1. There are 6 degrees of Kosher Bacon. Which is to say, if you are Jewish and within 5 years of me, and I don’t know you, I know your neighbor. Your brother. Your cousin. Your ex-boyfriend that you’re FB-stalking. I know your frickin’ dog (who by the way is on FB). I just know you. And if you don’t see, on FB, that we have friends in common, that’s not because we have no acquaintances in common, it’s only because–
2. People hated their childhoods. Yup, that’s what I’ve discovered through FB. I had no idea before the FB era. So if there was a guy called Jerry Sanders and everyone back in the day called him Terry Tanders (for no good or obvious reason), and he pops up on my sidewall as someone I may know, I’ll immediately friend him. And when he accepts, I’ll write on his wall: “OMG–it’s TERRY TANDERS!”–and then he’ll immediately defriend me. I don’t know why. Is “Terry Tanders” somehow offensive? Probably. It’s likely that he hated being called Terry Tanders every single day of his childhood, but finally put all that middle school horror behind him, then, an adult, gingerly dipped a toe into that vast, dangerous sea we call FB, was perfectly content to see old friends write, “Hi–what are you up to? Where do you live now? Do you have any kids?”, and all was going fine and dandy until some bitch came along and brought it all home to him–the torture, the pain, the constant, unending “Terry Tanders!” So, to return to 1, we both know Terry Tanders, it’s just that Terry Tanders is all grown up now and prefers to be called by his actual name, Jerry Sanders, and is therefore just pretending not to know me. But he knows me. And I know him (of course I do! he’s Terry Tanders!).
3. A mother does not want to hear from her friends that her daughter is walking around town 6 cm dilated. It’s true. My mother called me up one day last March to demand to know why her friends were talking about my cervix. Listen, I don’t know why her friends chose to friend me–and I’m really too polite to demur–but if they’re going to be my friends, they’re just going to have to hear about my cervix. I’m an open girl (oh yes–pun intended, Mom!).
4. Teachers and students don’t mix. I know this is an obvious one, especially if you follow the news (there are so many stories of teachers losing their jobs for saying nasty things about their students online–venting is ok, but not on the interwebz–those teachers need to return to the old ways of venting by going to a bar, drinking way too much, and regaling everyone with hilarious quotations from their students’ papers–as long, mind you, if no one in the bar has an iPhone). You could imagine that it would be fine to accept your students’ facebook friend requests if a) you limit what they can see (like your cervix deets) and/or b) you don’t mention things they shouldn’t see (like your cervix deets) and/or, at the very least, c) you wait until they are no longer your students.
Case in point: I had a student we’ll call Butt. In class, he was quiet and had irregular attendance. I might have barely noticed him, but he wrote spectacular essays. Brilliant, groundbreaking, unforgettable essays. Although, I admit, he rewarded my rewarding of his excellent, non-traditional writing by becoming a little too non-traditional for my prudish, teacherly taste (as in his last essay, which began with a brief but descriptive anecdote of him performing oral sex on a fellow student in the library, before moving into his argument about Frozen River and Thomas King’s “Borders”). He sent me a friend request early in the semester, which I ignored. But once the grades were in, I decided to accept the request. I figured, What’s the harm? I soon realized the harm. There were at least 3 reasons my acceptance was a mistake: a. His profile picture: His back is to the camera, with his head half-turned to offer a sideview, and he is wearing nothing but a white towel, draped around his right hip. On the other side, the towel dips down to expose his left butt cheek. I wonder if, considering profile pictures exist to allow others to identify individuals (Is that the Poor Princess who used to call me Terry Tanders? Or is it a different one?), his is a particularly useful one? (frighteningly, the answer might be yes). b. His comments. When I posted a great article on breastfeeding and then another very different great article on breastfeeding, he decided to put his 2 cents on my wall. I believe he said something like, “These are so interesting. But then, I am drawn to anything with the word ‘breasts’!” Hmmm. Awkward. Last of all, c. His friends. One of them posted on his wall: “Professor Princess, that BITCH, gave me a C in English!” I clicked “like.” Actually, maybe that was a reason to keep him on. But Butt immediately defriended me, just like Terry Tanders.