I have had so many thoughts running through my head this past week. There are so many things I've been wanting to blog about but I just haven't. Mostly I want to write about all the cute things Kennedy does. I can't believe we scored such a fantastic child. But there have been many other things on my mind. I feel like writing things down is therapy to me but a lot of what has been bothering me is too personal to blog about without causing some sort of drama. And the world doesn't need to know my every thought. And yet, we have all types of media and social networking sites available to do just that. Facebook always says, "What's on your mind?" hmmm... do you really want to know?
The answer is no. No, you don't. And yet we still do it all the time. Something funny will happen to me throughout the day and I think, "I've got to post about that on Facebook!" or I'll take a great picture of Kennedy or our dinner and it goes straight to Instagram. Are these things bad? Absolutely not. I love having online photo albums that help me sort through my life of pictures. I love seeing pictures of friends and their lives. I love hearing about what they've been up to. But do they love that about me? Are we really concerned for each other? Are we really communicating?
Two things people have said this week have made me think about my online social life. The first involved people not asking about my family because they assumed they knew everything through Facebook. The second involves my best friend and her struggles with losing friends just because she deleted Facebook. People went ballistic! I sat and thought about it a lot. We rely on social sites as our primary source of friendship and communication. Facebook is how we communicate. Don't believe me? How many times have you heard a conversation like this:
-"How is so-and-so doing?"
-"Oh she's fine. She put something up on Facebook today about her going out with friends so she must be feeling better."
Normal, right? Facebook is our friendship database. It's the mother ship where everyone meets to collaborate. It's where information is downloaded, processed, and broadcasted. I believe there are many great and useful things about Facebook, Instagram, and other similar sites. (Probably Twitter but I have no idea how that dumb thing works). That's why I have accounts. But there are many, many downfalls to them as well, specifically Facebook. Except for your truly close friends, when was the last time you texted someone and asked how they were? When was the last time you called them?!* Because of Facebook, we are losing valuable and meaningful one-on-one conversations and relationships. We spend our time finding out everything we can about everyone instead of finding out the truly important things about those we care about. It's warped our sense of humanity!
One of my biggest complaints this past week was the constant posting and reposting of the pictures and stories of the shooting victims in Connecticut. I know people want to stay informed and want to show their support, but within a day it became trendy and to me, disrespectful. Getting twenty thousand "likes" on a picture of their little baby isn't going to make the family feel better. Prayers, donations, and above all, PRIVACY would have helped get them through this hard time. But because our lives are almost entirely online, our society thinks that "likes" and "shares" are the way to support and care for people in need. It's not. Online communication cannot continue to be our soul source of contact with those around us. Not to mention the time we're spending away from those we actually could be talking to while we check social networking sites and ignore our surroundings. But that's a blog for another time.
I realized this week just how much my life does focus on online communication and relationships. It bothered me to discover that. I still believe these sites have great purposes and so I'm not going to be drastic and go off the grid. I'll especially never delete my blog. But it's time to refocus my efforts on the humane way to communicate. It's time to actually talk to people and find out what's going on in their lives that they choose not to share on Facebook. It's time to be a real friend.
So, I've had lots on my mind. Many things that I would never have shared with social media, but especially now. I don't need to create my own form of "The Truman Show". I need to step back. I need to get offline and live my life and spend time with people who are around me. Not social network. Look out, world! I'm about to have a lot more free time. :) Unless of course Kennedy does something awesome, then it's a freaking slide show.
*I'm the pot calling the kettle black. I NEVER call people because I simply hate talking on the phone more than most things in life.