Thursday, October 22, 2009

Facebooking in Greece

No, you didn't misread the title... and yes I have grammatically changed the word facebook. As a facebooker, today I decided to dedicate my blog to this current phenomena, fad, new trend (call it what you will) in Greece.

I recall that when I first found facebook, it was by chance. I had googled the name of an old schoolmate, and voila, I found a page which would not allow me to find more information until I became a member, so I did. Once I became a member, it then became easier to find more and more old friends, and suddenly I found myself lost in a whole new world - the world of reconnecting, remembering, catching up. No more "I wonder where "so and so" is" or "whatever happened to "whats-his-name". No, Facebook had suddenly opened up an entire new link to past, present and future. In true "me" tradition, I would spend any free few minutes punching in names of old and new friends, and I must admit, seeing those old faces, I felt that I had a more complete picture of me, all in one place, on one page. Now don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people who sits in front of a computer all day, but I really did find this site fascinating.

Since the day I logged myself into facebook, I have watched this new virtual experience grow and nurture itelf in Greece. The actual rate of growth is phenomenal, and watching it happen is even more fascinating. For those of you who don't use facebook, you have the ability to write small notes on your page, comment on your friend's notes, play games, use various applications and, the most exciting part, chat to friends who are online, in real time!!! A whole new world of psychotherapy has opened up. You can post a note when you're feeling down, and suddenly friends are cheering you up. You link to a song that defines you, and friends can tell you they like it. You can upload photos and friends can see what you see every day. You can be a whole other person on facebook, and this is where the problems start.

A whole other person. A world within a world has been created. Teenagers are facebooking all day, sending messages, sending signals. Bored, lonely, interested, in love, out of love. Whatever they feel, they just post it and it's there for all to see. People who live next door to eachother, who sometimes don't even say good morning to eachother, are suddenly chatting on facebook. Kids who are with their friends at school all day, are now with their friends at home too. So, is this a healthy way to be?

I don't know the answer to this question. I know that facebook has become a part of my day, and it has given me the ability to connect my past to my present and my future, but I am sure that here in Greece it has started to make social life a little less social.