I love Facebook, don’t you? Tagging friendsters in silly photos, checking out which assholes from high school had another baby lately, and giving sympathy “like”s to middling links posted by distant relatives aren’t just half-hearted time-wasters: they’re new ways of learning about and interacting with people whose lives you want to know more about anyway.

One person I’ll never be Facebook friends with is my mother. It’s not like we aren’t friends IRL. But every time a question of over- or under-sharing with my entire social network comes up, I think back to this one time in the parking lot after school. A carpool buddy recounted, in artisanal detail, the epic tale of a dreamed-up sexual encounter with Baywatch-era Pamela Anderson, concluding with the graphic birth of their fictional child on the beach. Mommy, who had caught the Red Shoe Diaries-caliber tale through an open window overlooked by the fourth-grade Lothario, didn’t say anything at the time. But she told me later that there are different little boys in every little boy: the one he is with other little boys, and the one he is with his parents. Twelve years later she taught me, on accident, another lesson when she ran across my (too) personal blog (RIP too-personal blog, some babies are too beautiful for this world) and learned far more than she needed to know about me. Like most LiveJournals, mine was a murky cocktail of fact, fiction, and lewd animated GIFs. While it was shocking for both of us, in hindsight it wasn’t a huge deal: we both realized that the person presented online was separate from the one that comes home for Christmas every year.