Social networking sites have become the quick, easy and relatively painless way to communicate personal information with many, a communication shotgun, if you will. One post and BANG! you’ve hit 100 people. The “keeping in touch with friends” aspect of Facebook has a huge appeal to me. I enjoy and appreciate the glimpses of their lives – adventures, senses of humor, social awareness raising efforts – dropping onto the screen in front of me, like so many ripe and ready to eat cherries. It’s quick, simple and relatively painless.
Of course anyone who imbibes in FB or MySpace or Twitter also knows the flip side to the yummy cherries: the drivel, the seemingly random yet frighteningly targeted ads, the time-draining quizzes, and the “fluff, ” that we neither want nor need. I think of these cheery counterparts as the trash that our kids bring home from the county fair – the crappy stuffed toys and plastic inflatable that always ends up in the trash.
I’ve noticed of late that the shiny thrall of the Facebook sound bite has worn off. There are so many other things to do: work, family, creative projects, books, music, life in Real Time. All of these alternatives require more focus and energy yet also yield far greater and longer lasting positive results than a profile post that is like to be gone within 24 hours. As it turns out, sound bytes are fun for a while and on occasion, but I’d like my relationships to delve deeper too.
My current profile post reads, “Martha Phelps will be taking a break from Facebook for a while – maybe a week or two, maybe a year. Email me if you miss me too much: email@example.com – or better yet, give me a call and let’s take a walk.” My break could be indefinite, or it could be periodic, since I still have a fourteen year old daughter to be “friends” with. Point is – I’m going to redirect myself for a spell.
What works – or doesn’t about social networking in your life? Does it support you or get in your way? Drop me a sound bite – or much more.