30 October, 2009

The greatest social networking experiment of them all...

I am on hiatus from Facebook. It was as of yesterday, but that needs to be revised to being as of today, because I decided that I should at least set my notifications so that I'll receive an email if people try to contact me. Otherwise, it's just kind of rude.

The reason?

Well, I have to give credit to a friend with whom I was discussing this topic over lunch yesterday. She'd said she quit doing all forms of social networking. Since I tend to think that most of her ideas are good ones, I figured I'd copy her once again, and see if it works for me. Actually that's only half joking. The reality is that I have felt disconnected for some time now. And I am not sure why. My social circle seems to have shrunken, and my eagerness to reach out to people is also diminished. I rarely make phone calls, and rarely send emails either. I don't even really try to make plans with people. Part of this, I am sure, is because once you settle into a stable relationship, there's a bit of nest building that occurs. But that doesn't explain all of it. I think it's possible that the illusion of connection that I obtain via pushing pixels around on Facebook serves as a substitute for real contact with people.

For a long time now, my spare time has been spent in front of a computer. Tuning out. Not creating anything. Just throwing hours down a well without even the benefit of the wishing. I sit and lament the things I could be doing instead but am not. It used to be that the internet was like an amusement park - like Disney World. Around every corner, there was something new and exciting to discover. Some place to throw my obsession. But much like Disney World, after you've been enough times, the rides start to look like what they really are: big hunks of gaudy metal and plastic, selling the illusion of fun and happiness, while everyone is lined up like cattle to experience the same predictable show. I am pretty sure that ceased to be a metaphor about half way through the last sentence.

But I decided that I don't want my hours to be spent starting at a Disney World of the mind. I hate Disney World. I am pausing for a moment to amuse myself with the fact that I will probably get lots of hits on this blog from people searching for Disney World. That's somewhat entertaining.

I may waste those hours anyway. I am not sure that watching Netflix, or exercising, is much more noble of a pursuit than perusing Facebook. I am not sure if writing entries in this blog, for either 3 friends, 5 strangers, or no one to read is better than "tweeting" on Twitter. But at least those are experiences that take me somewhere. I have something to show for them. Maybe. Maybe not. I really don't know. Depending on where you stick your threshold line for "what is worthwhile", you could argue that anything we do is an acceptable use of our time or, conversely, that nothing we do matters, and that we're all nothing but ants crawling over one another. Depends on where you position your camera.

From 10,000 feet, lovemaking and brutal murder look remarkably similar.

1 comment:

  1. If you used to be a social butterfly and are no longer making those face to face connections, then I do think it's a good idea to step away from Facebook. But, for those of us who can go days or sometimes weeks without talking to our friends and now talk to them several times a week? It can be a lifesaver. =) It doesn't help me get outside the house, which I realize on many levels I should make an effort to do, but it does keep me from being completely withdrawn from everyone other than my boyfriend and co-workers.