Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hooked on Social Networking Does Not Work for Me.

My bestie and I used to call one another and talk about a mutual friend's blog. I am sure we all know a blog like it. Her house looked perfect and her kids looked perfect and she looked perfect and she had this mock humility like, "It's not much, but it's home!" And here it's a professionally decorated mansion. I know. So I quit reading blogs because in the words of my dear old college friend Allyse, "People with big houses just make people with little houses feel bad." Which is funny because she lives in a big gorgeous house now.

So after a few weeks of long shooting days I found myself back on some social networking sites looking to reconnect with my friends. I read what was going on and just asked myself, what was I hoping to find? What was I doing on here? What was I hoping to contribute? I felt like what I was looking for was not going to be had on these networking sites. I have felt that way before but never mixed with such a huge sadness. Maybe it was the memory of the wonderfully fun dinner parties we have been able to attend this year. Maybe I was feeling like that was what I needed and I was hoping for that kind of connection to occur upon my return via computer. But you know, that's impossible. I realized today that what I wrote about it on Twitter was not 100 percent what I was feeling but it's hard to pour out your heart in 140 characters, even though we certainly all do try to, don't we Twihards?

So here is what I am feeling. I want more human interaction. With you. I want to get into people's hearts and find out what they really need and what I really can do for them and for crying out loud let's connect on a human level. I'm tired of the quality of communication that takes place. I am tired of wading through the unending unhappiness people feel being spewed out in the comments they make on friend's blogs and FB status updates. Even in the comments on the silliest of little cat videos on Youtube there is just a butt load of this...mental graffiti. I'm tired of having "conversations" that are disjointed and misunderstood and most of all, conversations that would never take place in real life. I am appalled at the things we say to one another through the filter of the computer. And I'm tired of the collective goal feeling like it's 100% about self promotion and who ever promotes his or her self the best wins. What do we win?

Now whether or not you are guilty of this is for you to judge. I have been guilty of it. Totally. And especially at first when I thought it was cheeky. Kind of naughty and clever to be bold and outspoken. I feel stupid about it now. Much like how I feel about myself from about 21 years of age to 33 years of age, when most of what I did and most of my interactions with adults took place with a buzz on. Drinking never did anything for me and plenty against me. I would say the same is true for my experience social networking. I did meet some good people. It's true. But who's to say we would not share a better quality of friendship were we to meet outside the interwebs? I think we would. My bestie Jules and I met face to face at a Thrillionaires show. We very rarely read each other's blogs, even though we do talk to one another about them. We rarely comment on each other's Facebook status. We talk on the phone nearly every day, and we see each other in person. I love her and right after my husband she's my best friend.



dalene said...

I hear you. I took step back earlier this year and have been to reconnect with some IRL friends that due to mission, marriages, etc. have been absent for awhile. And I LOVE IT! That said, some of my online friends have become dear IRL friends and I love that too. Here's my take:

Twitter: LOVE the challenge of 140 characters. Hate that everybody is talking and no one is listening. (So I committed networking suicide and deleted my account.)

Facebook: LOVE connecting with cousins I never see and a few good friends from my past. LOVE being able to mourn with those who mourn and celebrate engagements, marriages and new babies long distance and around the block. I think I've finally found balance with Facebook, so no hate at the moment.

Bottom line, I connect better with people who shoot straight and get real. That's where I'm going to spend my time whether its IRL or online. And that's why I still read your blog. You feel real to me.

Mrs. O said...


I will say that it was nice to be able to update so many people on my son's condition - they were afraid to ask and it was easier for them to read about it and then add notes of encouragement or to mourn with me, whatever the case. And as a result I ended up meeting even more people (both online and IRL), but it's just not the same anymore. Maybe everything has come full circle and it's time.

Amelia Merritt said...

Very good points. I do love being able to be in touch with friends out of state via Facebook and we, too, have been able to pray for certain families with struggles we wouldn't have known about other than via blogs or Twitter.

Hailey said...

I love what dalene said about twitter being everyone talking and no one listening. So true, and yet it feels good to get it out every once in a while on the off chance someone IS listening.

Blogging is tough for me. When I don't have much of a creative outlet (now), I feel more of a need to write, but I always want it to sound like I talk irl. I get tons of angst from reading most peoples' blogs, so I don't. Yours is very you.

Facebook is important to me right now because I miss my friends's faces and their childrens' faces and so it really helps. But yes, seeing those faces irl makes a world of difference.

I'm glad I could be a tiny bit responsible for you meeting Julia. After all, I was one of the ones who voted to cast her!

Merry Christmas! We sure miss all of you!

Carina said...

Remember how you called me today?

That was nice.

Tayva said...

What a wonderful post! I love reading your blog, maybe because I have the chance to hear inside your head when you write these wonderful 'essays' that have such wit and power. They're never about your status, never 'tra-la!'--but always so thoughtful: FULL of thought. I love that. They feed me.

I don't tweet! I barely text (truly, because I have clumsy thumbs). I don't FB (Facebook? Right?) because I don't want to be found. Weird, but true. I do e-mail and occasionally write letters/cards or notes.

As an (ahem) older woman I find myself frustrated with so many young people who can't just pick up a phone or meet and handle something; it's as if actually talking is a lost social art. Communication is hard work! We all have to practice our whole lives through. It's still hard for me to call someone I don't know, to set up visiting teaching appointments, or to call a business. I LOVE reconnecting with someone I haven't talked to in awhile and when I do it's like we picked up where we left off. Your post reminded me that our most wonderful electronics (and they are! they are amazing for us to use) can't always replace the real thing. I am going to try to do better IRL.

Blogs are fun to sometimes. I love reading my kids' blogs but it's because I'm so close to them already that it's just an extension of who I know them to be. If I only read blogs (and you know the kind I mean), they can be entertaining in a way--kindof like window shopping. Presentational. I feel like I can see what's occupying them; maybe like I'm watching them look in a mirror. And they aren't bad, but that's what it feels like.

Oh, Amelia. I love you and we have met only occasionally. I ask after you and check to see what you have written and read thoroughly when you post. I ask the boys at Cosmic about you. I pray for you and worry for you as if you are one of my own, and I have never once picked up the phone to ask how you are, how you really and truly are. Please forgive me. Have a most wonderful Christmas! And let's call Jules and do lunch. Want to?!
XOXO Tayva

Amelia Merritt said...

Thanks for your unseen kindness Tayva, I've certainly felt those prayers. You are amazing. An I would love to go to lunch with you and Jules, that would be the beat day ever!

Unknown said...

Like I always say, I love your blog. I love how you write and express yourself. I'm always debating in my head to quit facebook or not. There is a fine line, of course, but I love how I was able to reconnect with old family and friends I haven't seen or heard from in years. I love how convenient technology is too, but it is getting in the way of actual face to face conversations. I miss that. I'm not a big texter, but my son sure is. Like thousands of texts per month. I guess that's the teenage thing to do these days? I have never tried Twitter either, but I doubt I will. Facebook and blogging are enough for me.

Remember in our olden days (the 80's) when we had to actually use our home phone, that didn't have caller ID either. You had to answer the phone in order to find out who was on the other line! As if! :)

Hope you have an awesome Christmas and New Years you gorgeous little lady you. :)

Jewels said...

I love you forever and ever, amen.