The nice thing about living in today’s technologically advanced, easy to communicate world is that it is so very easy to find someone. I might think one day: I wonder what so-and-so is doing now, I haven’t seen so-and-so since we graduated high school 12 years ago (!) – hm…..and then a quick Google search and nine times out of ten that Facebook page pops up and instantly we become “friends” again. I see pictures of grown up so-and-so – their spouse, their kids, their new friends and I “like” the life they portray in their various forms of social media. We exchange brief comments, easy encounters and smile to the computer screen at our continued connections. As I sit at the computer this morning, checking email, reading the news feed on my Facebook, I’m wondering about real life interactions. I wonder what it would be like to run into “so-and-so” at the part and meet their children – have them meet mine – see if they get along and run around and play like we might have done. Do we sit along the concrete frame of the park and watch them run around – recounting our lives to one another, or do we recall times of old – do we still have anything in common? Could we still actually be friends or have our lives been so different and taken such different directions that we no longer know how to communicate with words about how we’re feeling and what we’ve been doing these past years. I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do know this: Social media as we use it today acts as a connection – for good and bad – I love being able to keep up with friends and family through pictures and words over long long distances, but I see how hurtful it can be too. Words are published to the world in a moment when they should have been saved for a real life interaction that would have resulted in perhaps a negotiation and a better understanding of the reasons for which the anger came. People are “un-friended” because their posts are not what the ex-friend hoped to read in their news feed – but the un-friended is hurt as though they have been cut off from all friendship forever.
I am not good at communication over the phone – I don’t prefer it. I love email and texting and letter writing, but a phone call? I get distracted by what is happening outside the phone and it is sometimes easier to focus on what’s happening around the phone than what the person on the other end is saying. I tend to only talk on the phone to family – we’ve had a lifetime of understanding each other and can hear well enough when the other person is drifting to know that that is when the phone call should end.
Anyway, all of this is because I’m browsing this morning through the published lives of my friends and I’m wondering how life would be if we were to just be in community sans technology. Would I even be a good friend? Not to so many people for sure – but maybe with more intention…
So my friends. I’m glad to have known you, to know you now and I look forward to knowing you in the future. And I hope really, we could sit and talk one day, in real life – about now and about then – and I hope we’d still be friends.
Happy Tuesday. 🙂