24 February 2009

Now with even more stalking potential!

I used to work with a man who I thought was just your basic overgrown fraternity boy.  You know the type.  Loud, boorish, sports-and-beer obsessed, misogynist-leaning.  You've worked with him too.

He sent me a friend request on Facebook (yep, here we go again) and I sat on it for a few days before agreeing to friend him.  I didn't like the job that I was working when I worked with him.  I disagreed with him about nearly everything, from politics to religion.  I managed to mostly keep my hippie-tree-hugger thoughts/opinions to myself, but I don't really censor myself on Facebook (much) and I don't want to start now.  I felt like maybe I would have to tone it down a little bit if I friended him.  I didn't want to tone it down, nor did I really want to friend him.

When I first joined FB, it was to keep in touch with the people in Sweden.  That's worked wonderfully, and then it grew to a few friends in fandom, (great!) a few former high school classmates, (which was OK) and then, eventually, some professional contacts.  Ugh.  I didn't really want the latter at all.  

Talking about work on-line is a great way to talk yourself right out of a job, and dammit, I like the job I have now.  News stories from time to time talk about idiots who post pictures of themselves on FB smoking pot or what-have-you, and having a link to their employer on their page....when said employer finds those pot-smoking pictures, then you've posted yourself unemployed.  Idiot.

It was with great reluctance that I finally listed my current employment on my Facebook page; I felt I had to as I was sending messages as a representative of the organization through FB, so I thought I should be clear that I was in fact employed by them.

So when the friend request from a former work colleague came through, I recognized that keeping this person as a professional contact could have its benefits, whether I liked him personally or not.  Eventually, I granted the request.

He posted new pictures the other day.  Each time you post pictures on Facebook, it sends a nice little message to allllll your "friends,"  telling them about your new pictures.  So I'm curious.  I look.  Turns out that there's a lot more to this guy than I thought; he's quite the traveler, was married in a foreign country, has - apparently - homes in multiple places in the US.  Huh.  Perception.  Its a-changing.

Sites like Facebook give us a real double-edge sword.  On the one hand, we can get to know one another better, find out things about one another that might not otherwise come up in conversation.  On the other hand, it also gives people you barely know real access into some deeply personal (if you post it) information.

This doesn't really change the fact that I don't care for the gentleman in question personally; it has just made me realize all over again that what you see....ain't always what you get.

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