How do Facebook and Linked-In come up with all the people they think you might know?
Both of them have suggested I might know the woman I took to my high school senior prom. I do, but we stopped dating about five months after I graduated from high school. She introduced me to my wife the first of three times we met before I noticed. Since I was dating her at the time, I didn’t pay any attention to the lovely Saint Karen (who must be a saint to put up with me). My wife teased me about that for years. I only see her at my wife’s high school reunions where we always seems to sit together at the Saturday night banquet. I wind up saying how nice her parents were to me, and apologizing all over again for being such a jerk when I broke up with her.
I was a jerk, which is why I keep saying I’m sorry about that. I have nothing against her. I hope she has nothing against me too, but I’m pretty sure neither one of us feels the need to share our deepest Facebook thoughts with the other. Curiously, Facebook has never suggested I might know the woman I took to my high school junior prom, but I do. I’d describe the current state of my family’s relationship with her and hers as Christmas-card friends.
The reason I bring this up now is that last week, Facebook suggested I might know singer Billy Joel’s first wife. Where in the world did they get that from? Did Facebook suggest she might know me too? I haven’t received a friend request from her, and I haven’t sent one to her either. We have met, long before she met Billy, but I’m sure she wouldn’t remember. In grade school, I was friends with one of her older brothers. I used to go over to their house where we would play with his model trains and I would read “Tales from the Crypt” comics. My mom wouldn’t let me buy those, so I read them at his house.
How closely do people’s paths have to come before Facebook suggests them as possible friends? I have either met or known someone who has met four New York governors, one Nevada governor, one Virginia governor, a California governor, four (now that I think about it, maybe five, and maybe even more) U.S. Presidents and one of the richest people in the world. None of that has ever done me any good at all. Some of those people have since passed on, but perhaps things would be different for me if Facebook had only suggested that the rest of us become friends.