Sunday, January 19, 2014

Surprising thoughts on social media

I have mentioned before that I am a technological dunce and am not quick to embrace new technology.  I was on the cutting edge of email, but that was because my best friend was moving from Idaho across the country and we were trying to figure out the best ways to stay in contact without breaking the bank.  (Since long distance calls were pretty expensive back then.)  Other than that, I have rejected and put off most technology and then laughed at myself when I later loved it.

I’ve been thinking about this in relationship to social media lately.  When Facebook first became popular I thought it too was at best unnecessary and at worst possibly dangerous.  I thought it was clearly a waste of time and I was Not Interested.

Then a few months before Russ left for Oregon he got a tablet and started playing Words with Friends on it.  Now I’ve never been able to stand playing Scrabble because there’s far too much waiting around time for me, but I’ve played and loved speed scrabble for many years.  (Now marketed as Bananagrams, but essentially the same game.)  So being able to play an online version of Scrabble where I didn’t have to wait around for someone else to figure out their move and where the computer figured out the scores—this was very appealing to me.  It turned out that since I didn’t have a tablet or a smart phone the only way I could play was through facebook.  I grudgingly logged into the facebook account that I had only set up so that I could monitor my kids’ facebook use, and started playing Words with Friends. 

For a long time I logged onto facebook and went straight to WWF without looking at anything.  And I played lots and lots of games of WWF.  But after a while something changed, and I slowly started participating in facebook.  I just went back and looked at my facebook timeline and it looks like the change happened after I arrived in Oregon, when I was so thankful to have any interaction with all of my people back in North Carolina.  And that’s where the surprise has come—facebook has provided me with continuing interaction with people that I know and love but wouldn’t have contact with if it needed to be through a phone call.  (There are only so many people you can talk to on the phone, I’ve decided.)  I’m surprised at how much I have appreciated these little interactions over the last 2 years.  It’s also been unexpected that facebook has allowed me to reconnect with a few people from my past in a lovely way. 

The other thing I’ve really appreciated about facebook is the randomness of it.  If I call you on the phone I ask how you are, I tell you how I am, you tell me what’s up with you, I tell you what’s up with me.  Our conversation is likely to fall within certain parameters.  On facebook there’s no telling what conversation your friend (or their friend) will start.  Yesterday & today’s conversations sparked by an essay calling for more play time for children are a perfect example of this—discussions about where neglect begins, how different things were when we were growing up (Lindsay said something about being able to ride her bike to Dairy Queen as long as she had a helmet—when I was a kid, there were no bike helmets!), and comments from two of my children about how they feel about the amount of play they had in their own childhoods.

So there you are.  Me, the enemy of new technology and all that it brings with it.  Admitting that I actually love Facebook.  Scary, isn’t it? 
 Winking smile

PS—my teenager says that I post things on Facebook way too much.  (???)
PPS—my teenager says teens don’t really love Facebook any more. 


  1. I have heard from multiple sources that teenagers have moved on from Facebook. Did Josh say what they are doing instead?

    I love Facebook too. I have been careful about who I have friended, so it is a very enjoyable way for me to stay in touch with people that I care about from the many stages and places of my life.

  2. I was in the exact same boat- actually pretty staunchly opposed to Facebook, until we moved here, and I suddenly had two sets of friends to keep up with all the way on the other side of the country. And- sidenote- SO happy you are on Instagram now! If enough of my close friends and family do that, I would easily quit facebook- almost all my fb posts are instagram pics anyway. You must follow Clark Little. You'll see what I mean:)

  3. Yes teens are not on much. Twitter, instagram and a few more are now their choice. My girls have also told me I post two much. Especially pictures. Facebook has made it much easier to share pics and videos with all my friends and family since I don't live by most of them. It is a time sucker though if I am not careful.