Online Mourning and the Unexpected Refuge of Facebook

digital afterlife-header

Alone, I sobbed. Yet I sobbed with Facebook open—his life revealed and exposed in bits on my screen, his friends spilling tears on his profile. I sobbed at home, by myself, but also with everyone else.

Notes on Alternate Timelines and the Stories That Facebook Doesn’t Share

abstract explosion-rounded

I wrote an outline of my parallel universes at the start of this year. The beginning: 1. My mother and father, both born in the Philippines, move to the United States and meet one another, or 2. My mother (or father) moves to the United States, but my father (or mother) does not, or 3. Both my mother and father don’t leave the Philippines, but still meet each other, or 4. My mother and father never meet one another. And the end: 1. At the start of 2011, I live in San Francisco,… Read More

On Eternal Sunshine, Erasing Memories, and Facebook Timeline

blurry lights

The first time I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, years ago, I didn’t like it. The film, about two people who go through a procedure to erase each other from their memories, was made well, and I appreciated the vision of Michel Gondry. I also loved Jim Carrey’s more dramatic, tortured side à la The Truman Show. But the story scraped against me as I sifted through my own memories of guys that were never right for me, and relationships I had believed were more than what they actually were. I watched… Read More

Notes on Virtual Life, Part VI: Facebook Status Updates (And What I Could Have Said)

facebook graffiti

Facebook makes us jealous. Competitive. Depressed. Facebook stirs up that fear of missing out. Facebook’s meaningless, frictionless sharing—think automatic Spotify updates—makes us care less. Facebook is destroying our friendships. Our connections. What it means to truly interact and be social. And so on. You’ve heard this all before. There are many of these articles floating around, but after reading this Gizmodo piece, Facebook Is Making Us Miserable, I finally decided to toss some thoughts into the pot. The article, like others I’ve come upon, notes Facebook’s culture of comparison and competition: First,… Read More

Notes on Virtual Life, Part II: Facebook, Twitter & the Seeds of Compartmentalization

Barcelona, Spain

It comes down to compartmentalization. I find myself filing my friendships and relationships, online and off, into tidy drawers. Yet as I do this, gingerly and methodically, “friendship” becomes more elusive as “real” and “virtual” continues to collide.