Last week, one of my students posted an announcement on Facebook that Friendster is shutting down. Although I haven’t been active on Friendster within the last couple of years–and even though Friendster is not closing down but only reformatting itself–I was saddened just a little bit. Why? I had started blogging on Friendster. On May 31st of this year, that blog, as well as all testimonials and photos, will be deleted. More nostalgic than I had expected myself to be, I logged in to access the Friendster Exporter and started downloading my blog. To my surprise, I found out that my “special friend’s” ex was still in my recent “Who’s Viewed Me?” After all these years…
It reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my closest friends. She had shared that she once had an “Internet boyfriend.” I really thought that the guy was into her. He called her on the phone, IM her any time of the day, and was already looking up flight schedules so he could finally meet her and her family. Unfortunately, before the trip could take place, he met someone who’s nice AND living in the same city.
Although it didn’t really break my friend’s heart, she admitted that she felt a little hurt and inadequate. Since she and the guy were still Facebook friends, she told me how she would check out everything she could find on The Girlfriend. At first, she simply wanted to know how she looked. Then, she wanted to find out what she’s like and how they communicated with each other. Later on, my friend realized that the more she knew about the girlfriend, the more miserable she became. So, she said, “Enough of this,” and kissed her fixation goodbye. I am happy to report that she is now in a fulfilling relationship with a great guy. I just don’t know whether she cyber-stalks his ex-girlfriends.
What is it with the Internet that makes instant snoops–and masochists–out of the best girls? I know someone–let’s call her S–who came across her boyfriend’s ex’s blog totally by accident. S was blog-hopping one day, and as she clicked “Next Blog” (on Blogger)–lo and behold! She found herself face-to-screen with her boyfriend’s ex’s face. There would have been nothing to it if only S didn’t do the next thing she did: browse through “Archives,” specifically those dated during the time her boyfriend and the ex were still together. Lucky for her, there were no cheesy montages. What if there were?
The Internet can be an entire network of Pandora’s boxes. One absent-minded click can open up floodgates of happy memories in your partner’s life that you were not a part of. If your relationship is not founded on something strong, it can drown. A guy friend once told me that what he hates about the Internet is that “it makes people feel entitled to probe someone else’s life” and that it serves as a venue for “social vultures” to feast on others.
These stories make me rethink blogging. If I blog about a boyfriend, and we break up, what are the chances that his future girlfriend or wife (gulp) will come across it? And if she does, what are the chances that it’s going to cause trouble in their relationship? In ancient days of snail mail, photographs and love letters–which, I must admit, are still far more special and valuable in my eyes–can easily be burned after a relationship has failed. With e-mail and digital photos and blogs, do we go over gigabytes of memories and delete files one by one? What about cached pages? Do we go to the extent of requesting Google to remove the cached version of a site just so it will not break someone’s heart in the future?
Recently, I’ve posted a survey via Facebook’s “Question”: WOULD YOU READ YOUR BOYFRIEND’S/GIRLFRIEND’S BLOG FROM THE TIME THAT THEY WERE TOGETHER? A majority of them answered YES. Would you? Why? Why not?