social-ism

I’ve been off facebook now for about a week and I feel great. In, fact, I’m more social than ever. I actually call people on the phone and pick up when it rings. I take my kids on all kinds of fun adventures and buy them ice cream before dinner. I take other friends’ kids to summer camp. I don’t spend endless hours writing and reading people’s posts, or waiting for someone to comment on mine. In short, now I’m actually living. Whenever I find myself in interesting situations, I still think of a witty one-liners that I could have posted on facebook that would describe my predicament, but then I realize that I’m not on facebook anymore and the urge passes. I also realize I don’t have a forum anymore to promote my blog, but I’ve never had more than a few readers a day anyway, so that’s OK. I remember that it was too easy to be snarky on facebook. Snarky at a safe virtual distance. I still worry, though, that most of my 95 facebook friends, except for my  wife and immediate family, don’t know I left and might be thinking that I defriended them. I have to admit that I don’t know the proper etiquette for leaving facebook. I tried to send a message to all my friends at once but facebook wouldn’t let me . There’s a website called seppukoo.com which boasts that they assist you in your virtual identity suicide. There, you can commit virtual self-disemboweling a la Yukio Mishima. Maybe I should have done it that way? But that would have freaked out my mom. So in the end I updated my status to say that I was leaving, provided my email and blog addresses, left it up for 24 hours and the shut ‘er down. Now I’m thinking…Why did I use to facebook someone when they lived right across the street from me and I saw their car in the driveway as I sat at my computer? I could have just walked across the street and talked to them. I mean, there they were, mowing their lawn. We seem to live in a culture now where we are in a constant struggle between living life and recording life. If you record most of your actions via facebook, Twitter, blogs, digital photos and videos, when are you really living? It’s as if we are all on screen all the time. When you take a walk in the woods or swim in a creek, do you tweet about it afterward? There was an interesting article in the NY Times about virtual memories and how now everything can be recorded and stored on the web forever, rendering that oh-so-human quality known as forgetting all but obsolete. In the not-so-recent past, we used to slowly forget some things over time and remember others. But now, we can remember everything all the time and for all time. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes or youthful indiscretions. Or bad puns or compromising photos. Used to be, we’d just remember the important stuff. Now it’s all right there. Without the self-imposed pressure to record myself, I feel like I can be myself again. And pretty soon I might just do something really crazy like write a letter.

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2 comments

  1. The Sage of Texas

    Now here are some thoughts I can agree with. I did the same thing–got off Facebook, and am happier than ever. Good words. And I don’t say that about many writers I find blogging.
    Best,
    The Sage of Texas

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