Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On Social Networking

            I'm not a very social person. I was going to say sociable, but I think there's a big difference between being social, and being sociable. I like alone time and the pursuit of quiet activity; painting, knitting, reading and writing. See, not very social. I'm not a joiner and prefer small social gatherings to large crowds. But I am sociable. I talk to strangers when waiting in line, and always stop for a chat with the neighbours.
            Not being a very social person, I have a hard time getting into this social networking thing. 
            Recently I was invited to be a friend on Facebook. I've managed to progress from 'techno-peasant' to 'middling middle class' in my computer skills. It was amazing, it was like a banner waved across the sky announcing my arrival, and I got a few shocked responses, in welcome.
            Deciding to play, I looked up the names of people I'd known, people I was sorry to have lost contact with. I had to sort through lists and lists of people with the same name, but with pictures and bio information, I was finally able to find an old friend. Funny, she's in that same 'middling middle class' and we prefer to communicate by E-mail. 
            With the written word you don't see facial expressions, you don't hear tone of voice and you don't know the mood of the writer. It's too easy to react to something you've read, and write back, without thinking first.           
            So, I got to wondering, why is so much of our communication by written word, or texted short forms?  When did talking to real people go out of style? It seems that with E-mail, Facebook, Twitter and texting, real conversations with real people don't happen as often anymore. Why does this happen?  Is it because everyone is so busy and it's easier to tweet or text a short message than to get caught up in a lengthy conversation?
             I know, for busy people, the way to survive their hectic lives is to multitask. Fortunately, I've moved beyond that busy time of kids, work and the terrible, never ending demands on my time and attention. I'm fortunate to be retired and have, if I'm so inclined, the time to spend in social pursuits.
            In spite of having 'free' time I find that most of my communication is done by E-mail. When I turn on my computer in the morning I look forward to seeing what messages await me. I get about fifteen to twenty E-mails a day, but instead of making me feel happy, I'm enervated, feeling a bit sad and lonely.
            The problem is that the E-mails are the same almost every day; newsletters from Quilting Daily, Beading Daily, Hooked on Crochet, Fine Cooking and such, you get the picture. I'm in creative overload with this daily influx of ideas. I've saved more designs and patterns than I could ever make in two lifetimes. Sometimes it seems this bombardment of inspirational E-mails has served to stifle my creativity, rather than inspire it.
            Day after day I peruse the E-mails and am able to delete these messages with no further sense of loss...for the project that will never be. I scan the list, seeking any message or note from a living, breathing soul, rather than an automatic message. Is that why social networks are so popular? You don't get the same influx of junk mail; you get responses from real people...friends. What a concept.
            And now I’m blogging. I was curious, and the first to admit, I didn’t know much about it when I began. What was I going to write about and who was going to care enough to read what I posted? The A-Z Challenge was perfectly timed to give me the boost I needed.
And now, I’m addicted to the Blogger Dashboard.
It brings back all sorts of memories from my youth when I had pen pals from all over the world. At one time three of us wrote to each other, from Canada, Germany and Mexico, and wore coins from each country on a chain. I loved the international aspect of it all; how I could have a friend I would never meet, living so far away, in a country I would most likely never visit.
When I check the stats on my blog, I am blown away to see the countries represented in my viewing audience. I can’t help but wonder; who are you, where do you live, what is your family like? It really is a small world when I can write about something and someone on the other side of the world can read it.  
It’s a kid in the candy store kind of feeling, if you know what I mean. Where my health issues may have made my personal world much smaller, the computer and my blog have blown it wide open.
My sincere thanks, to those who have become followers, and to those who come to visit. I enjoy this kind of writing, the creative essay. As much as I love crafting a tale of pure fiction, I like having these ‘conversations’, having the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings and welcome any comments in return.
It truly is a small world.  

1 comment:

Blogger's Brother said...

Comedian Steven Wright said, "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it."