29 November 2010

My Social Network

A long time ago, when I spent my days sitting at a desk for eight hours, my relationship with the internet was very different than it is now. Then I would check Facebook and Twitter again and again, hoping something had happened or that someone might have posted something I could respond to. Now I don't often find time to get online, and when I do have time I prefer to flip open a book or meet up with a friend. Most days I spend only a few minutes on the computer, but some days I don't even touch it.

And sometimes I think about deleting all my social networking accounts and -- gasp! -- not blogging anymore. But I keep trucking along. Part of me is afraid I'll miss something, part of me is afraid I'll disappear. So when I read this article on the Curator this week, I was grateful to know I'm not the only one.

When I had Lily, Facebook acted as a touchstone and deflected some of the loneliness I felt in the shift to staying at home all day and taking care of an infant. I realized quickly, though, that checking Facebook only compounded that loneliness. Increasingly, I felt out of the loop, disjointed, and like there was little I could do to change that since I didn't have much time to sit online scrolling through what others had posted.

Don't get me wrong. I feel grateful for the relationships and opportunities that were created online. All of my writing gigs were borne from online connection, either with new friends or old. And several of the people I now call friends and colleagues are those whose faces I've never seen in real life. There is some security in knowing these people are out there. And that is why I don't give up on it all.


julie said...

i hear you on the ambivalence of social networking, worry of missing out on someone's life. having moved a lot in the past, i'd always thought (and still do) that writing letters (or emails and blogs now) helps you get to know an aspect of someone that you don't often tap into in person, and it can deepen a friendship. i guess it is the opposite now, with meeting people first in writing or electronically, and i've found this reverse process sometimes less satisfying. still, there is definitely a value to social networking, one of which i'm grateful for is the widening of your possible "friendship pool" -- you're able to "meet" people with similar interests that you otherwise would never encounter in person. case in point here! and i hope we someday do meet for real. :)

Amanda Smith Regier said...

Too true. And given a thesis I'd devote an entire chapter to exploring how FB increases loneliness while convincing us it keeps us connected!

Thanks for the blog mention :)