The somewhat agonizing ritual of sending holiday cards has been my way of keeping long-time and distant friends up-to-date on my life, and each year I feel a twinge of regret that a whole year has gone by without any other communication with many (most, really) of them.
Enter Facebook. Facebook hasn’t replaced my holiday card ritual by any stretch, but it’s changed the dynamic. Disrupted it. A number of people on my holiday card list are also my friends on Facebook of course, and so I can fairly assume these people are already up-to-date on my life. But outside that circle is where things get weird.
There are a number of people on my holiday card list who are not on Facebook and aren’t ever likely to be. Some of these people are really important to me – people I love and admire – but because of distance (physical and temporal), I don’t have much contact with them. In many cases, only once a year, via my holiday card.
By the same token, I have lots of “friends” on Facebook who aren’t on my holiday card list – people I once worked with, for example, but also people I knew in high school, siblings of childhood friends, random friends-of-friends, etc. By virtue of Facebook, these people are more up-to-date on certain aspects of my life than some of my really good friends.
The point here is that it’s strange that so many people who are not important enough to me to warrant a holiday card are so up to date on my both my personal and professional life (strangely blended, thanks to Facebook and Twitter), while people I love and admire deeply only get a thin mass-mailing from me once a year.
Part of me wishes that all my friends would just join Facebook already, so I could just… I don’t know… “deck the halls” with them or “throw a snowball” at them and be done with it. The other part of me longs for the slow world that existed before all this stuff, when we’d exchange nice handwritten greetings with the people we love.