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.: 12.04.2009 

The Subtle Cruelty of Facebook

You find someone from your past and friend him or her. The memory accepts your request and becomes a real person again. You share in their joys and triumphs, their letdowns and sorrow. They share in yours. You build new images of the someone you previously only knew in a single context.

More memories appear in connection, a vast network of shadows and tricks of the light that make sparks in your mind. One of them is bittersweet. Your cynicism overtakes you and you make mental wagers as to how long before a binary wall is built to obscure you from view. A few days pass and you seriously consider going on the offensive. In the end, however, you reconsider. You think it's been long enough. You think you've got a shot. You think the kettle could be put on and a cup of tea shared and things could just be comfortable again, friendly and funny. You don't push. You don't send messages, write on walls, or request friendship. You just let the bittersweetness linger in a familiar way and hope it resonates.

And Facebook, in its hardcoded, gentle politeness, doesn't mention that you are not, apparently, bittersweet in kind. It doesn't point out that your memory is actually busy living its own life. It doesn't so much as whisper when the wall is built.

All this you find out on your own, months later. When you thought things had been going so well.

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