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Friday, January 4, 2013

Not Quite a Tweeter Yet!

So I'm back in the world of social media and I guess I forgot how much fun it was. Oh yes, and how much time it takes. And how much emotional energy it requires. I remember now the very strong reasons why I left in the first place, and while those reasons still hold true, I have different reasons for staying, hence why I'm back on Facebook.

Facebook. The disconnected way of staying connected. Don't laugh, you know it's true. It's time for me to recognize that we live in an instant world, where not only must we have our food at the sit-down restaurant delivered to our table simultaneously with the 5 other special orders with no cheese, hold the onions on this, no tomatoes on that, etc., we must have our magazines delivered digitally (Newsweek just printed their last paper edition), we tap our foot impatiently at the copy machine that spits out only 12 pages per second, and yes, we must be able to connect with other people immediately. Right now. With not a second to lose.

With text messaging, smart phones, and Facebook, it's kind of difficult not to get ahold of someone when you need them. If you actually have the time to call them, and they don't answer, you can text them. If they still don't answer, and you've checked Facebook and they're not online, you can always call/text/Facebook one of your 150 mutual friends to see why the person you are trying to get ahold of won't answer.

Why do we have this urgent need to connect, albeit through technology? What happened to the days of snail mail, or even dial-up internet? Why is our world so rushed, and in the midst of it, why are we not content to connect with the people we can see face-to-face, but rather hurry to gather 2,050 friends on Facebook? Why is it imperative that in the very moment that we think we should contact someone, we have to get ahold of them at all costs? Why do we have no regard anymore for people's personal lives, when perhaps they are eating or playing a game with their children or taking a relaxing walk? Why are we so impatient?

We all know someone, at least one person, who when they are invited to join a group of friends to go out to eat or hang out, they spend the entire time staring at their smart phone as they furiously text, update their status, tweet, and see whether it's raining in Matchika (actual country in Central African Republic). I think that is my biggest pet peeve, to be around someone who is so focused on their smart phone that they are unable to connect with any person in real time.

The last time I was on Facebook I, the enthusiastic sanguine, was super excited to suddenly expand my network of friends. I soon realized, though, that the extent of my interaction would be limited to typing on a keyboard, staring at a computer monitor, clicking with my mouse, and waiting for someone somewhere out there in cyber space to do the same. I quickly grew frustrated, especially as there was no longer nonverbal cues (how can you communicate emotion through a smiley face?), no sounds of familar laughter, no exchanging of knowing glances with years of memories behind them. Now my best friend was a piece of plastic.

So yeah, I'm back in the virtual world again. This time, though, I'm being more realistic about it all. I know now that people will insist on clicking "Like" when they see something that interests them, that everyone will be excited for about 2 days after I add them that we are "friends again" and then never "speak" to me again, that among the pictures and interesting bits of news will be updates and posts that I have absolutely no interest in reading. But instead of relying on Facebook and other social media sites to connect, I'm going to try to put half as much effort into connecting in the real world. The one with people in it.

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