So, I’m relaxing after a new episode of Orange is the New Black, or maybe it was a replay of Empire. And I have returned to the torture of becoming a face on Face book. I posted one message. Minutes later I removed it when a relative objected to it. Too personal, she said.
As a novelist, I’m open to revealing any number of personal secrets usually through a nom de persona, of course, so my fences around my privacy are jumpable and I have found out that my boundaries are not necessarily the boundaries of others. A good lesson for a Facebook member, perhaps: “Don’t tell the truth,” Not a good lesson for a novel writer.
I do try to keep some things private, for the sake of family and marriage, yet I indulge and in fact, am expected to promote my writing in the most unprivate ways, to complete strangers. “Social media,’ my publishers advise. “You need a platform. Lots of friends..” I’m confused about what that means.
I understand that I should not divulge my husband’s current urinary complications, but I do tell friends, real friends about it. But I’m becoming confused about what the word “friend” means now. I would like a few more friends the way I knew the word meant twenty years ago.
Facebook keeps telling me that so-and-so would be a wonderful friend, Twitter lets me know the someone in Ghana wishes to know me better .
Amazon, a new kind of really big friend, offers lists of books I will like next since people just like me have ordered these books too.
Today Facebook lets me know that I’ve not answered three friend
requests. Am I sick, it wonders, with great concern.
And the most intimate leak of information, for me, a reasonably private haus-frau, has nothing to do with choice of reading matter. It is my weekly grocery list. Lately, the local foodstuffs giant sends me coupons for many of the foods I’ve bought recently, recipes that might go with the cheese I chose a week ago, and to make sure I drop by in my weekly manner, a discount on the adult diapers I buy for my mother. In a friendly gesture, it sends a small check at the end of the month. To spend on the diapers, I suppose.
Next month I will enjoy few days at the beach with old ladies like myself, whom I’ve known since before anyone knew what digital meant, but we do know what friendship is, and we will share our ideas of what the world is coming to over glasses of white wine.