It’s been something like 12 years now, but I still remember when I first got on Facebook.
Spurred on by friends, I created an account. And slowly but surely, I either added people in my life, or they found me and requested me. Before I knew it, my initial friends list was pretty thoroughly populated.
I suppose that part sounds pretty standard — but the story gets weird at this point. Because I have a confession to make: Facebook wasn’t fun for me at first. It was, frankly, terrifying.
I was a very social person. But I really wasn’t used to addressing everyone I knew at once all in the same way. Instead, I did a lot of one on one social interaction. And I had a unique way of talking to everyone I knew. None of it was fake. It was all me, all authentic.
They had all just interacted with different versions of me. Some of my friends knew me primarily as a musician. Some people knew I was very openly bisexual and kind of a party animal in my past. But others didn’t. They knew me as a reserved, cautious person (who had basically been traumatized by my past exploits and was working my way through an emotionally fraught recovery).
But once everyone in my life was on one platform, things started to get a little awkward. Even if I was careful about what I said, the way my different friends would comment and what they said — well, it sometimes caused waves as different friends groups interacted harmoniously — or warred.
I couldn’t really control what other people said and did. And it truly did result in some stressful conversations. But over time, I managed the stress — and little by little, I interacted with my Facebook in a different, more holistic way.
And then one day, I woke up and I had basically carved out this new way of interacting with people that was all me. All the time. And not just isolated aspects of me.
Was it annoying getting there? Yes, sometimes.
But I’ve never regretted it.