Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It's kind of odd, isn't it?  The social media have kind of revamped our vocabulary.  Those who subscribe to facebook know that the word "friend" can be a noun or a verb.  "To friend" means to send someone a friend request.  And just as odd, "to unfriend" means to remove someone as a friend on facebook.  

The behaviours are different too. You can "block" someone's posts but still keep them as a friend, yet when you see them on the street, do you speak to them or not?  hmmmm.  Sometimes it is hard to separate one's "real" life from one's "virtual" life.  "Unfriend" someone online, and see how they treat you ... it's absolutely ludicrous.  

I guess I'm thinking about this lately because (mostly for privacy reasons) I've been trying to extricate myself (slowly) from facebook, which isn't easy, and migrate to Google+ (Google Plus).  The switch isn't bad, it's just that not very many people are on Google+.  So I have reduced my facebook friend list drastically - but before I left, I copied down people's email addresses so as to keep in touch the "old-fashioned way".  (Hm, before facebook, snail mail was the "old-fashioned way".) And to avoid being shunned by those whom I unfriended, I sent out an email to let them know what i was doing and please not to take it personally.  Some I couldn't reach by email. Most people I could.  That was a relief.  The only contact I had with many of these dear folks was through facebook!

Whatever happened to face-to-face communication, anyway?  

Don't get me wrong.  I am so very grateful for the friendships that have been deepened through the electronic and online media.  Since joining facebook several months ago, I've had more meaningful conversations with people I have known for years, than I ever did face to face.  I guess you don't get to know people very well in a church foyer once or twice a week.  (Who knew?)  And it's possible that people feel that they can say more when they write stuff down than they can face-to-face.  I'm not exactly sure what the reason is.  

But there comes a time when e-relationships aren't enough, especially when the option exists to interact in person.  I've been in my living room with three other people, each of us on his or her own computer, with nary a word spoken between us.  Two of us might even be chatting (to each other, no less) online!  To be sure, there's something to be said for enjoying each other's company and there being no need for words.  (Um, that would require eye contact once in a while ... just saying.)  However, nothing can replace the look on someone's face when you've just told them good news... or the caring tone in someone's voice when they understand that you're struggling.  

So in the last few days or so, I've tried to make more time for people - real flesh-and-blood people, not just online people.   Since deciding this, I've spent less time online or watching TV.  I've had more face-to-face conversations, coffee dates, lunch dates, and other kinds of "face time" than I thought possible.

It's kind of fun.

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