About Me

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I used to be right of center politically, and while I haven't changed, my family members (the ones who I have birthed and to whom I am married) call me a liberal. I don't really think that I am-- my views are all over the place, as I think are the views of most people. One of my adult children called me the family's "token liberal" (not the toking liberal, I am not like that!) so I decided to make it my blog title. I write about what I do in my community that matters to me and I share with everyone who cares to read what I think.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Facebook is my Social Addiction

Steve over at What Do I Know? asked an interesting question over which I have been ruminating since I read it. His piece, "How Addicted Are You? Facebook And The Heroin Model Of Marketing" invites us to think about how much we are addicted to a product that was given out as free and was rumored to be about to charge people. I had heard the rumors and wondered what I'd do because of my large family and having teenagers whose coaches announce practices and events on FB. When I had heard the rumor from other sources, I knew that I'd probably come up with the money, at least for a kids account and one each for my husband and myself. Fortunately it was only a rumor, but I started reflecting on it.

I had been blogging when FB came out. I had several followers with whom I had become tight and I would go to their blogs almost every day. We connected because "birds of a feather flock together" and we liked each other because of shared beliefs and interests. When we got on to FB, I think that most of our blogs kind of petered out and we became intimate with each others and saw pics of relatives and family members. It was and has been a good thing. I don't talk to my own sisters because we are so strangely different, but I have friends on FB whose families I know well, and many of my friends know the names of all of my children. One night I posted a photo of my children and one of my friends who I have never met in real life asked if I had gotten a name wrong on my sons-- she was correct. Eight years later, that is how well we know each other! I made another friend's sick mom a lace prayer shawl that she had keeping her warm when she died and that friend and I will probably be friends for forever, but I was doing things like that before FB, and when I had a disaster and I was blogging, it was my blogging friends who came to help me from all over the planet.

I have close to 400 friends who I know through various places in real life and on line, but I miss the old days of FaceBook when I think for the first two years, I didn't have more than 50 friends in my social network, but now I am connected easily to all kinds of people and I like that I can look them up and ask them a fast question if I need to, and they can shoot me a fast answer. That being said, those are often people with whom I don't want to share certain things just out of a lack of mutual interest. 

I'd love to be a social scientist studying how people interact on Facebook. In the last several months I have  become aware of having switched from posting only for lists of my friends to posting in a couple of exclusive groups to which I was invited. One is a sarcastic group of like minded drinkers of both genders. I seldom drink due to a sensitivity to alcohol (it makes me break out) and I am lucky for that sensitivity and personal vanity because I'd probably drink a lot to quell my nerves at times! I know the probably 50 people really well and we all have kids around the same ages. I could come up with several flattering key links between us, but I will stop here on it. We are mostly professed atheists but when in one week several members posted that they failed various scans and have biopsies and MRIs coming up this week, many were joking about "putting in a word with imaginary angry sky god!" and letting them know that they have our support. Posts change direction all the time from the original post to something(s) entirely different, and I even had an off the cuff poem that I wrote about a member in a wet suit being put to music by a music writer who used vocals from several other members. We have inspired each other and brainstormed ideas. Forget the rest of FB, this is my home online!

I have another group that is all women, started by a friend who is using IVF to have a baby with her husband, and she asked us to post things that we don't post to our wall. Imagine a group of very polite ladies sharing intimate stories and being worried for each other and that is us. I often share similar stories from my life between the sarcastic group and the ladies group, and the responses are refreshingly different and I love them all. I see others doing the same. I posted to the sarcastic group about my daughter going into the Marines and how I was going to Hell for my relief and they teased me, "Come on! We know you! You aren't going to Hell for that, you are going to Hell for other things! Toughen up, Mom-- she is probably just like you were! hahaha!" and the threat evolved into creative ways to sin to mixing drinks. At the ladies club, they were assuring and nurturing, "Well, she was giving you a bad time before she left! The eagles get that way before they leave the nest!" One lady lives near my daughter's training camp and offered to see her graduate of I can't afford to fly down.

Nowadays I still post to my wall, but I really log on check my groups which are to me like a dropping in to a pub and then a tea room. I don't know any of these people, but if I fly out of state to almost anywhere, I will have people to see. I often Skype when we need to because some of us knit and we help each other out with patterns.

While I spend a lot of my free time at these places, because of them I have started writing more. At Christmas time, many of us send out real cards with cheesy family newsletters-- after email came out we had all but stopped mailing Christmas cards, but when people get sick or need help, we'd mail gifts or money or whatever, and then a thank you note would come and we'd answer in letter form. I only have a few friends who are also like this, but I cannot be the only person who is getting back into letter writing from having stopped for several years. My children see me writing and the younger ones now have pen pals who are the children of some of my friends. I know that we will meet eventually.

Technology took away the letter writing and certain intimacies, and I find that we are-- or at least a few of us are-- re-creating what we had allowed it to destroy. 

1 comment:

  1. You have to find a different way to start your posts. :)
    I haven't figured out a good active way to use fb. I'm more a passive users who checks once in a while. Too many new technologies to figure out all the time. I suspect the younger crowd does it better because all their friends are doing it and tell them how. My friends call.