Thursday, April 29, 2010

The False Friendships of Facebook?

I know what color socks you are wearing. I know when you are stuck in traffic. I know when your birthday is and can even send you greetings from my living room. I know your favorite books, movies and quotes. I know when you have good days and bad.

Nope, I'm not a stalker...I'm your Facebook friend. And as great as it is to be in instant communication with my friends and gobble up little bits of their lives with no effort, it is not friendship.

Have you ever gotten an email from someone and something in it pushed your buttons so badly that you fire back a snotty reply? Oh, come've done it...I mean I haven't but I've heard of people that have and I'm sure you are one of them. (he, he) Seriously though, your hot button's been pushed, you hit send and now what? You are in an argument with someone only to find out they forgot to put the little smiley face next their sarcasm and you didn't pick it up. They weren't trying to push any buttons, in fact when you go back and read it (inserting your own :) ) it is sort of funny. Oops. Email was invented for business communication and in our all-too-busy lives we've adapted it to fit our needs. However, does it replace a good old fashioned phone call? No. Tone of voice would have told you she is kidding, not emoticons needed. You could have also heard her need for encouragement, her fatigue or her excitement, but we miss those things when we go for convenience over quality.

By now you are tapping your foot and saying, "Wendy, come on? Everyone uses email and Facebook (Twitter, MySpace...and more)."

Yep, they do. And my issue isn't with them, per se, but more the false sense of connectedness and friendship it seems to be lending to our already disconnected society. Since I know your beef with the moron in traffic this morning and I saw your pictures from your latest vacation, somehow it feels like I know what's going on in your life. But I don't know what is going on in your heart -- I don't know the troubles your teenage daughter is having that I could pray for (cuz she'd kill you if you posted that!!), or how you got passed over for that promotion again for work or how you are struggling to understand why God doesn't answer your prayer.

Why? Because it is hard to be vulnerable to 500 people when they have a chance to "like" your status, message each other and judge you from their living rooms. Because fb allows us to be a better version of ourselves (at least publicly) -- more funny, more religious, more caring. No one can see your flaws unless you post them and that doesn't happen.

I do love to use Facebook to share my photos with family and friends that are far away. I can put up tons without overloading their inboxes and they can leave their comments. It is a great way to share my life, because Facebook is not our connection it enhances our communication.

I'm on a quest for friends, not numbers, lately. Funny, flawed, real women with whom I can laugh, love and live. I am sure there are a number of my 236 friends on Facebook that fit that bill, but how many of us will make the investment to be more than a number on someone's profile? Will pickup the phone? Will invite someone to dinner? Will dare to peel back our profile and show the sometimes ugly humanness underneath?

What do you use Facebook for? Does it define your relationships? Enhance your friendships? I want to hear how social media is impacting women's relationships...oh and if you want you can add me as a friend. :)


Kim said...

all good thoughts... personally I have never been a phone girl.. even as a teen I hated talking on the phone...I do enjoy finding cards that remind me of a moment with a friend or family member and sending it to them for no special reason other than... it made me think of them...

I use FB to keep up with friends/family that don't live near and in their busy lives too, might be hard pressed to find a time we can both chat for a moment.

For me another use is, finding other, like minded women into the sport of bodybuilding... trust me it can be a lonely existence and when your dieting and preparing for a competition and you've had no carbs for a few days and your feeling like you can't go on.... you can reach out, or read past posts when they were at that same point... sometimes those moments come at 3am when you can't sleep and you had better have a really good friend you can call at 3am...

eh, likely it makes no sense to anyone but the voices in my head :o)

Beams of Light Ministries said...

Good post Wendy. I liked FB alot more in the past than I do now. Right now, I am just kinda on FB maybe once a week, give or take, but definitely not every single day anymore.

I use it to find out what's going on and occasionally, I'll share photos or something of that nature, or I'll post a comment. I did find out that a friend passed - so it's useful for me in keeping up with folks that I don't normally see in my day-to-day circle.

Cheers! Sanya

Amy said...

Hello Wendy, Thank you for writing this article. I appreciate your perspective. This sums up exactly why I just cannot put the time or emotional energy into FB. I still like to visit with folks and occasionally call them on the phone, as antiquated as that has now become. You are on the money girlfriend. Thank you for keeping it real! Amy A.