Thursday, September 11, 2008

MySpace is Your Space

I am usually the kind of girl who has a few very close friends that I know really, really well and keep forever, rather than having a ton of friends that I’m not quite as close to. Yes, that translates to: I’m not a social butterfly, but I’m also deeply loyal.

Take, for example, my absolute best friend, Monica. Our friendship began on the first day of kindergarten back in 1983. When I got on the school bus, she was already sitting there. I sat next her, thought she looked like she was nice, and then our friendship started a little something like this.

Me: “I like your blonde hair.”
Her: “Thanks.”
Me: “You wanna be best friends?”
Her: “Umm. Okay.”

And after 25 years, thousands of hours spent playing Barbies, writing plays together, and obsessing over crushes, after lots of bad hairdos (think spiral perm and eighties bangs), matching hot pink and black outfits that we wore to a school dance in 8th grade, college, marriage, babies, and living 3000 miles apart, we are still the best of friends.

So I was a little skeptical about joining some of the social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, which people recommended I do after I sold my book. I told myself that I had my friends already. And those kinds of sites weren’t really my thing.

But I reluctantly joined. I fixed up my MySpace page with a nice background, and then I became “friends” with my husband, my sister, and three other close friends who live near me!

The truth was, I was terrified of the whole concept of “friending” people on those sites. What if the people said no? Or ignored me? Were there cliques on MySpace and Facebook like there were in high school?

And then, after two virtual “friendless” months, late one night, I decided to go for it and friend another author I’d met in an online writing group. She accepted. So I friended another. And another. And then people started friending me, too. Some of them I knew – old friends from high school and college and grad school that I’d lost touch with. Some of them I didn’t – other writers and reviewers and even people who’d heard about The September Sisters and thought it sounded interesting!

Now, I have to confess, I’ve become a little bit of a Facebook/MySpace addict. There is something incredibly amazing about hearing from an old friend that you haven’t thought of in years, the idea that cyberspace can connect us all, no matter where we live or what we’re doing. As a result of finding each other on MySpace, I even got to have lunch with a friend from high school whom I hadn’t seen in 8 years when she came out to Arizona for a wedding.

It is also really terrific to be able to use the Internet to e-meet new people that I probably never would’ve met otherwise -- like my new cyber-writer friends, The Novel Girls! And I am very, very excited that the world of grogs and social networking sites will allow me to connect with and become cyber-friends with my readers in a few months.

Hmm. Maybe I am turning into the kind of girl who likes having a lot of friends. At least, in cyberspace. So if you’re reading this, stop on by and friend me. I will gleefully accept!



Lesley Livingston said...

That's really interesting - your experience with on-line 'friending' almost exactly mirrors mine!

And it is really very cool to think that we will be able to interact with our actual readership thanks to the invention of these electronic friend facilitators!

Tracy Madison said...

Great post, Jillian! I haven't delved into the MySpace pool on my own yet, but your post has edged me on. Maybe in the next week or so, lol.

Maureen Lipinski said...

At least you had the guts to make the jump--I've still managed to avoid any kind of social networking sites since, frankly, all of my younger siblings would have like way more friends than me. And it would be kind of embarassing since they'd probably publicly mock me at family gatherings.

Lisa Patton said...

Aww, Jillian, I loved your post. Very heartfelt. And I thought I was the last one to join Facebook. I'm still holding out on My Space but I'm sure it's just a matter of time!

Jillian Cantor said...

Thanks for the comments!

I hope you all get on those sites soon. They're lots of fun!

(Though, I do understand what it's like to be out-friended by a younger sibling!)

teresa urias said...

Jillian, I too think it is a great way to reconnect with old friends. We are all afraid of rejection, but these networking sites are so rewarding. Every once in awhile you might not get accepted, people have their reasons for not wanting individuals into their private lives. For the most part, it is an exciting journey of reliving memories and sharing about our today. I agree that people should give it a shot. They just might be surprised!

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jillian Cantor said...

So eloquently put, Teresa :-).

Rachel Cantor said...

I must say I am proud to be one of your first cyber-friends on Myspace and Facebook. I may have more "cyber-friends" then you do now but just wait until The September Sisters is published.
I've been lucky enough to read an advance copy of The September Sisters. If Becky and Abigail Reed had a Facebook and Myspace page they would have made it a competition to see who could get more friends. But in real life, I am just a proud younger sister.
Sincerely Yours,
Your June Sister:-)

Jillian Cantor said...

That's sweet, Rach! You are an awesome June sister, real friend, and cyber-friend!!

Liz said...

Hey, that's me! I feel so honored to be mentioned in your friendship post. Reconnecting with you has been my greatest online "friending" success. I have been reading both of your blogs and enjoying every word. This is such an exciting time for you!