I’ve been transparent on the net since 2006, almost three years ago. In that time, I’ve gotten extremely used to people knowing SOMETHING about me before they meet me. Some people know that I edit. Some people know that I hang out with a lot of chicks. Some people know I’m into Social Media, etc etc…
In December ’07, I wrote “Are You A Tech Elitist”, and in April ’08 I wrote “Digital Internet Snobbery”. The basic point of the two was that as I was moving forward with better Social Media sites, I was losing track of people that never moved ahead. This was fine with me, because I needed to interact with the progressive people in order to remain progressive.
Eventually, I realized that the people I was interacting with wasn’t a function of friendship, but a function of “who was it that made it to the next tech level?” Are you in AOL rooms? Me too. Are you on AIM? Me too. Are you on MySpace? Me too. Are you on Facebook? Me too. Are you on ooVoo? Me too. Are you on Twitter? Me too. They’re all a bunch of divisions, and being that there are so many hours in the day, the lesser formats of interaction and socialization are left in the dust. It’s necessary, because only the people on THIS level are going to find out first about the NEXT LEVEL and become “early adopters” and most likely the Heroes and Rockstars of the near future (as far as our fisbowl / echo chamber’s concerned).
After I wrote those, I stopped reaching forward towards people and started looking back. Recently, I found friends from former jobs I held (when I used to 9-5, back in the day). I found friends from MIT that I had lost touch with. I found friends from High School and friends I grew up with, so I decided to see if I could find anyone from Elementary. 🙂 This is what led to this post.
I had a very interesting experience this morning. I had sent a friends request to someone I knew in Elementary School. In ABSOLUTE hindsight, my “Digital Internet Snobbery” disallowed me from introducing myself properly. I asked the person who THEY were, instead of explaining who *I* was, because I’m so used to people already KNOWING who I am. People recognize me walking down the street. People recognize me at social functions. People recognize me on the internet (unless I’m wearing makeup… )
So, basically, my current Delusions of Grandeur plus years of being in the echo chamber transparency spotlight plus decades of being a superstar IRL combined to disallow myself to believe that I wasn’t making an indelible mark on people’s memories (*gasp* I almost spelled mammaries!… “Making an indelible mark on people’s mammaries!” :O no no no….. Anyway…) at that point in time.
So I FAILED to identify myself properly, and the response I got was [paraphasing] “Did you go to that school? I only add friends, and I don’t remember you, and neither does [ANOTHER one crony of mine from back in the day]”. So now, not only doesn’t person A remember me, but neither does person B, which implies that it’s possible that persons C through Z don’t either! 😀 There’s nothing wrong with this, but it made me consider whom I remember from that far back, and why.
I’ve always gone to specialized schools that you had to take tests to get into, so EVERYBODY was always SOMEBODY, to a degree. Yes, I’m talking about Elementary School, haha we’re from New York City, and people have to develop their social personalities very early on. Even in specialized environments, there are cliques. You have the rich kids, the cool kids, the athletes, the kids that all live in a certain area, the kids that all listen to a certain type of music, the kids that dress well, the popular kids, the unpopular kids…
Granted, there are lots of people that I remember by name and not by face. There are lots of people I don’t remember at all. I’m not claiming to remember everybody. Still, it’s an interesting feeling for me to NOT be remembered by somebody. 🙂
My memory happens to be visual, which is why I’m good as a video editor. I only have a few instances, but I have clear visual memories of both person A *AND* person B. It’s funny how living with those visions gives a false sense of closeness… which clouds the actual detachment of not being in contact with someone for years and years….
So I sent my reply back, citing mutual friends, etc, however, by the time I was writing it, I realized I wasn’t writing to my Elementary School friend, but to an entirely different person that’s had an entire lifetime’s worth of experiences since then. Basically, I couldn’t actually say “This is your friend…” in any format of present-day way, because we’ve been completely out of touch since we were in school together.
That was a sobering recognition, to say the least. I made sure to put in the note that I understood if they didn’t consider me a “friend” at this point. I’m sure there’s some sort of statute of limitations on friendship, hahaha 😀
So the response to that will either be positive, negative or neutral / no reply at all. Either result, I’m cool with. I realize now that you can’t just pick up where you left off. You can’t just say “HERE I AM!!! IT’S MEEE!!! :)” and have people go “Oh yeah… good to see you… welcome!”. That was THEN, and This is NOW. If you’re going to reach back to people from back in the day, then REGARDLESS of how entertaining you think you are IRL or on the internet, MAKE SURE that you present them with your current “friendship resume” so they can make an educated decision about whether they’re willing to try you out AGAIN as a friend or just let the past be the past…..