I remember thinking Facebook was lame as I resisted joining in the spring of 2006. Then I joined, urgen on by a college friend, and I continued to think it was lame until I realized that here was something that I could finally use to keep in touch with friends and family that lived far away. This tool would get me more connected rather than having to wait for letters or emails to show up on a whim. This tool would make sure my friendships stayed strong, my connections meaningful, and my life full of love. Yet 7 years into my relationship with Facebook I know see how wrong I was.
This post is not to vilify Facebook or social media. After all, Twitter, Facebook and other tools have brought so much to my life: new friends, a book deal, babysitters, pictures of moments I wouldn’t get to see. And yet, Facebook does not make me feel more connected. Not in a deep way. Instead I stand like a lurker peeking in at people’s lives. Seeing moments that sure I might not see otherwise but that I have little context of, little story behind, so all they are are moments.
I miss the deep connections. The letters I used to receive from my friends. The phone calls to set times up or just catch up. The ability to tell a story that they have not seen pictures of or heard of before. When we say we have the world at our fingertips, it is true, but it seems to be a shallow one, one that consists mostly of hitting “like” and feeling like you took an interest. You really extend yourself if you leave a comment and you feel like you did yours to keep friendships going. Sure Facebook has brought much to my life, but it has also taken away.
So rather than complain and blame Facebook, because it is not the tools fault I misuse it, in 2014 I want to reach out more. I want to write more letters, call more people, and see more moments in real life rather than through shared snapshots. I want to invite more people into our crazy lives and post less about it. I want to further the connections that I have in my life and deepen them into what they used to be. Less like, more action.
Facebook was meant to connect us all, and it has done so for many. But in the urgency to connect we seem to have lost the slow pace that is required to nurture friendships and create bonds between us all. Facebook may have made the world smaller, but it has also shrunk our own lives into a circle that people stand outside of, casually interacting but never staying for long. I am ready to break down the walls and bring people in.