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Thursday, April 9, 2009

CSI Facebook - in Search of my 5th Grade Best Friend

Late last year, a good friend invited me to try Facebook. If you're not up on Facebook, it is a social networking site founded by some young kid who is now a gazillionaire. (I'd like him to "Friend" me in his FB will.) I really didn't know what to expect from this, but I dutifully filled out all the forms and profile fields, having fun just playing around with something new. Little by little, more and more friends "friended" (a new verb coined by FB) me which allowed me to experience first hand what this social networking is all about. Basically, it is an open diary of your life including as many photos, videos and commenting that you care to opine about. There are ins and outs of FB, including discreet ways to "unfriend" someone so they barely know you knocked them off you A-list, or viceversa. In any case, I find myself taking daily peeks and finding out what my friends are up to. It makes it possible to enjoy being this quiet part of their lives and know what they are up to. Especially for friends who live far away, it really allows you to feel involved in a unique way.

But the best part is, it has allowed me to find some long, lost friends, - friends I didn't know how else to find. Originally, when I added my profile on FB, I posted only my married name. Then I realized I ought to have my maiden name somewhere in my profile. Within a few days of adding that, someone in search of my sister located me, asking if I was "L's" little sister. Sure enough, the inclusion of my maiden name made a difference. Serendipitously my sister's friend knew the cousin of my best friend from 5th grade. I asked the cousin to friend me on FB, and within days we were in touch.

The journey to find her has been fun. I actually tried other circuitous routes a few years ago, including calling her relative in our old hometown to no avail. I always wondered how my life would be different if my family never moved to Maryland, and how our friendship could have formed the person I am today. I always envied people who had life long friends because they never moved or somehow managed to stay in touch. But now I have one back. We only have to catch up on the 40 years of our lives that we missed.

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