Friday, July 2, 2010


Who are my friends on Facebook? I see thumbnail pictures -- small, usually in color, men and woman, occasionally a child's face that's probably the person's favorite picture of himself.

What are we doing on Facebook? Looking for real friends, possible lovers, someone to meet for coffee? Or promoting what we're doing?

I signed up because I wanted to find more readers for Em's Talkery, my daily blog. And, I'm finding them. I ask my new friends for comments on what I wrote about today, or yesterday, and sometimes mention what I'm working on for tomorrow.

I've been write-talking with one of my new friends -- a woman in mourning -- trying to comfort her like a mother, like a good friend -- she's sharing a little of herself with me.

I've bumped into a very energetic guy, political, passionate, knows what's real. Chatting back and forth, I see he's communicating with many different people. He's a leader. When he affirms something I've said in my blog, I feel as if I've won an award.

I've got people who are talking to me almost every day. It isn't like a phone call -- "Hello, how are you, how's the weather?" It's about me, the real me, or them, the real person responding, reacting to something I've said.

I love that.

I've got a gruff intellectual who barked at me for babbling. I barked back at him, and now we're talking about his Sci Fi stories and my novels. I have three fairly harsh dis-approvers, very real people who live on the other side of the fence. It makes me re-examine the issues and what I've said that infuriates them.

I have quite a few playwright friends. They have plays that I don't have time to read, but I see where they're heading, and comment briefly in a way that might be helpful.

I've got a rambling poetic writer pal, who's high on thoughts or wine or whatever -- it's fun, like looking out my window and watching a bird take off.

I like picking thumbnail faces of people who don't say who they are, or where they're going, or what they're doing, and asking -- often finding out more and more about them.

There's are a lot of thumbnails -- familiar faces -- show biz people I know whom I've "friended." They rarely respond, except to send me what they're promoting -- night club acts, DVds, albums, shows, parties, benefits. I usually click Facebook's RSVP box and reply -- "It sounds interesting, but I don't have time right now." Because they, like me, need an audience, and replies become an audience, and affirm what you're doing.

I answer every message, 15 ... 25 ... sometimes 40 a day.

As I'm falling asleep, I find myself reflecting on this person, that person as if they were relatives.

No doubt about it, I have a lot more readers, and a lot more friends in exactly
the way I need friends right now.


Anonymous said...

I started using FB at the suggestion of a few teenagers I was doing a show with. I had no clue that I would be hooked so quickly. It started as a way to keep in touch with friends. But, has turned into so much more. You're right, I use it to get the word out about gigs and shows and whatever, and ya know what? It works!! Know what else? Sometimes you find people you never would have the opportunity to correspond with. Like you , dear Emily.

Anonymous said...

You make me read more. This is good, as if i don't read enough. You're swell. I'm here for networking, finding friends & sharing any success I'm having - when & if it arrives.

Peace out!

Carola said...

It's wonderful that you are getting readers!

bo said...

I use Facebook for so many different reasons, depending on the "friend." I've been into online social networking for about 15 yrs now, so FB allows me to keep in touch with many of the cyberpals I've acquired along the way. Through FB, I've also reconnected (and maintained contact) with many people from the various phases of my life, many of whom I thought I'd never communicate with again. FB also allows me to keep up-to-date with several extended (and even close) family members. Via FB, I talk to friends from high school, college, various jobs, and even the synagogue we belonged to when I was a kid. In addition, Facebook has given me the opportunity to connect with many "celebrities" I have admired over the years, people who previously were completely inaccessible to me -- e.g., independent film producer/director/writer John Sayles and novelist/poet Marge Piercy. I also have politicians and journalists on my friends list. And on and on... I call it "non-stop shopping" for most of my social needs. ;) Facebook is also a resource for news and information -- a place of learning. As well, it provides a forum for my rants about various issues. ;)

Regarding you, Emily... I've been a fan of your husband John for a quarter century. I read your amazing autobiography back in the late 1980s, and never thought I'd actually have a chance to interface with you. And now I find that I can read your blog and watch your videos on YouTube and talk to you on Facebook -- mindblowing!

And on a meta level, with regard to online communication in general: 12 years ago, it was though online communication that I became acquainted with my husband. Were it not for the internet, we never would have met!

So... online bulletin boards, email, IRC chats, listserv mailing lists, and all of the various social networking sites now available (including Facebook), I appreciate more than I can say. :)

-Bo Dash