You are in love with this girl that you’ve been tracking for a while on Facebook. You may or may not have met her in person. You know what she likes, what she dislikes (or at least what she thinks she likes or dislikes), where she’s from, who her best friends are who regularly talk to her, where she went for a hike this weekend, even where she is right now, at this very moment.
You know her like you’ve never known anyone before. Like from the inside of her head. You know her far better than your roommate that you eat and watch TV with everyday.
You know how her thoughts waver, how she is indecisive, how she sometimes posts a link and deletes it immediately, how she changes the wording on her status updates because she is rather shy and doesn’t want to appear too bold with sensational things.
There’s a dreamy quality about her that you like for she often makes the backgrounds of her pictures fuzzy keeping the focus only on herself and her friends who are always smiling, frozen in time.
This is who she is.
This is who she thinks she is.
This is who you read she is.
This is who you think she is.
This is your reality of her.
This reality is better than the reality out there because you write your own little stories connecting the big plots of her life, written already for you, as those facts on Facebook–those updates, those pictures, those comments from friends, those connections to reality.
This way you have your own heroine.
This way you get to author your own love story.
You know that character is less about those large black-and-white facts than about the gray nuances of people.
You get to write your own nuances to her character.
She affects you. She affects you just as though she were real.
There are those other characters too in the plot–those that make you jealous, those that make you laugh. Those that make you want to wring their necks with their Hallmark-y feel-good updates and those that are just blips in the sky with their huge propaganda-ish banners.
And then one day you meet someone who knows her. You have a conversation with him. You talk about her as though you meet her every once in a while.
You are even more convinced that you know her.
Which you do.
You are an acquaintance. A friend. Perhaps more. You are friends with her friend.
You are part of the fiction.
You create your own character.
You have now written your own past and your present with her and you will always know her in the future.
It’s easy to dismiss Facebook infatuations as adolescent silliness or a monstrous time suck (which it is) or a space for imaginary “it’s complicated” relationships but never before have we seen a forum with such potential for creating narratives with changing characters and intersecting stories. And never before, for generations up to the present, has reality unfolded as such multimodal narratives.
Fact and fiction, reality and story, history and mythmaking, all authored by the little people who are recording it all as their own lives.