Tonight I went onto Facebook to post my walking stats and when I went to my profile to see if I'd been successful, for some reason my family profile popped up. I glanced at it and noticed that it showed just 3 of my 4 chickadees: Alex, Kath, and Christo were there, but Michael was not. I hit the "Edit" button, and he showed up, only to disappear again when I went back to the full family profile.
I then noticed that his profile pic was missing, so I clicked on his name, only to see this message: "This account has been deactivated. Only you can see Michael on your family list. You can unfriend Michael if you like."
I have to admit I had a moment of absolute panic. Ridiculous, perhaps, but it's what I felt. And no, I did not feel like unfriending him; sheesh, I can't bear to remove the names of long lost friends from old address books! So instead of unfriending my son, I did what every good mom in this technologically advanced society does; I picked up my iPhone and texted him: "Hey, I saw that you deactivated your FB account; is everything OK?" In about 2 minutes, to my great relief, Mike texted me back. Everything is fine; he's just in the middle of moving halfway across the country again and taking a break from FB in the meantime.
There are times I've come close to taking a break from FB myself, and I've had a number of friends do this before Mike did, but nevertheless, I always feel alarmed when a name disappears from my circle of FB friends. I always wonder if that person is OK, and so far, thank goodness, they always have been. This is the first time I've seen the option to unfriend someone with a deactivated account, though. That option strikes me as really weird, and horribly cold, but then, I do still have the names and addresses of people long gone from my life in my rolodex (remember those?) and address books. Instead of offering me the option to unfriend him, I wish FB would provide persons deactivating their accounts the option to notify friends and/or family that they're doing so. But that's probably way too old fashioned an idea for FB.