Social Networking…or not

Call me a twit, but I have no interests in Tweets.  Twitter.  Twittering.  (Which, by the way, if ever emerges as an actual English language verb, please kill my English teacher soul.)

I mean, I love you, but I don’t care if you are on the toilet.  Or changing  your socks.  Or have just eaten the most scrumptious goat cheese/arugala/walnut/red grape salad in the world.  Honestly.

Twitter seems to be for the incredibly young, incredibly desperate, or the incredibly unemployed.

I do like these social networks though.  I used to be addicted to Facebook, until they changed the layout.  The home page now resembles Twitter, and, honestly, if I wasn’t clear before, Twitter is for twits who need tweets to feel a twitch in their uninspired…well, you get the idea.

Back to Facebook.  I can give a quippy status update (“Just sold my kids on e-Bay.  Just kidding!”), followed by a swift message to a friend (“Love your new profile pic.  Let’s have lunch soon!”), and wind up the three-minute session with a quick perusal of distant acquaintence’s profile pages to see what is new there, in case I run into someone at the next school event.

Facebook is, for me, like the high school reunion without the dieting or new clothes.  We can show each other the personas we want to show, however close or distant to reality it is.  For the record, yes, my profile pics are always current.  No, they don’t always show my full figure below the neck, because, well, after four kids in five years I don’t have anything but a full figure below the neck.

It’s hard, though. People from my past have arisen, unbeckoned, the ghosts they are, and sometimes I’m not ready to offer them haven from my mind’s purgatory.  I have two outstanding friend requests that I am politely ignoring…I am curious, but I am still wary.  Who I am now is so far from the girl they seek to befriend, their old friend out of touch almost 20 years.  With other people that did not matter.  With these, with some, it matters a whole heck of a lot.  There are some ex-boyfriends who intrigue me; others that make me navigate from the FB page faster than if my kid came in when I was downloading Metallica from iTunes.

I like Facebook for reconnecting with my more recent acquaintances — the newspaper or teaching days — for my new mom friends, for my old-ish soulmates, who are, I mean, newish to my life these past dozen years, but those with whom I feel a lifetime of love if not history.

The thing about social networks is that they really can give you an easy way to stay in touch with friends, especially if you are a person (and I am not, for I am nearly always home) out in the world with only a BlackBerry or iPhone to keep you abreast of the world around  you.  I love sending emails and status updates to those closest to me (although my dad on Facebook, well that’s a whole other blog).

But social networking can also give you a false sense of connection with people.  It’s especially true for — and dangerous for — those who are less mature and experienced in the world, who are more likely to rely on, believe in, fall prey to the unsubstantial lure of Internet intimacy.

We are so connected these days.  And yet, I know I am not alone in feeling a pervasive sense of disconnect in our world.

Remember what we used to do — meet for coffee?  Hug hello?  Laugh and see each other’s eyes and recognize the parallel humanity there?

Yeah, me too.


One thought on “Social Networking…or not

  1. As a stay @ home Mom I can see how keeping up with your friends via email & facebook are a great way to communicate and stay in touch with grown ups. But there is nothing like ” pressing the fleash” to feel connected. Set aside a half a day each week for yourself to meet with your friends or make a date to see a movie.

    As a husband and Dad I got the opportunity to be out every day . I didn’t have email or facebook back then. So as crazy as I was (am) I was out in the world of grown ups. I try to remember the movie Mr. Mom . Funny stuff but so true for a Dad who never had to stay home and take care of kids.

    GOD bless MOMS!

    High Watch Harry

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