Sunday, February 1, 2009

Technology and Pseudo-Relationships

This video pokes a little fun at Facebook, and I find it very funny. Before I ever started blogging I joined Facebook for about a week and that was enough for me. I thought it might be nice to reacquaint myself with some old high school friends if I could locate them, but realized there was little value in being on Facebook when I was too cynical to even send a "friend" request. Within a week I realized that I was definitely not suited to Facebook.

My initial first impression of blogging was not that great either. Many of the blogs I read seemed very silly, and some of them gave entirely too much information. Over time my opinion changed because I began finding some very articulate, intelligent bloggers that consistently challenged me intellectually and/or spiritually. Enough so that I started my own, the main reason of which was to keep a diary of sorts of my children; one that I could look back on in years to come and laugh with fond memories (as well as to show them when they're older). And so it remains that about 90 percent of my posts are about them, with the occasional diversion to ranting (like this post). The two reasons I decided to be public about their lives (rather than just writing a personal diary) was to allow the people who love them most to keep up-to-date on the little day to day details, and to challenge me to improve my writing (which I have always loved to do). If I just kept a personal diary, it's quite likely that their little "dramas" would only be three lines long at most. And to be perfectly honest, the encouragement that people's comments bring is satisfying, and that is something I never expected.

I was reading just today on Brother Myles Young's blog about Facebook and Myspace in particular, which prompted this post - although it has been brewing for some time in the back of my mind. He talked about how much these things have taken away from good, wholesome conversation and "real-time" relationships, calling them "pseudo-relationships". And I agree wholeheartedly.

I understand the basic principle behind Facebook is to find long lost pals, and that in itself is fine. What I can't understand is the total absorption some people have with Facebook - thinking that their mostly superficial friends (or pseudo-relationships) want to know about every burp they experience, every mood change, or what they are going to wear to the the party on the weekend. To keep up with it to that degree requires total absorption.

Blogging can be absorbing, as well, and it's something that I have to keep myself in check about. I personally enjoy reading blogs (and don't throw rotten tomatoes at me.....) because they generally have a lot more substance. As well, the people who decide to read my blog do so out of choice, not because they.....regrettably (it's true, most of the people I know on Facebook don't really want most of their friends)....decided to "accept" my friendship.

But the biggest pet peeve I have of all is not really Facebook OR blogging. It's that world called TEXTING.

Texting is good for two things: To tell your sweetie-pie you need milk for breakfast, or to let the world know that you're safe. THAT'S IT. Never in my life have I ever seen the rudeness that seems to come with the world of texting, so much so that in the future I am seriously considering having people leave their cell phones at the door when they come to my house, or hanging a "No Texting Zone" sign. To have "real-time" relationships CONSTANTLY disturbed by the ringing of THAT THING - literally mid sentence - and to have to stop what you're saying so somebody can answer a text is the very worst in manners. To text at the dinner table is rude (so is talking on the phone - but the ratio of talking on the phone at the table versus texting is not even in the same ball park these days). At least you don't see people leaving the dinner table or interrupting conversation to check their Facebook or blog.

It's very easy, as well, for texting to become a tool that stirs up strife, more so than Facebook or blogging. How easy is it to send of a quick text to a friend or family member that you know is going to tick them off? Starting a full-scale text messaging war?

No, folks, I can't see myself ever being sold on texting. Not even for those two things. We have to be ever careful and diligent with our blogging and Facebook absorption, but we can absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, live without texting.

Wonder how popular that makes me?


Rachel Roberts said...

I'm with you about the texting @ dinner, etc. (However, I have been guilty of it!) I love texting since I'm not a big phone person when it comes to quick conversations, like "See you @ lunch..." and so on.

As for Facebook... if it weren't for it, I know I wouldn't be in contact with the majority, if any of my extended family in Canada, along with countless friends I keep in touch with on there. I do agree that it can become an obsession of sorts for some people. However, it's an effective tool at keeping in touch with people that you typically wouldn't have regular contact with by telephone, which I love!

Just like all things in life, however moderation is the key. :o)

Good post! The video gave me a chuckle ;o)

Darla said...

I understand completely Rachel about someone being afar off like you and using Facebook to keep in touch, really I do. I don't know if I'm explaining it very well, but it seems to me that Facebook can be one big "party" atmosphere. As for texting, the reason it really bugs me is that it has become a replacement for good manners for so many people.

You are right, of course, if everything was moderated properly, none of this would be an issue. I just think that some things seem to be harder to moderate, that's all.

Thanks for commenting.

Rachel Peterson said...

Aunty Darla:

I like to try keep texting to a minimum when I am at someone elses house/out visiting with people. However, sometimes the only way people feel free to communicate is through texting when they are going through a tough time. So if you find me texting while visiting that is why!

I have a huge issue with Facebook. I am quite against it altogether. There are many, many things on Facebook, such as advertising, certain groups, etc, which are sexually explicit and available to anyone on there. I had 400+ friends on there, and deleted my account. I was sick of seeing pictures of people I know and their activities which were less than wholesome. You find pictures of people who "know better" doing things they should just became frustrating.

Anyways, that is why I do not like Facebook...:)

Darla said...

Rachel P: Not to be unkind, but I still believe there is a time NOT to text. You shut your phone off for church, you shut it off for work (or are supposed to, I assume), so you should shut it off (or discontinue texting) while visiting at someone's house. I am a FIRM believer in that. If you are in the middle of helping someone through texting, it would be better to perhaps cancel a visit to someone's house if it is that urgent.

What happened in the good old days before texting? I'm sorry, I just firmly believe it has contributed to people forgetting their manners altogether. The same argument can be made for a lot of things (even talking on the cell phone), but like I said in my reply to Rachel R, I just happen to believe that texting has gotten out of hand more than anything else to this point.

We had an excellent service tonight, so I want you to know that this is said in the best possible spirit. We just happen to disagree, is all. :)

Love you.

Rachel Peterson said...

Not to try be rude or ultra-controversial, if someone texts you when you are visiting and they are on the verge of breakdown, or have serious problems, and refuse to call you because it requires an openess....I think its worth the rudeness.

Rachel Roberts said...

Darla, I can clearly remember the days when text messaging was obsolete and cell phones in and of themselves were just becoming popular amongst those who could afford them. That being said, I really don't remember anyone ever having genuine trouble "getting a hold" of or communicating to each other without these means. So it begs the question: Why does this type of communication seem absolutely vital and necessary in our every day life? Are we that much more in high demand and "importance" that we have to communicate on such an immediate level? Or can it be equated to, dare I say, laziness? Or, is it purely a matter of convenience?

I don't say this because I oppose new technology, obviously... just a general musing I had. :o)

I always admire your ability to post about topics that aren't considered agreeable by all.

Darla said...

Rachel R: You know, I think it has something to do with the topic you just posted about "The Now Generation". We have become a society that has to be instantly gratified. We have to talk to someone right NOW, we can't wait. Frankly, like I said in your post, I miss that time and don't think we have stepped forward much with all of our technology and stuff.

Like you, I haven't been against every modern invention (obviously I like the internet and blogging....), but in the trade offs I would definitely give this up if I thought we could go back to the less stressful times.

I appreciate it when I read posts that challenge me to rethink my stand on something. That's why I post these every once in a while (although the amount of them is creeping UP, I notice - hmmm, wonder if I'm just getting more crotchety with age....). I certainly don't intend to stir up strife, but I do hope that every once in a while what I write can make others think in a different way, like has been done to me.

Thanks again for your kind words, Rachel.

Julie Cortens said...

funny video.

Darla said...

Julie: Yep. I got it off your blog!