Tuesday, August 16, 2011
"Why I Don't Visit Facebook Anymore"
A year or so ago I finally signed up for Facebook and was delighted to see postings of my family and friends and to see both old and new photos of the extended family. In an era where no one writes letters anymore I thought Facebook would be an excellent way to stay in touch with those you care about. Facebook can also serve as support system for those who are lonely or sad or, when confessing some "need", having that need filled by those in your circle of family or friends.
What I actually found in Facebook is that it is as shallow in relationship-building as are face to face relationships are in the new world of the ethernet.
As an example, I've had some pretty grim medical issues in the last few years. It has somewhat hindered my capacity for pursuing interests that I normally would, whether it be starting another career, or travelling as much as I had hoped to do, or being as active as I would have liked to be. After several years of existing in a vacuum, I finally decided that I would begin to write a daily blog. On the 17th of January of this year I began my blog. I wrote about my concern about national issues, for which those who read it may choose to agree or disagree with them; that's fine, that's what we, as citizens, have the right to do.
I also wrote about personal experiences and family experiences and used my blog to express my admiration and love for those who are dear to me. I also thought my blog might serve as a family history when I wrote of my uncles, or grandfather or mother, so that the young ones might someday like to know "what it was like when those who have passed walked the earth.
When I first began my blog it was important to me to have my family and friends click my Facebook link and, should they find it interesting, compelling, or touch them in some way, to read it. At the critical beginning my blog was what kept me going, kept me getting up in the morning and having something meaningful to do. Thus, my blog became something of importance to me and I had high hopes that my family and friends would support me in this endeavor. As any blogger knows, the number of "clicks" to your blog is the only way advertisers and blogger raters know if your blog is successful. As with any personal human effort, one likes to hear a "cheering section", whether it is the little kid in little league or an old guy like me in a bowling alley, or..yes, in writing on his personal thoughts. I even found I couldn't even get a "like" from many of my routine postings, perhaps because I'm an old fogy and no longer relevant.
What I learned was that my Facebook friends and family rarely bothered to click the link to my blog that I posted daily to Facebook. This was as hurtful to me as any hurt one feels in being slighted, and worse, ignored....as if their very existence was unimportant to anyone. I further learned that I received more kindness from complete strangers (who visited my blog) than from my own friends and family.
Still having a modicum of pride I plunged on with my blog and wrote daily, with the same kind of discipline that one would contribute to their work. To date, my blog has had over 30,000 page views; sometimes I have as few as 150 visitors and I have also had as many as 2,000 in a single day. Very, very few of these visits were from my family but I have learned to live with that hurt, compart it to a smaller place in my heart, and plow on.
So, I now post my blog links to Twitter and, once again, find that I receive more interest and kindness from strangers than I ever received from my Facebook circle.
The poet, Rod McKuen, once wrote:
"Sometimes, when friends die, or move away,
I get the feeling that no one else can come along
And make me feel "not alone"
Then I go to the window and hear footsteps
And even if they do pass my door
At least they came my way"
I'll keep "listening for footsteps" but know in my heart, it'll likely be that of a stranger.