Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social? Networking Part 2

I HATE "social networking."

There.  I said it.  Even though sometimes I say I am going to shut down the computer and walk away, I rarely go a day without checking in.  I wasted lots of hours in college on myspace.  I have a twitter account that I almost never use.  Facebook is my favorite, though...until they come up with something that changes a little less frequently!  Yep...I'm a social network junkie!


Sound familiar?  It is.  Almost word for word from my "Why I love social networking" post.  Because, readers...I have a love/hate relationship with my computer...with my "social" networks.  
I honestly don't believe that social networks breed interaction.  Can you believe I just said that?  After all the happy words I had to say yesterday?  It's true.  You see, while there ARE a lot of reasons to love "social" networks, there are equally as many reasons we really should turn them off, shut them down, avoid them at all costs.

Here's why I hate social networking (or, as I said, ANTI-social networking):

It is easy to say harsh, hateful words to people when you aren't looking them in the eye.  It's easy to tell them "what you mean," or what you mean in the moment, when you don't have to see the pain on their faces.  Not only that, but it's so easy to misunderstand someone else's motives when you can't read their expressions.  It's just as easy to hurt someone else as it is to be hurt.  We don't have to care, anymore, what we're saying or doing to the person on the other end, because we don't ever have to see them!

We don't ever have to see people.  We can catch up with our family and friends and friends from childhood without ever actually communicating.  It's easy to say, "Oh, Jim said..." and share a story Jim told...having never even spoken with Jim!  It's entirely possible to hold entire conversations and have entire relationships with people and never meet face to face.  We're lacking in "true" friendships, the kind where we actually make phone calls and pies and house-calls, because everyone we know is just a mouse click away anyway.  We can just send a note to find out how things are going.

I have the chance to win great prizes!  It's true.   I've found that lots of fellow "mommy bloggers" post reviews and giveaways on facebook.  Items I NEED but usually wouldn't buy for myself.  Sometimes the giveaways are right there on facebook!  I don't even have to go to the trouble of searching the internet!  But wow.  How much time do I waste doing just that?  Now, granted, some of those giveaways are for prizes I really WOULD use.  I could really use more cloth diapers in my stash.  I'm seriously lacking in that department, as evidenced by a child in a sposie as I type.  But how many other ways could I be spending my time, rather than sitting at the computer entering 50 giveaways to win a single diaper...if I'm lucky and random likes me?

I can keep connected with my family, some far away, some near.  The trouble is, my nearest family, those sitting on the couch right next to me, can potentially become strangers as I focus on what's happening with my cousins in Alaska.  I can sit in the room with my husband and children for hours on end and never utter a word, because I am too busy trying to find out who has a new karate belt or looking at pictures my cousin took in New Mexico.  My own family, our own families, suffer because of our "social" behavior!

I could go on all day, but I won't.  For these reasons and a million more, I'd like to give social networking the boot.  But I won't.  Because how would I know anything about anything?  Facebook is my news media, too!  And not only that, but unless all of you stop using it as a tool to communicate as well, cutting it out will cut off a huge part of my "view" to the world!


I think there's been a serious breakdown in communication since we all became so much more "social."  

I can't tell you the last time I got a phone call from a friend who wanted to chat.  I am right there on facebook...or if I'm not now, my friends can leave me a message and I'll get it in a couple hours.  Even my mom knows what times of day I'll likely be on facebook (between 8 and 9 am, between 12 and 2 pm, and sometime after dinner) and rather than call to ask questions, she sends me notes!  

We don't write letters anymore because we don't have to.  I have have whole collection of cards in my bedroom that are--well, quite frankly, collecting dust.  I don't have TIME to write cards.  I'm too busy.  And even if I did have time, it costs money to mail them.  I can just pop that person an email--or catch them on facebook--for "free!"  But wouldn't it be nice to get an occasional hand-written card in the mail?

We don't talk to our "friends," our families, or even the people in the grocery store, because we're too busy "checking in" to let everyone know what we're doing at that exact moment to realize that we've stopped talking to actual people!

It frightens me.  It really does.  And it saddens me.  Because I wonder how long it will take before human interaction totally gives way to technology.  I wonder whether it will be in my lifetime that we stop communicating, stop socializing entirely.

Thank you, "social" networking, for creating in us an ANTI-social society.  You've done your job.


Lisa said...

True. Everyone could use a little less computer time, and a little more community; a little less facebook and a little more face time. But you aren't really complaining about a medium, here, you are lamenting the way it is used in our "more = better" society. Everything from screen time to cheesecake is bad for you in large quantities.

While you weep for the future, try to remember that as a society we are still young, and at the beginning of learning how to live with affluence and all this technology. Maybe the next generation will be just a little wiser about it.

Jen Crum said...

Hey, I call you to chat all the time :p

Julesie said...

There is a commercial on TV that says something like 9 out of 10 relationships are started online. How sad is that. In the age of mega churches, I miss the times when we used to say "mom,can I go to Elizabeth's house after church?"...which we did often back in the day. I also lament the fact that people think LOL is a real word, and will SAY IT to your face (on the rare occasion that they actually TALK face to face to face). That being said, I'd never know what was going on in your life without this blog!

Ruthykins said...

when i'm with people i'm with them. i don't have a phone that has internet. over the holidays i played a lot of card games with family. half of them were constantly putting down their cards to check something on their phones. not talking to rest of us. to me, that is excessive. they are letting facebook run their lives. when i'm at home i will go onto facebook several times a day, but that doesn't mean i'm on for hours at a time. i check back frequenly throughout the day. i like to see what people are up to, especially my nieces and nephews who live far away. sometimes i see these things that say "do you really know everyone on your friends list?" i would have to say no. there are some people on my friends list that i honestly have never talked to. cousins mostly. relatives that always lived too far away, but i know who they are. i still like to know what is going on with them. anyway, i totally agree with you that social networking is both good and bad. it's how you use it that makes the difference. i think that you are aware enough about it that you aren't letting it run your life.

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