Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking for granted

Carolyn Hax is a Style columnist for the Washington Post. She writes an advice column called Tell Me About It, answering questions sent in by readers. Her current column includes this question:
An ex-boyfriend recently sent me a Facebook friend request, which I accepted. I am married with children and so is he. We live several states apart.

After reminiscing about our past in private e-mails, I let him know that I had mentioned to my husband that I was in contact with him, and that he should feel free to comment on my wall. He had not done the same with his wife, and he let me know it would be best if I did NOT comment openly for all friends to see. I felt very uncomfortable with this but decided it was his business.

Months later, I wished him a happy birthday on his wall, only to notice that he had deleted my post. Should I un-friend him?

Now, I'm not going to reproduce Hax's answer, which after all is the property of the Post, or even offer an opinion myself, because, honestly, I don't care. But what did strike me was this:

Ms. Hax's column is printed (on paper) in a newspaper with a very large circulation, and is also syndicated in over 200 other newspapers (including my local one), and read by I-don't-know-how-many people, and yet the Facebook-speak is simply presented as common English usage, that might have been around since, you know, Shakespeare, and doesn't need to be explained to anyone. Friend request? Friend as a verb? Wall? Un-friend?

Not that I wasn't able to figure them out (even though I'm not a Facebook customer), but still.

By the way, if you want to wish me happy birthday on my wall, you'll need a can of spray paint.


Wow. Clever observation.

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