Where do we go when we are no longer on Facebook? It’s a silly question, but just yesterday I was trying to recall someone from my past and realized that I could not remember their full name. After much mental anguish I managed to remember the first name, but had zero idea about the last. The person I was trying to recall was not someone I was particularly close with and couldn’t simply find “mutual Facebook friends” to aid me in my search. With only a name and a rough geographic location for this person (not even a university or place of employment to guide me), this childhood friend is totally gone from my reality.
This little experience made me want to do a mental exercise with myself. I tried to remember as many first and last names of childhood friends, classmates, and old colleagues that I could. Through this challenge, I realized that 95% of the people that I was in contact with just 10 years ago have zero place in my life now. I am in my mid-twenties and I have moved away from the place where I grew up. Aside from one friend and family members, there is literally no one who existed in my reality 10 years ago who still exists in my reality today. However, at the same time I still have many people from 10 years ago as my Facebook friends.
It is very interesting to see people grow and change but be there for none of it. Sam is getting married! Dick is having a child! And, Harry just started his residency at med school! Everything just seems to be happening all of the sudden when you are able to fit it in a quick post with a few pictures. Aside from ads and articles, my Facebook feed is basically a timeline of small complaints and major life accomplishments. However, there is still a subset of the population who is not on Facebook. Who are these people? Will I still remember them in a few years without a post to remind me of their existence? What if I get permanently locked out of my Facebook account, will I just lose… everyone?
Sometimes this is a real concern for me. With a very busy work schedule and friends who are moving away left and right, it is very easy to lose touch with someone for long periods of time. Our lives may not be this crazy forever though, and one day we may just want to reconnect with long-lost friends. My brain apparently has a finite capacity for first/last name combinations, but I hope that there will always be a way to return to lost friends. Whether it’s through social media, phone, or a private investigator (I kid!), I hope there will always be channels open to us to reconnect and re-engage with those who we were close to.