I avoided the Blackberry boom when I was a working gal and am proud to say I’m resisting the Facebook phenomenon.
And it has nothing to do with their double standard on free speech as it pertains to breast feeding mothers (which you can read all about here and here and here and here if you haven’t already. It’s up to you whether you decide to boycott or not, but if you’re a breastfeeding mother and Facebook member, you might want to think about making a little noise about it at the very least. We can’t be heard if we don’t speak up.).
(Pardon me while I step off my soapbox and get back to the post at hand)…
I always felt like the MySpaces and the Facebooks of the world were for younger folks. You know, the ones who knew what email was when they were five. I remember going to college and being assigned an email address and not having the faintest clue what to do with it. I only knew about four other people outside my university with email that I corresponded with and if I wanted to make plans with folks I went to school with, I called them…on a landline. Or stopped by their dorm room and left a pithy message on the white boards hanging on their door.
As email became more and more mainstream, I found myself more and more dependent on it. Sure, it was great for keeping up with my far-flung friends at Notre Dame or the Naval Academy while I was at UNC and later with all my college buds as we scattered to the four corners after graduation. But when I started working and realized how much correspondence was via email and how easy it was to keep in touch with my parents and other relatives through email, it became my conversation medium of choice. A shy person by nature, it was easier and faster to dash off an email to check in or make plans. But I wonder how many friendships died down or acquaintances didn’t blossom into friendships because of my dependence on it, because it allowed me an easy way out and wasn’t as much work as a phone call or (gasp) a letter.
And now here’s Facebook. Allowing people to connect without fear. The hubby recently established an account after much ribbing from his active Facebooking brother. After watching his experience and playing around in his account, I can definitely see some benefits. It would be totally fun to fulfill some of those voyeuristic tendencies we all have — see whatever happened to those old boyfriends, locate those college friends you lost touch with, see who from high school is still friends with whom. But after satisfying my curiosity, I realized it would be too easy for me to reacquaint myself with some college friends or former colleagues and be “Facebook friends,” keeping in touch with them only through Facebook, not making the effort to really regain a friendship with them.
Perhaps I’m just naive or stubborn about it. I refuse to start an account. I don’t have anything against it (well, except for the whole breastfeeding thing and the fact that Bill Gates is thinking about getting his hands on it). A lot of people I know, including the hubby, are on it and having a blast with it. But I think I’m going to choose to refresh some Notebook and Phonebook friends. I think I’ll send out some real letters this week. Make a few phone calls. Chat with a few folks. Gossip with the neighbors at the playground. Being isolated with a 13 month old all day makes human contact a necessity. As much as the Internet has helped me to find a voice, it doesn’t talk back. And sometimes, it helps to hear a friendly voice at the other end of the telephone line.
Call me old fashioned, but until James Taylor revises his classic song to “You’ve Got a Facebook Friend” or Blondie changes their 80s hit to “Email Me” I’m okay with that.