Friday, August 7, 2009
Poring over the yearbook during summer break, I’d look at the pictures of the girls in our class and imagine their camera-pasted smiles directed toward me. Bonus if I found a candid shot of Tiffany Hile hanging out in the cafeteria or Ellen Hemmerlein bumping a volleyball. How these girls felt about me in real life didn’t matter; rendered in two dimensions, they found a home in my imagination.
Now it’s online. Everyone is a friend of a friend, someone Facebook thinks you should get to know. You read their profile, learn about the best version of themselves. You tag their pictures, wondering how you could have missed them at this or that party. You check their Twitter and their Blog, you Google them and find out they ran a 5K fundraiser for AIDS research. You don’t need junior high gossip about how so-and-so is easy or has a psycho older brother or only dates blondes, you get virtual truth instead.
This digital image is compelling, filled with friends, fun, inside jokes, and witty banter. Even the sweaty, lazy-eyed, drunken shots she begs her friends to delete are oddly charming. Click the mouse and imagine whole relationships with near strangers.
I’ve regressed to seventh grade.