“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” - Albert Einstein
It’s happening again. I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming, into a future I’m not sure I want to embrace. First it was cell phones…Why would I carry a phone with me all the time, when I have an answering machine at home to record my messages? Then it was texting…Why do I have to learn how to type cryptic super-abbreviated messages on a tiny (cell phone) keyboard, when I can just pick up the (cell) phone and call?
Now it’s Facebook. My kids, my coworkers, prospective clients for my wedding photography business, my out-of-state family, even Mr. Clark…they all want me on Facebook. And, my question is “Why?” Do I really need another way to stay in constant touch when we’re all already texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, using I-phones, Google phones and talking almost constantly on our cells?
What ever happened to thoughtful, measured communication that didn’t have to take place instantly and at the speed of light?
I am a private person with strong hermit tendencies. It is hard for me to be out in the world longer than the 8-12 hour period working an ER shift or photographing a wedding takes. And, when I get home after doing one of those things, I like to be alone. I like staring out the window at the birds eating from the feeders in my yard or watching the trees in the wind. I like breathing in the scents on the air and seeing how the sunset unfolds. I like the quiet – not talking – just being alone…
So, why in the world would I rush to my computer to see who’s talking about what on Facebook tonight? I just left the hospital. Do I really care what those folks are watching on TV or having for dinner tonight? With all due respect to my ER coworkers, the answer is “No,” and, I don’t expect you really care what my evening plans are either. Sometimes less is more and when it comes to the subtlety and cleverness in most Facebook postings, well, less is, indeed, more.
It seems strange to me that our society has evolved to the point that meaningful communication has been replaced by brief clips of narcissistic postings made in a reality TV show kind of a way. Is this okay? Well, obviously it is, because that is what communication has become…Old school as I am, I miss “the good ole’ days” when conversation was supposed to be engaging and there was time to breathe in between sentences.
My kids have patiently and repeatedly explained the value of Facebook and other types of hyper-connected instant communication. It’s spontaneous; it’s fresh; you can post pictures…My little sister in Colorado is on a relentless mission trying to get me on board. She sends me detailed “How To” e-mails about doing things like posting a picture where currently I have the empty Facebook head…
I listen to Webinars on “How to Market to Today’s Bride” and it’s all about the Facebook page…And so on, and so on…Even Mr. Clark has taken up the torch, triumphantly announcing each day how many Facebook friend requests he’s racked up, while my requests remain at nearly none…I don’t know; maybe it’s time…If not for my own social purposes, for all those brides out there who really need my photographic services…
I remember when I first started using a cell phone. It seemed like an invasion of my privacy – that thing ringing all the time, whether I answered it or not…Then there was the time it took me to master texting…My first text-worthy cell phone only had that setting where it predicted what you wanted to say – it wouldn’t let me type on my own. So, I ended up sending messages like, “Monkle monkle s u v” which meant, “I’m running late, but will be there soon”...My family got the hang of what I was trying to say…
I guess I can start into the Facebook thing. It’s not like I don’t have a lot of competent folks to help me along…After all, as Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change,” so, I guess, still kicking and screaming, here I go…Look me up on Facebook, but don’t be surprised if you see a blank head where my picture should be, an empty profile and no postings from me, at all…Old dogs, new tricks…it’s gonna’ take me awhile to embrace Facebook as something more entertaining than simply watching the birds at the feeders in my yard.
Lorin Sinn-Clark is a writer for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Me nombre es anónimo
03/28/10 at 07:53 AM
I've found that Facebook is most useful for finding old friends. The other day I found someone I haven't seen in about a decade. From the way things were going the last we spoke, I expected him to have been found dead in an alley somewhere.
Turns out he's a fairly successful mechanic in California with a wife and two kids, is going to college, and is working on settling the problems he had here in GA in a responsible manner.
I could have spent another few decades wondering without Facebook.