Facebook is weird. I know what an old school friend, someone I haven’t seen for 20 years had for breakfast and I have seen the wedding photos of an old work colleague that I imagined I would never see again. I have been sent a friend suggestion that makes me laugh. She was the girl who bullied me at school a life time ago. Do I want to be her friend? Just to know what she is doing somewhere out there in middle America? More importantly do I want her to know what I am doing?
On the flip side I have reconnected with an old school teacher, the most inspiring teacher I ever had, someone who impacts my teaching style every day. I have found a long lost friend that I searched ages for and now we will meet up this summer and exchange memories. I can read the evening plans of two of my old students, I even know what film they are planning on seeing tonight, but does it all really mean anything? I now have these superficial connections to people that are not really in my life, albeit by a sliver through a computer screen. The people I really want to see, and hug and hold are not living in my white laptop, they are living in my mind, my past and hopefully my future.
Facebook has now overtaken google as the most viewed online search engine. To use a Trini term it is the ultimate “Maco” tool, meaning we can spy on one another and be misled that we know what we are all doing. It presents a warped truth, but one that satisfies some of our curious inclinations. Through Facebook I can see what my daughter’s status is and then berate her for spreading her private life throughout the cyber world. These are things I probably shouldn’t know and yet I keep logging in, coming back for more, looking, as I scroll through the names, for connections, knowledge of what people out there are doing today. It makes the world so small when in many other ways it just feels too big.
Those of us who live so far away, across oceans and continents, shops, markets and deserts, need to feel the world is small.
I just purchased my airline tickets to London this summer and judging by the price of those tickets the world is quite enormous. Instead of looking into my screen to hunt for shiny things and old friends I will have it laid out on a concrete pavement for my delectation and choice. For three weeks I will spend my days in London town, soaking up the culture, the dust, not from red pounded roads, but from smog and the frayed, chipped ancient paint from antique buildings. I will revel, spin and worship at the alter of the Great Shiny West.