Saturday, August 28, 2010

"No Man is an Island"? We shall see ...

As social networking goes, I am a leper.

An outcast.

A girl without a community. A man without a country. The crazy spinster lady buried alive and living in her nephew's basement, not yet gone but already forgotten.

I've never "tweeted." I'm not "Linked In." I've no "Space" of "My" own, and, as of earlier today, I'm not even on Facebook.

That's right, Friends & Neighbors (and Leslie, who, let's face it, is probably the only person reading this). I am not.even.on.Facebook. I, who had over 1200 online "friends" and 50-some-odd photo albums showcasing my many trips, travels, and midadventures, have kissed Facebook goodbye.

It makes sense that unfettering myself from the demands of keeping up an online persona would leave me feeling liberated. After all, I can barely keep up my in-person persona, much less the dual existence of a double-life. The whole unshackling makes me wonder, however, whether or not I'll be forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind? When it's not easy for people to see what I'm up to - to peer into the fishbowl of my virtual life - will they forget me altogether? In other words, have our lives become so web-centered that virtual reality transcends reality? Time will tell.

I recently had one of those "light-bulb" sorts of experiences that made me think about this. Ironically (or not), it involved my exit from Facebook. For months, I've threatened to quit it (right, Les?). There's a myriad of reasons for this - most of them centered on the fact that I can't remember the last time I signed off of the site without feeling miserable, pissed off, or ready to play in traffic - and finally, I decided to do it. Not wanting my friends to feel abandoned, I updated my status a few days before deactivating, so they'd know I'd left Facebook and not their friendship.

My friend Jennifer responded to the status: "Oh, no!" she posted. "NOW, who am I going to stalk?" Keep in mind that I haven't seen Jennifer - or even talked to her - for, what, eight months? I didn't see her, because, to be honest, I didn't have to. After all, we could keep entirely "caught up" by breezing by each other's profiles from the comforts of our own homes and the convenience of our own timetables. I thought, "Ah, Facebook."

But what about face TIME?!

In that moment, I realized something. Under the guise of re-connecting us with friends long-gone (and, by the way, isn't there generally a reason why they're "long gone"?), Facebook has instead taught us to be social shortcutters. We can take the easy way out - tossing a cursory "praying for you" on someone's wall in place of visiting with them in a time of trial. We can see photos of the trips our friends have taken without having to listen to them talk us through them. But is that really "friendship" at all? If you ask me, the exchange we make for a quantity of online relationships is the quality of those relationships. It's really an illusory community, a smoke and mirrors "subdivision" out in the Internet Netherworld.

I see now that, in going off Facebook, I'm gonna have to invest some energy in my relationships again. When I can't get my friendship-fill by being more a voyeur than a friend, I'm gonna have to actually get out and see people. I may even have to send a birthday card, instead of just posting an innocuous greeting on someone's wall. Instead of more than 1200 friends, many of whom I wouldn't even speak to if I walked by them on the street, I'll have to focus on a few really good ones.

And maybe then, even with so many fewer "friendships," I won't feel so lonely so much of the time.

I'll let you know after Jennifer and I meet for coffee next week.


  1. {I'm pressing the 'Like' button here}!!!!!!! :)

    Love ya, girl!

  2. Love you, too:) Thanks for reading! I just checked out your blog, too, and MAN, those are some pretty pics:)

  3. Kristin, just realizing you had a blog after Lori posted your most recent one that I just read about your grandmother on "facebook"... Ha!! (which I loved!!). But this blog as to why you left facebook is great and I can definitely relate to it. I am envious of you for being strong enough to do it.

  4. I'm reading now that I am aware of your blog. You keep some news to much under cover apparently, but now your family is blowing that for you and letting us know where to "stalk" you anew. :)

    And, not to worry. You, my friend, can never ever be forgotten!! (even if you try to)


  5. @Kristi - thanks for reading it! To be honest, I haven't even missed Facebook. In fact, I am SO glad to be through with it:) Please stay in touch, though! You can always reach me on here - how's the running going?

    @Alison - Aunt Leslie was here tonite. She sure is proud of little Ethan:) Congratulations to his mama and daddy:)

  6. Running going well...thanks for asking! Race is in 10 days at Disney! I've trained better this time around but still not any smaller. Really loving your blog!! You are destined to be a writer! :-)

  7. Oh and your blogs are a hit on facebook!! haha! Isn't that ironic??? :-)

  8. You, my friend, are not my "face friend" as often as I would like...we have never really shared the times, trips and moments that your family and forever friends have shared...we have never taken a Great American Road Trip, or drawn stories on a place reality--we only got to learn each other for two short (too short) years. And in that time, you are forever planted in my heart as only a true sister of the Heavenly Father can be...deeply, and eternally. I will never hate Facebook for bringing you and Leslie and your parents from my 'long lost' world into my internet world...and should I never get to move from virtual adoration to a real-life hug with you again--I will always be grateful for this medium, and the hope Christ gives of all eternity praising Him together! Can't wait to sing with you again! Keep writing...I have longed to hear your heart for many months...