Like many people, I have accounts with most social media websites. Some I use regularly, some I use sometimes, and some I don’t use at all but haven’t got around to deleting. It all depends on how the mood suits.
Now, I am full favour about social media generally. I did after all meet Hubby online on a site pre-dating Facebook, called FaceParty. We were both in a chat room talking about our love of Toronto, and Star Trek, and soon became friends as we had so much in common, despite living over 500 miles apart. I can therefore not have total negative views of how the internet helps us interact, just sometimes I start to question our dependence on it.
When Twitter became popular, I loved it. Being able to interact with people and just say something and nothing. You could talk to anyone who you saw posting, it wasn’t just about interacting with people you already knew. It is a bit strange butting into conversations, because you wouldn’t do it with people in the real world, but it is a great font of knowledge. I have made several “friends” there, as well as interacting with some celebs, but after having a public rant, and the fall out from it, I reduced my use of it. Now a days, I use it mostly for entering competitions – I have won some great prizes by simply retweeting. I do have a core group of people I do still talk with, and who I would describe as distant friends. I also connect with several autism related groups this way. I do however rarely post about the general goings on in my life anymore. It is something I no longer feel the need to do. Hubby on the other hand, is a Twitter addict and I often have to ask him to put his phone away when we are having family time and not score checking/politics ranting/whatever else time!
Facebook though is a totally different arena. Where on Twitter it is people you don’t know – usually, that you interact with, on Facebook, it tends to start with people you have known in the real world who you friend. I have therefore used it in a totally different way. I live miles away from the friends I have had for years, and so it is a much easier and cheaper way of keeping in touch. It would cost a fortune to write letters and print photos to send to everyone.
I have however, not been feeling the love from Facebook for a while, and so I have had a self-imposed ban for a week. I have made no posts apart from my regular automatic posts. I even dismantled some of my public profile so I wasn’t there. The first few days were quite easy, as it was still very much a conscious decision, but as the week progressed, I started really missing it. Why would I miss it? I don’t always directly interact with everyone I know on there, and yet I read about their lives every day. I do often wonder about some of the people I have reconnected with, people I went to school with, and many of those, I wish I had kept in touch with over the years, but I didn’t, until we found each other again on Facebook. Now, many of the friendships I have rekindled with chums from the past are just as they were, it is as if there hasn’t been years we didn’t communicate. Some old names from school, I have “met” again, have made me wish I had known them better all those years ago, as they are lovely human beings. Others, I have reconnected with, and unfriended equally as quickly because I have realised why I didn’t keep in touch with them after school. I just think it is very strange the way things go! I missed people during this week away, but having said that, nobody seems to have noticed I was missing. The important thing I missed about being away was the groups I belong to. The advice on the autism sites can me invaluable. Talking with other parents and carers who have been there, done that can really make a huge difference to helping you work through problems you are having.
So where does that leave me with my lack of love for Facebook at the moment. I have gone back after my time off, but I haven’t had much motivation to interact. I’ve caught up with people’s goings on and that is great, but I am not motivated by it anymore. I will dip in and out, and interact when I feel the need, as I miss my online friends.
I do think we all rely too much on social media, and sometimes forget its an additional way to interact and not an exclusive one!