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Finished With Facebook

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By Kristen Hansen Brakeman
Saturday, April 18, 2009

I don't know how Facebook took over my life.

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For a long time I had resisted its lure. I mocked Facebook users, mentally placing the site's truly rabid fans in the same category as scrapbookers.

Meanwhile, I hid the fact that I had an account, which I had set up only to view pictures my niece posted online.

Kristen is . . .

For a long time my "wall" was pleasingly empty, no profile information or photo attached. Then, a few months ago, the invitations began to arrive. What started as a trickle, the occasional message to link up with other Facebook friends, grew into a flood. It was as if someone had signed up my e-mail address for an online contest.

After a brief internal debate, I rationalized that it could help me professionally to network with other freelancers in my field. So I plunged into the abyss.

It became clear almost immediately that "social networking" was really a euphemism for goofing off with work friends (or neighbors) who are also just goofing off.

Kristen is now friends with Lisa P. and Jon A. via the People You May Know tool.

I began sending and receiving invitations at breakneck pace. Unexpected queries filled me with glee -- "I didn't know Laura considered us friends." But unanswered ones induced anguish: "I sent an invitation to Jim three days ago and I've heard nothing. All those long talks we used to have in the edit bay. . . ."

Before long, my circle of work friends wasn't enough. I needed more.

I began to search for people from high school. I was confused, though, by some photos of my supposed classmates. Who were all these old people with unfamiliar names? I reconsidered. Did I really want to suffer the rejection of high school over again?

Kristen is headed to the grocery store for milk and bread.

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