Oct 9, 201203:03 PMHome & Garden
Bob Carey, D.B. Frank and All Things Home
Technology is everywhere today, and social media is all the rage. We are inundated with programs from Twitter and Foursquare to Facebook and Myspace, we are asked to record the spectacular to the mundane.
I've had a computer since the early 80s. My first forays into the world of social networking included chat rooms and bulletin boards over the chirps and beeps of a dial up modem. I've followed every new trend since then. If I wasn't actively participating, then I kept abreast of the latest innovation by reading about them. It has been part of my job to do so, as an I.T. Administrator - and a parent.
Facebook is my main social network. I've accumulated a few 'friends' on it, from people I've actually met, gone to school with, or who are friends of friends. There are a few who I've 'known' since they days I spent blogging; who have read my posts and whose I have read in turn.
Something has changed here of late though, and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe I am getting older (well - I am) but suddenly, I just can't see the point of it all.
I don't really know most of those who are on my friends list; whether they live down the road, or clear around the world. It's nice to see what they are doing but really - I don't know them.
Those who I knew thirty years ago have lived lives that I was not a part of. We interact and say we'll 'get together, soon', but we all know that we never will. Why should we? Had we not stumbled across each other on Facebook, we'd never have invested the time and effort to hunt each other up. So why now?
The same holds true with old co-workers, or distant family, or on line friends made years ago?
So why do we do it?
Is it really that interesting when we all post that we made pot roast for dinner? Or when we post pictures of the cat beating up a stick? Have we all become that desperate for some type of human contact? If so, I think we're really missing it here.
I miss picking up the phone and talking - texts seems so impersonal. I've seen my children send a text to someone sitting mere seats away from them. I've even gotten them from said children from their bedrooms to me in the living room. What the heck?
I know the United States Postal Service is in trouble (and has really only made a profit a handful of times since its inception), but - would it help if we wrote letters again? I miss the thrill of getting a letter written in a shaky, squiggly hand from someone across the country.
And photographs. Ah yes. I was asked by someone just the other day to see a picture of my grandson. I don't have one. They are all on my son's Facebook page or on the smart phone they gave me at work. How will this play out in a few years? I was elated when we were cleaning out the attic last year when my mother moved, as we found several old black and white photographs of my father. Maybe my children will find an old 3-1/2" floppy with pictures of me on it - if they can find a drive to play it on.
So, I unplugged. As an experiment, I haven't posted on Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook for over a week. I even left the television off most days.
During that time, I finished a book, got my garden work done, read two magazines, and got a few home repairs done.
Know something? I received exactly one email from an old classmate, asking if I was okay. A half dozen others (including a close relative) sent a message via Facebook asking if all was well (if I wasn't posting, how would I see a message?).
That was it. No phone calls. No one dropped by. No one tried to get in touch - at least they didn't try too hard.
I think that should tell us all something, shouldn't it?
I believe I'll just stay off the sites for a while longer yet. Who knows what I may discover - odd things maybe, like the outdoors, or even family.