Monday, October 1, 2012

Post Facebook

i have to say, i'm not one bit sorry that i terminated my fb account over a year ago now, but i have a reflection on it.

one of the reasons i used facebook was getting back in touch with old friends. it was pleasing to see what everyone was up to. i was able to enjoy a friend's remarriage, see everyone's kids, etc, etc, all that stuff you do as a facebooker. living 12K miles away from everyone i knew in "real life," fb was like a lifeline home when i felt lonely or struggled with culture differences. i used fb to keep up with my sister, auntie & cousins, and through them, my mother and grandmother, on a daily basis.

before the internet, as a marine brat, i moved a lot (17 different schools between grades 1-12!), and was very familiar with the little fact of life that people do not keep in touch, no matter how hard you try to keep the lines of communication open. so why was i surprised that when i left facebook, i never heard from my "real life" friends again?

so i've had a think about it. and i realised that, with the exception of my very best friend, the people who have "been there" for me over the last 10 years have been those i've met online. when i've needed assistance with something, when i want to relax and have some down-time, when i want to chit-chat about things i like, my friends have been my online friends. when i went through a rough patch a few years ago, the person who spoke with me all the time and helped me through it was someone i've never met in person (but whom i've now "known" for about 13 years - wow time flies! you know who you are ;-)).

the people from fb i have heard from since leaving? the ones i've met online (and who are, clearly, technologically adept). in the meantime, my so called real (before technology) friends have been neither seen nor heard from. no one has used any other service to keep in touch - not email, another social network, or even the bloody phone! even my own sister, who, to be fair, rarely engaged with me on fb anyhow, hasn't been heard from in weeks. it's as if my family and friends' only contact with the outside world is through facebook, as if facebook IS the internet for them. i find that rather horrifying.

there's some people out there who think that people like us should "get off the internet and go interact with real people." those people have no idea what they're talking about. and now that i've thought about this a bit, i'd like to say thanks. here's a hearty thank you to my truly *real* friends - those i have met via random bulletin boards, online groups, twitter, g+...those friends who have been there for fun, when i've needed help, and who just pop by to say "hi" or post a random photo of nice things just because they're nice people. you guys make my day.

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