Last night I had a dream that I was missing out big time by not being on Facebook. All my friends were on the social network (not an exaggeration real life) and I was feeling majorly left out in my dream. In real life, I gave up FB back January, or sometime around then. ALL my friends were on, but the fact is that the majority of them were not really friends anyway. They were friends that I had in Highschool, but that I had never talked to since graduation. There were plenty of those from college too. It was even to the point that if there were in my high school or college, but I barely knew their last name, they were my facebook friend. I had no problem being social and telling the events of my life to people that knew me well enough to sincerely care, but it was the hundreds of other people who were getting to know me and didn't care about me- that was bothering me. If I didn't say anything on FB, and just checked out what everyone else was doing, I felt like a stalker. If I was social and shared my status often on FB, I felt conscientious of everyone else stalking me. Plus, let's be honest, when parents and relatives are on FB, it gets kind of weird. I don't know many people who share the same kinds of things to friends as you do to your great aunt Hilda who you see only on Thanksgiving.
It was true that I was in better contact with my real friends- and even those people who I would call acquaintances, but after awhile I started to wonder if these were real connections. After moving to a new location, I was lonely and desperate for some real friends in my new neighborhood. I knew this wouldn't happen overnight, and I knew is very normal and I was expecting these feelings. But I was growing impatient. I found myself spending more time on FB, but not feeling like this was ever enough. What I really wanted was a phone call from the friends who knew my updated FB status to the minute, but had no time to call. I wanted to see friends and family, not just pictures on FB.
After I quit Facebook, I suddenly needed a new outlet and started blogging more. Blogging, however, is very different from FB. If I write a blog, I know I am writing to a general audience and I don't include personal details and feelings that I wouldn't want a stranger knowing. Another bonus is that I have found other bloggy friends who are not anymore present to me in real life than the people on FB, but because they share their thoughts in the forms of long paragraphs and not one line sentence, I feel more connected. It was an unexpected surprise. Not only that, blogging has been great for business!
I can't say if facebook is real socializing or not, and I certainly don't think that blogging is real socializing, but I would say that personal emails are real socializing. Because I get more email correspondence from people who follow my blog and people whose blog I follow than I ever did from FB friends makes me wonder how "connected" I really was in the social network, FB. I still get the same amount of phone calls from friends and family, but now instead of saying, "oh, I saw this and that on FB." We say, "how are you doing?" It feels more genuine to me and that's what's important.
Now that I have friends in the area, I don't "need" facebook as much as I used to, but I there are times when I wonder how this or that person is doing and what I am missing on FB. Those are the times, I pick up my phone and have a real conversation, or write an email and wait for a real response- in the form of paragraphs, not one-liners.
I'm not drawing any conclusions about whether FB is good or bad, and someday, I might go back on (at least for Clay Rosaries business). But if I do go back on for social reasons, I am going to limit my FB friends to people who I really see, talk to, or know well.
What are you thoughts on Facebook? Are you on the network? Does you think it's real socialization? If you are on FB, are you a stalker or a talker? Please share!