Oh, the world we live in today…if you had told me when I was a little girl that technology would be what it is today, I would have felt like I was about to grow up to be a Jetson. I admit, I love my social media; I am a Blogger, for crying out loud!;-) I also am a huge Facebook user…despite, I do feel, at times, it can be a bit corrupt (Hello, did you see The Social Network?) & cause more bad than good….
I got my feelings quite hurt afew weeks ago by someone. We had a….disagreement? Falling out? Emotional banter? I am not even really sure. But, silly, naive me, I thought he meant it when he said he would always be my friend, always be there for me. Instead, I got home & had a feeling….the dreaded ‘Add Friend’ icon on a former “friends” Facebook page…I typed in his name, & voila….yep, he had removed me already after our argument! Really, man?! Are we that immature? Silly me thought our words would blow over & I would continue to ‘Like’ his links & such on his page, & be his friend. My wise friend, Lanora, once said, that Facebook & these “Friends? No Friends?” dilemmas can be a good thing, because they show you who people in your life really are, & you can then search for those that WANT to be in your life. I couldn’t agree more, yet, that doesn’t take away the hurt feelings that are to be had. So, it got me thinking, is all this networking, ‘checking in’ & knowing one another’s business really a good thing? Are people re-connecting & connecting for better, or worse?
“I am more aware of everything going on in my friends lives, yet feel more isolated than ever.”
I thought this quote, spoken from my friend, Heather, was perfect & summed up how I feel alot of the time on Facebook EXACTLY. Most of the time when we’re on our computers, aren’t we sitting on our own, at home, TV as background noise, board so we result to Facebook to see that our friends are out & about having fun? I have to keep my paranoia in check; so many times, I will see a friend is having a great time & wonder why they did not invite me? Yet, in reality, I know it is probably not personal; I cannot invite everybody I know to certain activities I find myself doing, either…& hey, I am a hermit…alot of times, I know I don’t want to be on my way somewhere, yet still wish I could have turned down an invite to validate why I sit at home in jammies watching Disney movies…sounds crazy, huh? Blame it on that isolation feeling of social networking. I also have had feelings of its BAD when I have those days I wish to stay put; the whole world seems to be doing something if you scroll down your Newsfeed, so why aren’t you? & why should you feel friendless? You have 379 friends on your list…probably over half of whom you would not even know if you walked by them, as so many friend those they don’t personally know for Farmville (Side fact: Did you know the average female Farmville player is 43 while the male is 57? That surprised me!) or other on-line gaming.
I came across a great article, The Negative Impact of Social Networking (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/negative-impact-social-networking-sites-society-opinion/) & the author, Dave Parrack, had an interesting point about who are really your friends in this day & age, “The idea of ‘friends‘ was once very simple.” he explains, “If you knew someone, hung out with them regularly, and liked their company then they were a friend. While the people who still fit that description are still your friends, so are the people you have connected with on social networking sites apparently. Whether you talk to them, care about what they’re up to, or have any interest in them whatsoever, they’re still listed as friends.” While I see his point, there are many people I do consider my friends despite the distance between us; they are still people I love & care for. He goes on to believe that, “This has muddied the waters considerably. I know several people who have thousands of friends on social networking sites. Do they really? Or do they in fact have a dozen real friends and hundreds of people they have met once and then added to their Facebook or Google+? I suspect future generations will be unable to distinguish between meaningful relationships and casual acquaintances.”
“I have met so many awesome people who I’d never have had a chance to otherwise.”
“I am in general not an approachable person” says Blogger Melissa from http://thebeverlyhillbabies.com/ ” So social media is great I have met so many awesome people that I’d never have had a chance to otherwise. Some of my closest friends I actually originally met online and I love that, it makes our big huge world so much smaller” & that is something I certainly can also relate to. Growing up, I was content to be on my own alot of time, yet always have enjoyed somewhat un-orthodox ways to make friendships. Alot of my friends on Facebook I have indeed yet to meet; many I have added through mutual friends & we have developed a bond, or because we love the same artists (yes, Tori Amos! lol). Many that I have met, I, originally met via MySpace or Facebook before face-to-face. Afew of my dearest friends; Alex, Helen, Joel & Michelle are perfect examples of this:-)
Another great web-site I have met some of my best friends on, is www.meetup.com , a wonderful resource of groups in your area that you can join & make new friends sharing similar interests. I am so thankful for that web-site when I knew no one here in SoCal. It can be difficult as we get older to meet new people beyond your circle, or sometimes, you don’t even really know those in your circle; alot of us work from home nowadays, or go to school then just head home or to work.
I am not perfect.
That is me speaking; I am 100% guilty of the ‘Remove Friend’ dilemma as my way of saying I am pissed at you. Does that solve the problem? Not one bit. It just will make people dis-like you even more. I have learned that for me, it is not the answer & I even regret the times I have indeed removed people from my life, literally, that way. There have been afew occasions that I was reached out to being asked ‘why are we not FB friends anymore?’ & for that, I am grateful for my friends being the bigger person & seeking answers. It has been a good reminder to me that I am better than that, & so are my friends. We are all adults & should just TALK. On the flip side, there are afew rare occasions I am glad I decided to cease contact with certain people who I feel did not have my best interest at heart. I blocked them from my Facebook.
Oddly, social networking’s idea seems to be bringing us all closer, yet many of us do not treat one another how we would like….do you ever pick up a phone? I know I do not as often as I should:-( (If you do, feel free to help me out at getting better at this easy, simple & rewarding task!). I definitely know what Dave Parrick means above about the difference between acquaintance & a friend; when all this hoopla back in the day of ‘adding’ & ‘friending’ began, I thought it was something special when someone I did not know well chose to add me to their internet circle.
“Sometimes, I get stressed from the noise, I need to go unplugged and just focus on myself.”
A quote from Kattis, Leader of awesome swedish-based band, Sadness Theory. She answered my question with some great pros & cons; as a musician, you cannot underestimate the power of The World Wide Web, look at how her & I have become fast faraway friends;-) I can really understand what she means though with the above line. I remember last summer, when I went up north to Chico, California, to visit my dear friend, Ariel, for her birthday, & I mentioned to her I was choosing not to bring my laptop as I wanted a weekend away, in the countryside, with minimal time on-line, GMail & our beloved Facebook., she said, “You make it sound so relaxing to visit!” I enjoy this whenever I go on vacation; I have never traveled with my laptop & instead rely on the niceness of my friends to let me check things once or twice a day…or three, or four times;-) But no, I enjoy ‘alone’ time like Kattis says…gosh, am I talking about a spouse or computer connection?!
Charity donations & Promotion are through the roof….
I was happy, yet not surprised, to read some statistics found on this article, http://society.ezinemark.com/social-media-positive-impacts-on-real-life-773689cb7628.html that on-line charitable growth has gone up like mad from 1997 to 2009; 1997 found numbers from on-line donations coming it at a decent number of $300,00, while in 2009, that number was a whopping 15,400,000,000!!
You also cannot deny the positive impact on getting your vision heard; whether you are a musician like Kattis (www.sadnesstheory.com) or a film maker, like my friend, Linda Palmer, whom I had the time of my life working on her film, Halloween Party (www.halloweenpartymovie.com) last summer, resources are indeed around like never before for whatever your project might be.
Blogging, New friends, Resources, Keeping in-touch & Some giggles….
Those are some of my favorite things that come to mind, though, when I think about the pros of our technology world. Its here to stay. And, how we choose to behave & react at the end, is truly up to us. I know who my friends are, & know if someone wants to ‘remove’ me because of a quarrel, or simply since we never speak much, so be it. I have so many great resources as a result of the internet. This blog being at the top of my list, & connecting with so many amazing people through it. Even when someone gets me down, I know I can look at my friends list & find plenty of true buddies to make me smile:-)