Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Virtual Disaster

I have long wondered if people who ask you to “friend” them on Facebook or another other social media site have hurt feelings when you don’t respond. I now know the answer. They do not. Let me back up.

When Facebook appeared a decade ago, my children informed me that I was never to sign up. That was fine with me. I do not care what Justine Timberlake ate for breakfast and I only read graffiti on urban walls.

Last week a friend asked me to connect on LinkedIn. One of my children, who shall remain nameless, told me that membership had “no downside” and could even expand the reach of my blog. So I accepted – and I got this sinking feeling when hundreds of emails instantly went out to God knows whom.

Soon I was hearing from people I hadn’t heard from in years. “I don’t want you to take it personally,” wrote one, declining my “offer”. “Is this really from you,” wrote another? Citing an article on the NSA, a cousin wrote, “I wouldn’t put my contacts on LinkedIn for the world.” “It’s really just an avenue for people to spam you,” wrote a fourth. Others I apparently invited included the Harvard Extension School, American Embassy in Bogota and TripCase.

Writing letters of explanation actually did connect me with old friends, although the sense of not being in control was unsettling. Still, with all the real disasters around the world, I think I’ll survive this virtual embarrassment.

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