March 13, 2012

uneasy alliance

(or, "an unintended ode to facebook")


Technology and me, we go way back.

I remember my first radio:  a wooden and mustard-yellow plastic Fisher-Price.  You turned a ridged plastic  knob, and music poured forth, accompanied by a picture reel featuring Jack and Jill fetching their pail and, lo! tumbling down a hill.  My favorite part?  The little window in the back where you could see the works turning, precisely-placed metal bumps brushing lyrically against tiny metal fingers.

So why did I pledge today to close out my facebook account?


I like the banter that is possible on facebook, the quick, quirky, back-and-forth between friends (or, say, little sisters).  I like the opportunity to tell the "world" in condensed form what my day is looking like just then, ask for supper ideas, or exclaim about the sunset.  Somehow it helps, if the baby is fussy, to post it on facebook.  Not just for the sympathy, although that's very nice, but just to tell someone about it.

I like the encouragement that people offer - sometimes not who you'd expect!  I like reading about other people's triumphs and struggles..... and voila!

It hits me, just now, exactly why I like facebook so much.

"We read,"  C.S. Lewis is credited as saying, "to know we're not alone."  Facebook accomplishes that in a way that (*gasp* I can't believe I'm about to say this) no book ever quite can. You can read Tolstoy's War and Peace and be thrilled at his apt descriptions of people and relationships:  yes, we're like that!  I am like that!!

But guess what?  Tolstoy, for all his sympathetic understanding of humanity, has been dead for over 100 years.  If he was the only one who really gets it, it's too late in this life to have a heart to heart with him about things.

So you find a contemporary author - take your pick; I like Brennan Manning, or for fiction, Alexander McCall Smith - but what are the chances that their understanding connects you with them in any tangible way?  Slim.

But on facebook, you read, you write, and you see not only that you are not alone, but that other people that you actually know are experiencing some of the same discipline problems with their children, the same joys over jobs finally finished, the same occasional exhilerating days, the same glorying in truth and beauty.

We're us.

And on facebook, away from the hairstyle and wardrobe worries (will I ever look cool enough?), away from the potentially awkward social settings (will I always stick my foot in my mouth?!), just you and me and all our friends out amongst the words, we can see that we're mostly the same.  Just people, who cry and laugh and rage and sleep and worry and love.

But.  This wasn't supposed to be an ode to facebook.  I am still planning to delete my account tomorrow morning (although now I hope I'll be able to open it again someday).

Facebook, for all its delightful qualities, has a dark side.

When I'm on facebook, I'm not on the phone with a friend.  I'm not reading to my children.  I'm not sitting in the hammock (okay, I know I could be, with a laptop....).  When I'm on facebook, I'm not napping.  I'm not catching up with my husband's day.  I'm not reading a good book.  I'm not planning school projects.  I'm not sewing or throwing pots.  I'm not working in my flowerbeds.

In short, when I'm on facebook, I'm not really in my life.

Sooo .... once again, I am taking a break.  And since I am so undisciplined that I have been known to "just check" facebook while I am taking a break from it, I am actually going to delete my account.  And since I just listed all the things that I love about facebook, I am hoping that I will be able to reopen it someday, rather sooner than later.


It's an uneasy alliance we have, me and technology.


photo credit for both to bonanza.com


4 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing. (I'm mostly testing to see if indeed i can leave a comment successfully.)

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    1. Yay! You did it!! Welcome, Little Sister! Hope we hear lots from you here, now that you can comment. :)

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  2. Thanks for linking this!! Girl I swear I have the SAME THOUGHTS and ISSUES with facebook!!! I feel like I annoy people with how much I complain about how much time I've wasted on there! It's great to keep up and share with friends and family but GEEZ. It takes up so much time. Constantly "checking" Or the worst is going about my day and my thoughts are about what my facebook status update should be in regards to whatever activity I'm doing... ridiculous! You've inspired me... I may think about deactivating... make a list of people I want to keep up with and make it a point to email or call them! There are several other people I like to see how thier doing but I'm not close enough to them to give them a call. Perhaps those people I dont really NEED to know every little detail about anyway! OK now I feel a new blog post coming on ;)

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    1. That's a great idea to be purposeful about who you want to stay in touch with. And you're right, Jessi - facebook can really be serious a time-gobbler! I'm planning to return to it after Easter, providing I can figure out a time-limiting plan for my usage. I have found enough benefits from facebook that I think it's going to be worth my while to find a way to use it well ... I think! We'll see. Maybe I'll love life without it soooo much...!

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