Thursday, February 26, 2015

Facebook Free, the First 24 Hours



The Facebook account bearing my name has been deactivated for the Lenten season.  That's 40 days, count 'em, minus Sundays, until Easter.  

No withdrawals so far.  Those come later.    

Results for the first 24:  Extra time to think thoughts in my own mind rather than randomly consume others' plus myriad videos and tips on how to clean my home.  Add in extra time to actually clean my home as opposed to simply reading about it.    

Today I had contact with exactly two people on a friends list of nearly five hundred.  

Did I enjoy the banter with the other 494?  Absolutely.  

Was it mutual?  It genuinely seemed so.  

Did we enjoy it enough for an in-person get-together?


What about the last six-ish months?    

Let's see...Trinni, she's my niece.  

Lyndal and Keith...they're my cousins.

Jacqueline!  She and her dad surprised me last week with a visit.  I hadn't seen Jacqueline in twelve years.  She was two years old then and that was shortly after the dearest friend I've ever had in this life passed away, Jacqueline's mother.

Instant messaging...regularly with Amanda, and occasionally with Karmen, Linda, Angela and Lesia.  Condolence visits with Stan and Bobbie.  

There was Thanksgiving dinner with Jan and Dennis.  A baby shower for their daughter-in-law Megan, saw their son Brandon that day as well.

And FaceTime with Bill, can't forget Bill, my husband's cousin, what a hoot he is.      

Also with Thom, but he's my son.  Does that count?  

Interestingly enough, my children rarely interacted with me on Facebook, though I do commend them, well one of them, for regular contact with the 'rents.  The other I would classify as sporadic.  I spoke with him on the phone about that, and his recommendation for when I am missing them terribly is to think of the times they were @$$holes.

It doesn't work that way, but that's a blog post for another day.        

A phone call now and then from Diane, another cousin.  Oh yeah, we did have dinner together along with her friend Nina who became my Facebook friend afterwards.  I see Sue and Tracey at church number one I attend on Sunday morning.  At church number two, let's see, there's Judy, Mike, Marlana, David, Cayce.  More than one church is also a blog post for another day.  Suffice to say one cannot get enough of Jesus!    

I've counted twenty-seven people whom I've had contact with outside of Facebook in the last six months, twenty-seven of 496.  If my arithmetic is correct, I have had contact with 5.44% of my Facebook friends outside of Facebook.  

One of my sons is coming to visit this month, and the other is coming next month, but I'll not complicate future calculations with them. They're supposed to come see their mother occasionally when they've moved 1,600+ miles away from her!  These visits will also include a wife and a fiancee, which again would change the math, so I'm not counting them either.  Like their husband/fiancee, can't they be counted on for a visit out of love or obligation?  
And my contribution to this contrast of online friends versus the ones I've made the effort to visit in person?  Well, there is George, Sarah, Lesia, Dennis and Jan, Stan and Bobbie. That comes up to 1.41%.   Again, I'm not counting the flight I made to Colorado to see my children.  I'm supposed to do that, too, out of love, obligation, guilt or some mathematically incalculable combination of the three.    

And I just remembered my hairdresser.  I think the world of her.  She's a classmate from high school.  We have much in common, much to talk about, we both have two grown sons, but our friendship is primarily reserved for the time I'm in her chair, a business relationship with perks, I suppose.  

Indictment city?

Or just the non-reality of social media friendships?  Well, not "non" but single digit percentages hover dangerously near that region.  

The people on the other side of the screen liking and chatting online with me are quite real.  I tried to be considerate of their feelings, and the ones whom I'd have the most difficulty doing so with were on the blocked list.  If I'm going to communicate online with people I rarely see in person, I exercise the right to be choosy.   That is one striking similarity to my life on this side of the computer monitor.  

My friendships online were quite warm, loving even, but 95.6% of them didn't involve the warmth of a handshake or a hug.  Meetings of the mind and heart, admiring new grandbabies and giving congratulation where due are all lovely, but the part of me which grew up in the 20th century longs for friendships they way they were then.  

I have my work cut out for me in this busy, busy 21st century world, but my plan is to work harder on relationships in real time.  Therein is my on again off again relationship with Facebook.  I want something it seems not willing to give me, yet I return periodically to give it another chance.  What will it take for me to learn?  Is it so unreasonable to want to be in the presence of those I'm willing to share my heart with by the keystroke?  

My conclusion is I've traveled the lazy road.  With clicks on the keyboard, I racked up nearly 500 friends.  I've made the effort to be with 1.41% of them.  

1.41%.  Something to chew on.

Your percentage is probably higher.  I hope it is.  I could issue a challenge for you to do the same, but I question how many of us are truly ready for the answer.