So last week I deactivated my facebook account. It appears it’s pretty easy to pop back on, see how you all are doing and what’s up, even share my blog, so I’ll likely be doing that from time to time. I won’t be on facebook full time for the near future though and I’d like to share why.
When I first joined facebook it was a means of staying connected to friends and family that I had left behind in Oregon while I attended seminary. I learned quickly to be cautious about what I posted as some people read tragedy or disaster into any whining or complaining post that I wrote. (I can’t say I’ve stopped complaining or whining though!). It’s really easy to let unfiltered thoughts become public in a format where other’s reactions are distant or unseen. I find that, for me, this can be a big issue. I find that I tend to share things publicly on facebook that I might not in a person to person conversation. It can feel really exposed and the interpretations that others make sometimes can be way off base. It’s easier to offend and it’s easier to scare people who care about me.
So I made my facebook public, welcoming all people, even those I had never met and likely wouldn’t meet. I changed what I posted and no longer wrote long notes or shared poetry. I became more involved in political comments and movements and recognized that what I posted would be seen by future employers, congregants, and work connections. I don’t mind a high degree of transparency and for the most part this has worked well for me. I like to be known for who I am.
The downside is that it affects my personal relationships. I can be a pretty exuberant person, lots of energy over here! And I do love to share. So when I am excited about something I want to bounce over and say, “Hey guess what!!!” and invite others to share my enthusiasm. With facebook this simply doesn’t happen. The reaction is typically, “yeah, yeah, I saw it on your facebook post.” There is no celebration, there is no enthusiasm, there is no authentic connection. We would have to be a very superficial and facile people if facebook posts were all that was needed to connect with each other. Even though I like to share and I can be very open, I’m just not that superficial of a person and I don’t believe you are either!
I long for authentic connection. I want to be present to the people I care about and I don’t want my presence to be dismissed as “already seen it, been there, done that.” Perhaps those who are so willing to dismiss me are never really going to be good friends anyway, but sometimes I think we (all of us facebook users, well some of us, me at least and a few I know) have simply gotten a little lazy. Perhaps we have forgotten how important it is to maintain a sense of curiousity, a sense of wonder for each other, about each other. I want to honor and treasure the gift of connectedness that I have with so many of you. I don’t want to be facile or superficial in my relationships. I want to treasure each and every one of you and if I bounce up all full of energy and I see that expression cross your face that says, “Oh God, not her again.” I want to know so that I can temper my energy and recognize that sometimes I can be a bit much. On the other hand when my heart is overflowing with wonderful things and the gratitude is running deep and I want to invite everyone to the party, if you are up for it, and I know not everyone is, but if you are and I can see it in your reaction, then hold on! Because here I come!