In Memoriam in the age of Facebook

The infamous Spaghetti Factory birthday dinner.

The infamous Spaghetti Factory birthday dinner.

Today would have been my cousin Tami‘s 43rd birthday. I try not to dwell on the what-could-have-beens, or the sad realization that her longest-running and goofiest retort in any argument (“I’m two months older than you so there”) was no longer true as of my birthday last year. I have been thinking about her a LOT lately… but not reminiscing much with others. I was hoping to go to her favorite restaurant Spaghetti Factory to at least relive her through a plate of myzithra pasta, but the kid had a date tonight and the (gluten-intolerant) husband worked very late. Alas and alack. I only got to replay in my mind the last time she and I went there, for her 39th birthday, and she made the waitress cry by insisting she was going to be dead within a month and that was her very last birthday dinner. Oooh, thank you for the double spumoni ice cream! (For the record, Tami loved to tell people this to see their reactions, and she celebrated birthdays #40 and 41, too. Poor waitress. My kid just sat there rolling his eyes.) Continue reading

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Thoughts on “MeowMeowBeenz” and unintended self-representations

Unfortunately, I only get to see most of my co-workers once per week. Once. One day. Usually Wednesdays. I wish I saw my colleagues a lot more often so I could build stronger relationships with them, really get to know them and let them really get to know me. Luckily, we now live in the era of MeowMeowBeenz… er, I’m sorry, the era of Facebook. We are “friends” there, we “like” each others photos and status updates, and “laugh” (or LOL) at each others jokes. It’s a nice way to attempt to bridge that gap of 60 miles between me and the home office. But are they getting to know me, the real me? Today I was reminded, in a rather shockingly embarrassing way, just how our social media activity defines us to those we rarely see in person.

I'm sorry, but that's funny!

I’m sorry, but that’s funny!

This afternoon a colleague and friend I respect greatly essentially called me a party girl. I was puzzled. Me? Boring old teen-mothering, dog-walking, grocery-shopping, coffee-guzzling, recycle bin-tamping, workaholic me? Huh?

Then it became clear that my own personal social media policy was backfiring and I was creating a persona that was very one-dimensional. I try really hard to only share things on FB that are whimsical, funny, insightful, or are marking times I’m having fun — perhaps to record for myself that, yes, I do get to have fun sometimes (I often need to remind myself of this). Sometimes the fun(ny) is just a scene that was captured. There are also a few people I may have running jokes with or who I mock mercilessly (like my husband). Often I mock myself. I sometimes “check in” to places when I’m with friends because there is that one question that always gets asked: “Did anyone check us in yet?” as if not checking in means we weren’t really there at all (I’m not sure why I do that one). When I post something commonplace or banal, I do it because I’ve seen some sort of humor in it myself; I usually go back and delete those later. Come to think of it, I go back and delete a LOT of what I post, especially when there was TOO much fun being had (you know, what happens in Vegas…). Continue reading