Thursday, January 29, 2009

Split Personality

I have, for much of my life, felt like I have lived multiple lives. Not multiple PAST lives, but I've felt that there are parts of my life that are quite separate from the rest. I think we all do this to some extent. We have the work life and the parental life and the church life and whatnot. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. And I don't think that I behave without integrity: the person I am in the theatre is NOT a person with different morals and ways of operating than the person I am at church. However, I do feel that where I am and who I am with effects greatly what areas of my personality are at the forefront. At church, particularly as the pastor's wife, I'm less political. I speak up, surely, but I am ever aware that most people have a different political take on things. On this blog I'm "Painted Maypole" and, as in real life, I choose which parts of me I'll put out there. But I've kept it anonymous so that I can speak a bit more freely. And I figure that if you don't like what I have to say, you'll read a different blog.

Now that I've joined Facebook I'm coming up against this. I first got on it when a dear friend from high school was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I knew I would enjoy getting in touch with old high school and college friends. And I have. I also had wanted to do it because I felt it would get me more plugged into the theatre community here. And it has.

But now I have friends from my mom's group. And friends from church. And friends that are really people my hubby knows way better than I do, but he doesn't have his own account. And now my insurance agent wants to friend me. MY INSURANCE AGENT. Granted, we're rather friendly with him, and have a church connection. But still. (I haven't accept it yet. The invite just sits there. Nagging at me).

Facebook is quickly becoming a dilemma for me. Because it feels like it is no longer a space for me. Before I post ANYTHING or join any group or post any pictures I have to think about all the hundreds of "friends" who will see it.

And in some ways, that's wise. Because what do I really want to be putting out there on the internet for all the world to see?

But in some ways, well... I dunno. It's making me come face to face with the different lives I live. And how they really are quite separate. And I don't know how to make them come together.
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I'm sorry I haven't been around to your places very much. We've had daytime performance for schools and I've started rehearsals for a new show and I spent several nights down in the city this week to cut down on commuting.

Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a greeting card.

22 comments:

Melissa said...

I'm the same way about FB. At first, I felt like I had to accept all of those requests, but now I don't. I either just ignore them or let them languish (I have about 11 just sitting there right now). I may actually go and de-friend a few people who ended up there out of some misplaced sense of guilt.

I decided that FB is supposed to be fun, and if including a person will make it less fun for me, then they don't make the cut. That simple. :)

Glad to hear the play is going well!

Indigo Virgo said...

I was using facebook for about a month when I decided to unfriend everyone who was not a local person. Lord, are these local gals BORING. Anyway....

I read something about the philosophy behind FB, the tracking of the connections, the goal simply to make the connections, not for the connections to mean anything, and it stopped me in my tracks. That is not what I am about.

And every so often I peek in on what people are talking about on Twitter and...well, I promised myself I would say no more.

I come back to the same conclusion time and again - there is no intrinsic value to any of these pasttimes, including blogging. I am not saying that people will not add value in their lives through these spaces, but that other non-electronic ways of using our brains and energy will always be better.

Yikes, how's that for a first comment?

Woman in a Window said...

I think you put this so well, the coming together of disparate parts. I like that.

I just got off Facebook last week. I became really uncomfortable with it's ever growing arms. There was a bit of a restructure sometime and I was seeing bit of comments from my friend's friends. I didn't like to think of my bits being viewed by people I hadn't approved. And yes, my "friends" there, weren't necessarily who I would consider friends in real life. Strange place, it is, and I feel (just me) a little dangerous.

ewe are here said...

I suspect this is why I'm not facebooking... I opened an id just to poke around it a bit, but it's not active and i've ignored the friend requests I've received. Just freaks me out too much...

Tina said...

I can totally relate to this. I have a MySpace and a Facebook, and I have members of my family, friends from high school, my boss, my son & his friends....even my husband's ex-wife. Needless to say, I have to be VERY careful what I put out for all to see.

Oh, I just switched over here to Blogger from Tumblr, where is your "follow" button? I don't see it.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I do get it-- I thought FB would be so fun and then after linking to my blog (duh, bad move) I thought about the high school friends I don't WANT to know what I'm doing in my life every day. And that friend thing-- if I wasn't your friend in HS, why on earth do you want to be my friend now? (Not "you" PM, "you" in general friend requests).

Rima said...

Yep, same thing. I decided to stop accepting friend invites from people who I don't really consider "friends." But as another commenter mentioned, there is also a feature now where comments that you make can show up on feeds of people who you aren't friends with, and this also opens up your photos to the public. It's getting little too far-reaching for comfort . . .

Bea said...

Nothing freaks me out like that "worlds colliding" feeling of mixing friends from different contexts. Maybe that's why I'm still resisting Facebook, even though I did give in on Twitter (not without noting that it seems very strictly to be an extension of the blog persona rather than a new one in its own right).

LaskiGal said...

I can't do it. I tried. I actually got to the registration page and realized that I like to keep my lives separate (you articulated the conflict so, so well).

I don't want certain lives to ever collide. I'm not even sure why . . . possibly because I am obsessive about privacy (well, not completely otherwise why would I have a blog--though it is for the most part anonymous) and I live with my personal motto of "thriving in anonymity".

Then there is the other part of me that wants things to stay where they are. High school was high school, college was college and so on. And, although my insurance agent is a very nice man, I think I'm cool with him just remaining my insurance agent. :)

And finally: "Before I post ANYTHING or join any group or post any pictures I have to think about all the hundreds of "friends" who will see it." UGH! Too much work. My brain hurts for you.

Please share what you decide to do about your Facebook dilemma . . . I'm eager to know.

Louise said...

YES! You nailed it. I just told someone tonight that FB feels like I'm living in front of a window I can't close the blinds on. I'm relieved one of the other commenters mentioned her plan to defriend people...that's on my to-do list when I get a few minutes!

The worlds colliding, how do I be myself when so many people know different sides of this self feeling is the reason I started this anonymous blog. But it has its downside because I can't figure out to develop a following without spending looooads of time on here! A catch-22, I suppose.

flutter said...

FB is fun, I use it just for fun-like purposes

kaye said...

Here is a link to a lovely post about one woman's musing on the subject, "The Art of Blogging". It was one of the things I read that made me decide to try it.

http://segullah.org/guest-post/the-art-of-blogging/

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I can so relate to this. I have my life as a teacher, and then ALL the rest of my life. I got on Facebook to communicate more easily with my exchange daughters and son, and then I had this explosion of students find me. So, yeah, I'm very, very careful about what I post there, and there is NO connection to my blog via facebook. Especially some of my political ramblings on my blog would be upsetting to a large portion of my students.

jen said...

FB is kinda weird, i agree.

E said...

I think I am too old for FB. My older teenagers would die if I were one of the FBing moms. And I am glad. I have to weigh my words with my clients, our extended family, our small town neighbors, ...well with lots of people. I don't want another place where I have to worry about what I want to say.

But you are younger. This next generation may be better at making global communities and this whole FB phenom will have been part of that I suspect

Mac and Cheese said...

I've been watching my worlds slowly head towards collision on FB. People that I originally planned to avoid are getting closer by association. I just decided to keep any posts light and mainly use it for lurking through photos.

Mad said...

On Facebook, I am my superficial self. I post corny updates and put up pictures for my extended family to see. I resist all apps and invitations.

On Twitter, I am a superficial, wisecracking version of my blog self. I converse with other bloggers in a more off-the-cuff and informal way than I can with blogging.

On my blog, I am (sometimes) a more fulsome version of my non-public self. This has helped me talk through some rough spots and polish my persona through writing.

With other moms from day care, I am a rabbit in the head lights, just trying to process social cues.

At home, I am me but not enough of me b/c I am always at the beck and call of someone else.

What I have lost is my private self. Motherhood took it from me but the internet is keeping it from me. I worry about that.

Amy Y said...

That is quite the delimma. I have struggled with it a bit, too... What I ended up deciding to do was to put what I wanted and who I am out there. And those that are offended, disagree or just don't like all of who I am can go elsewhere.
I am, like everyone else out there, a complex and multi faceted person. Sometimes I'm good, sometimes I'm bad and sometimes I'm different from what people expect me to be.
They can love me or leave me and I'll still be me.

Chaotic Joy said...

Kyla posted this on Twitter today and I thought of this post immediately. It's how to keep things separate on FB http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2009/01/30/30readwriteweb-how_to_friend_mom_dad_and_the.html

Wayfarer Scientista said...

I can empathise! I have a similar dilemma - find your post and the comments thought provoking.

Beck said...

Hmm, hmm.
Everyone I know - every single person - reads my blog. It's not a secret. Tons of distant relatives and high school friends are on my facebook page and I write cheerfully about my blogging on there, too. My theory is that if someone doesn't like the whole me, what I have to say, than screw 'em.

JCK said...

Such a great post and you explain the dilemma so well. I struggle with this, too. And blogger friends have found me on Facebook, too! So much for anonymous...