Monday, November 7, 2011

So, it's been a while...

I was a little taken aback when I looked at the date of the last post. It's been more than a month and half since I last posted and, well, I feel a bit bad about that. But not so bad that I'm going to beg forgiveness.

There are still many things I want to write about - elections anyone? - and just like a fine writer in my neighborhood, I'm just going to have to make the time.

How's this for a topic: Social media has made us less social. I say this not in the way everyone thinks - that Facebook and Twitter and such allow people to cut themselves off from actual human interaction - but in that it forces us to restrain ourselves and our opinions.

I succumbed to Facebook's Siren song a little more than a month ago, probably right about the time I should have been updating The Foggy Dew. I've reached out and reconnected with people I haven't seen or heard from in years and, truthfully, I got some friend requests I had to think long and hard about. What is the social media definition of a "friend"? Does this person sending me a "friend" request really count as a friend anymore? Why hasn't that person responded to my "friend" request? Oh, God, Why!

Except for a very small number of people I work with - who I actually count as real-world friends - I haven't sent, and received only one (from my boss, which I ignored) "friend" request from co-workers.Strangely, I do have two "friends" I've never actually met, but with whom I've corresponded electronically over the past year or so (both of you read this, so you know who you are). I find this almost old fashion. Long ago people would correspond with people they didn't know through these things called "letters" which they sent through the "mail." I'm speaking of people like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They had correspondence with a wide array of people, shared their thoughts, ideas and dreams, and built a network of friends that spanned the Atlantic.

The hard one's to decide about are the college and high school friends. Except for the two guys I count as my best friends, I've not accepted any of the three friend requests from people I knew in high school. If I'd wanted to stay in touch, I'da done it before now. College friends? Do I need to be Facebook friends with the girl who broke my heart, but who I (now) have nothing but fond memories about? (FYI, I did.) Also, my how some of them have changed.

The world of social media is a minefield my friends. A single misstep can have lasting consequences. I've seen it, you've seen it. A misconstrued comment or status update can cause drama that continues long after the real-world friendship gasps its last.

[On a completely unrelated note, I just realized the clock in my office was still on Daylight Savings Time and lunch is still an hour a way. Doh!]

To avoid those kinds of situations, I've adopted the "Primum non nocere" Facebook doctrine. First, do no harm. I will do my best to avoid mean snark (as opposed to the funny kind), ridicule and passive aggression in any status update or comment. The effort involved in being nasty is just not worth the calories burned. But, also, because I know that many of my posts are only important to me and someone, somewhere is annoyed to see them pop up in their feed. Yeah, sorry 'bout that.

Finally, for those of you who like irony, did you see the videos I posted on Facebook last night? If not, here's a link to my Flickr page where they're posted. My first attempts at time-lapse photography. Sorry for the jerkiness. They'll get better.


Titania said...

Yay, you're back! My FB, google+, blogging, email and real life friend :-). Besos!

... I think that, being a seasoned FB'er, I have no problem with posting sarcastic snarky comments.

Also, check out the friends lists, they are the best ever, as you may have "friends", "acquaintances", and "restricted" friend types, so as you can limit how much they each can see (but if you put me in restricted, I'll kick your butt)

Elizabeth said...

"A misconstrued comment or status update can cause drama that continues long after the real-world friendship gasps its last."

And this is why I don't do status updates. Or, part of the reason anyway.

Anonymous said...

SOOOOO glad you are back! And hey, be like me, just forget on most days that you HAVE a FB account, and wait until your so-called "friends" send nasty messages, and then delete them, b/c they're snarky and go back to forgetting you have a FB account, until they yell at you again. FAB pattern, and I dig it tremendously. Keeps people interested - they WANT a response. LOL

Really - glad you're back. :) ~Phee

HK said...

I like being in the old fashioned FB category (and that there are categories)! Do no harm is a great approach but I'm from the Friendly state so is to be expected from me.

Time-lapse photography experiment was fantastic!

Fun post, has me thinking :)

Anonymous said...

oh, facebook. so fraught with drama. i am friends with tons of people from the old days - i was on my 10th high school reunion planning committee, and it's the first place we went to find people. that's been weird; people i was really close to back in the day, i barely talk to on FB.

but strangely, just interacting with people i knew, but not well, back then has made me a) much better friends with them as grown-ups and b) kinda sad we weren't closer when we saw each other all the time.

it's a strange world we live in nowadays, eh?

FoggyDew said...

Titania - Well, it's not like we didn't see each other on Saturday. I'll have to check out the lists, but it sounds like a lot of work.

Elizabeth - You know, you're right. I don't remember ever seeing one from you...except after races. I'm a bit too much of a showoff to not post, but I'm not going to let it cost me real friends.

Phnx - The clamor right now is for me to post a profile pic. If I can wait years to get on fb, I can wait this out too.

HK - It's interesting reading some of the founders memoirs. The letters between John and Abigail Adams and Adams and Jefferson all kinds of fun. Thanks on the pictures, it was fun testing it out.

magnolia - There were some people from back then who I thought would would be my friends forever. As the years passed, though, we had less and less in common and never saw each other. The exception to this rule is the people I served with in the Marine Corps. I may not have seen them in forever and a day, but those bonds can't be broken by time.

Dana said...

So, am I Ben Franklin in this analogy?

[F]oxymoron said...

This is why I maintain a (increasingly lax) Facebook friend policy. "We have to have a drink first - in real life."

... cool time lapse work!