Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Facebook Crackbook

Question: If our world continuously provides ways of faster and more immediate means of communicating with others, then why do most of us feel very "unconnected, isolated and alone?"

I have been mulling over that which is "facebook" for a while. There are times when it seems to completely consume me (Crackbook) and then other times I don't check it for several days or a week. My interest in facebook began a year and a half ago when I was recuperating from back surgery. My long-time friend, Angela, suggested it to me as a great way to kill time. She was correct in that assessment. Later, my focus on facebook was driven by my pending high school reunion. As part of the committee, it was invaluable tool through which we found classmates and organized the reunion. That was in October. Now, I am not too sure why I am still lingering around those parts.

Most assuredly, facebook satisfies some basic surface connections, but over time it stays just there, never going deeper. You know all bits of trivial information about people, like what they cooked for dinner, how busy their weekend was and how accurate they are at weather updates (as if I can't look out the window). Yet, something is clearly missing.

Do I really need to know that much mundane, monotonous information about my friends? More poignantly, is it replacing a deeper level of connection that satisfies that longing of every soul - to feel as if he matters?

What I find happening through facebook is that you just stop talking...with your voice. You read these little bits and pieces of people's lives and think you have made a connection. You begin to believe you "know them." In reality, no meaningful, heart-filling exchange has taken place. No one knows you, who you really are and you know nothing short of how your friend's children made the honor roll. It becomes isolating and lonely. Before you know it, you begin to believe that the world is moving without you.

I am in a bit of a quandary over this one. Would deactivating my account make me "unreachable?" Hardly. I am in the phone book, I do have this blog and I do have an email account. Those that want to stay in touch will and those that don't are probably not friends I had prior to facebook. Deactivating would also mean more face time, a forced reason to call people, and more time to do just about everything during some weeks. I think it also means more time to devote to writing, something I clearly love more than facebook.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I just had this discussion with myself yesterday. I do find facebook very helpful, but I also find that I am wasting lots of time on it these days. It is taking time away from valuable interactions with people. I can't fathom giving it up though... so what do we do??