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Opinion

Facebook for the skittish

For 20-somethings and younger, having a social netwroking account is as second-nature as having a cell phone or e-mail. But for other age groups, it can take some real convincing to get them on board. WFAE commentator Sally Phillips says she was dragged into it kicking and screaming. I've been on LinkedIn for a couple of years because it was useful for work, but I was a bit dubious about Facebook's value. Soon enough, I got caught up in the Facebook craze. It all started the same way many people get involved: one lonely night, when no one else is around, you covertly log on to see what the fuss is all about. You harmlessly fill out the minimum information needed to get a Facebook page. And then it posts . . . Soon enough you are overwhelmed with friend requests, group invitations, event invitations, and requests for hugs, smiles and surveys and options for personality tests, which-character-are-you tests and which-tree-are you tests. And don't even get me started on the games! Some of the Facebook etiquette is straightforward: you are free to ignore requests if you like and it's common knowledge that you don't friend your teenagers. But etiquette gets a bit fuzzy when "they" find you. You know the "they" I mean: your high school alumni group. How do you handle that? Not having many friendships that have survived since high school, I was first requested to be friended by a high school mate that was so distant, I only vaguely remembered the name and had to look him up in my yearbook to place him. Once I placed him, I accepted his friend request without much thought. Then the flood gates opened up: I got more friending requests than I could imagine. It's probably important to note here, that I was not "the popular kid" in high school. With my glasses, braces and inability to contribute to any sport, I was relegated to the periphery of the "in" group. I knew most of the popular kids in my class of 735, but was subject to their whims. Would they say hello to me as they passed me in the hall? Would I be invited to their weekend party? Well, clearly I survived those years of teenage angst, but through the magic of Facebook, I'm now reliving them and faced with the same silly conundrums. What is the protocol for friending the football star, head cheerleader or talented thespian? Has the statute of limitations run out for the cliques? Will they still think of me as that same wall flower? (Based on their photo albums, they are still the beautiful people - it's just now they have beautiful children and beautiful spouses!) For now, I have chosen to stay on the sidelines, letting high school chums approach me. I figure I can't go wrong there. The only nagging question I have is who posted a picture of my high school boyfriend and me during our junior year? I confirmed he didn't and I know I didn't, so who else would have held on to this innocuous photo for 30 years and then felt it worthy of scanning and posting on Facebook? And more importantly, why? I guess this is just one more element of cyber-protocol to figure out.