Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 6, 2009

Facebook… A New Way to Be Ignored

Okay, here’s a warning up front: I’m just feeling gripe-y today. If you’re a friend, don’t take this personally. However, if you’re a “Friend”, think it over.

I drop Notes on a regular basis, automatically cross-posted from my blog. Sure they’re long. Maybe they are also whining, droning, annoying or just not up your alley in terms of content. So you don’t gotta read. I get that. Besides, I don’t know who’s reading what where anymore (for instance, I still do myspace, too).

I don’t get many comments from friends on the blog. Nor do I get many folks initiating shout-outs. But I’m a middle-aged family man… there ain’t that many of us blogging or using the friendship networks out here, anyway. So I have to build “community” in other ways, in face-to-face ways, if I’m going to have quality relationships.

But what bugs me a bit is I’m also getting non-responses when I write direct messages and whatnot to the “fringe-y” people in my life (those I either don’t see regularly, or can’t, due to distance). I know we have to let the past go somewhat, and let certain relationships fall to the background. But Facebook started out as a way to reclaim those lost connections, didn’t it? So… Is that a myth? Are we kidding ourselves that someone we spent a few months hanging with 15 years ago is still somebody we want to keep up with now?

Meanwhile, there’s the attention junkie over here (that would be me). I’m woefully insecure, looking for love, perhaps in all the wrong places. So maybe facebook is just a new way that addictive personalities like me can feel like we’re getting what we crave: acceptance. We want somebody to “like” us, or at least give the appearance that they do.

Dan Quest gave a pretty solid lay preaching sermon in church last week that mentioned Facebook. He talked about the “concocted” self that we put out here for all to see, how the picture we present is only half the picture… the good half. Meanwhile on my page, and especially in my blog, I try to be a vulnerable and honest, even if it shows what a mess I am. It’s my process, my talk therapy. Even if not many people are listening, it still helps to write it down and put it out there.

I don’t know what my point is here. I guess I’m just wishing for more genuine conversations. We can’t go backward, to when we were first getting to know somebody. But we can at least aspire to picking up a phone a bit more once again, or going out of our way for each other now and then, instead of narcisisstically updating  our “status” and pretending that’s a deep, meaningful way to actively engage another human being.

So let’s really talk, okay? Or if you don’t know me, pick up the phone and set a coffee date with somebody you haven’t seen in six months, before you drift any further apart. Then maybe that surface-y aspect of blogging and friendship networks– the limits of what the internet has to offer, emotionally and psychologically– won’t matter so much … especially to an extrovert like me who gets so little out of sitting alone in front of a computer.

Whadya think?

BTW… my cell number is 847-609-3959. There. I said it. And I ain’t takin’ it back…


Responses

  1. I think you’re right. Internet relationships are limited. So to facilitate face-to-face conversation, the four of us should do a dinner, maybe later in the spring. (I’m still trying to catch up from working double jobs.) Ok?


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