:45 a.m., email from other coworker:BAHHHHHH, I KNEW YOU WOULD CAVE!
At this point, the confirmed friend requests were flooding in. No worries, these people were my friends. That’s what facebook was all about right? Geez, maybe I should have joined sooner.
10:00 a.m., 150 friends confirmed.
10:30 a.m., email from Joe Date: Hey Erin! I’m so glad you found me on here. I was wondering if we could reconnect!
Here’s where I got confused. Joe Date stood me up two weeks earlier. I didn’t even want to go out with Joe Date in the first place, but felt some pressure from my friends to seek out Joe Date. So when Joe Date stood me up, I was (totally honest here) relieved. I did not want Joe Date to be my friend. But how did I friend him? I don’t get it. I’m at work. I don’t have time to investigate my confusing reconnection with Joe Date.
11:00 a.m., 200 friends confirmed.
11:30 a.m., email from remote employee: Hi Erin! I noticed you wanted me to join facebook. Is this part of our performance plan? Will we be reviewed on facebook?
Here’s where I start to sweat. I don’t think I know 200 people? When I reviewed, I realized, I did not. One of my friends only had 35 other friends and they were all German. I don’t know anyone that speaks German. I have never been to Germany. How is it possible that I’ve friended someone that’s entire page is in German? (Pause for slight heartbreak that I’m so limited in my languages. Damn.) ((Pause further for German friend. Is he reading this post? I’m sorry German friend.))
2:00 p.m., 240 friends confirmed.
2:15 p.m., email from David Date: Hi Erin! Great that we could reconnect, do you want to meet up?
David Date was married, something that I learned about 20 minutes into first date with David Date. Date with David Date ended at 25 minutes. That’s another post.
At this point, I realized the enormity of what happened. Everyone. Everyone that I had emailed in the past 5 years, was getting a lovely little “Erin wants you to join facebook” email popping up in their own email accounts. Jobs I had applied for. Apartments. Bad dates. Professional relationships. Everyone was notified. There was no limit to the list of people that I wanted to alert.
3:00 p.m., 260 friends confirmed.
As if this whole event was not mortifying enough, at the end of this horrible day, I was in a meeting with my boss, my bosses boss, and two executives from a different side of the company. We were discussing strategy for integration. My bosses boss had his monitor flipped around for the 4 of us to see as we worked through different iniatives. This is when the outlook reminder popped up: “REMINDER, ERIN WANTS YOU TO JOIN FACEBOOK”.
My boss quietly closed the pop up, looked up at the group, and said, “292 friends Erin. Quite Impressive”.