Thursday, November 4, 2010

Plus or Minus

I had a discussion with a friend the other day. It had been her birthday, and she said that her favorite thing to do on her birthday is stay home and receive all of her birthday calls all day long! She doesn't go to lunch, she doesn't get her nails done, she just sits and waits.

I, on the other hand, love to have a day full of activities and dates including lunch out, any kind of pampering service and a girl's night out. :) Or at least a hot date with my husband.

However, this year. She got 122 Facebook well wishes, and 15 texts and 3 phone calls. THREE.


She was devastated. I would be too.

As a matter of fact. Facebook has been a blessing and a curse to me as well. These past two years have probably been the hardest and most lonely of my life. I have been challenged in every aspect of my life. Between the move, losing our businesses, Peter's job search, and consequent under-employment for the sake of a degree, getting pregnant and having a baby through all of that moving and stress, moving AGAIN because the guy we sued stopped making his payments to us and still has not re-paid us. And so on and so forth. Intertwined with complete and total loneliness. Sure, I had people commenting on my blog (sometimes), and saying hi on Facebook. But I had no support system here. No phone calls, no checking in. No. Nothing. And for those of you who really know me, you would know that not having that connection with people is hard for me. Scratch that. It's excruciating.

My blog, and Facebook are the only things that have made me feel like I still have people who genuinely care about me.

Facebook has gotten me in touch with friends from my past that I love dearly, but wasn't able to keep up with on a regular basis because of my nomadic lifestyle.

However, I also feel as if people use Facebook at times to get out of making the "caring phone call" or stopping by to say hello to someone in person who is struggling, because it is so much easier. Less emotional, and less obligation.

So, my cyber friends.

FACEBOOK: Is it a PLUS? Or a MINUS? How has it impacted your life?


Jeanelle said...

Hmm...I'd say it's mostly a plus for me. It's been a huge plus with my church service w/the youth. I loved the tons of FB birthday messages this year but also know that most of those are from acquaintances who wouldn't call me anyway. One minus was when a friend's husband (not LDS) thought it would be funny to put a beer bottle into my hand using a picture he lifted from FB. Yeah, funny. I do think computers in general make people less apt to call or visit. It's just easier and faster to send a quick email or text. But I think the thing to remember is our true friends will always call.

Jessica said...

I think facebook is fun and I mostly love knowing what everyone is up to--I am kind of a voyeur that way (hello reality tv). I felt noticed on my birthday though I know it's a two second thought for people.

I only don't like facebook because I find myself being negative and judgmental about others ( and myself). Plus: huge time suck.

I can't imagine feeling that alone. You and I are a lot alike in the social area and when we left LL and moved to Utah (for the first six months) I was so lonely. Ryan made a comment that I'd "wilted". I'm just better when I have friends recharging my batteries. Sorry you are doing this alone!

Danika said...

I would have to mostly agree with what Jeanelle said above. Last year the only people that remembered my birthday were my immediate family. No friends remembered...not even one! It only bothered me a little since I don't really crave constant social interaction or attention. This year with Facebook I had over 100 birthday wishes and I realized how fun a birthday can feel.

On the flip side...I was trying to figure out the other day why I am getting less done this year (with only 1 kid at home who is at preschool 2 mornings a week) than I have in previous years with multiple kids home. I realized a huge part of it was Facebook!

So, for me facebook is a plus in some ways and a minus in others.

MotherBeck said...

I would say it's a plus. Although I am still the type f person that will leave a happy birthday comment AND call the person too. I don't think it should be a substitute for calling people when important events are happening!

Jill said...

I think it's been a plus for me. Haven't had any negative effects really...except like Jessica said, it's a time sucker. I personally like to email better than talk on the phone most the time! I hate the phone. But I do understand how it has drastically changed how people communicate and that is kinda sad. I feel so bad things have been so stressful and lonely for you. I kinda know that feeling...when we moved here from Utah I thought we have moved to "Misery" not Missouri. I love change, but too many changes at once can be too much.
You are definitely loved. Don't forget it chicka.

Andrea said...

Facebook has saved my life when we have down time at work. I'd be so bored without it! Haha.

I joined a few years ago when I was in the RS presidency of a YSA ward. It made it so easy to keep in touch with everyone in the ward, especially for someone who is too shy in the first place. It also created a funny memory of how I began to get to know Andrew. :)
I love that I've gotten in touch with people I haven't seen in years. Andrew is always amazed at the wealth of information I have on some people, including his own family, I tell him "I read it on facebook". Sometimes I don't think that's so good though. Like Jessica said above, it makes me start to be a little judgemental and that is not good at all!

Also, I love the fact that you can link church videos to your facebook page. I've done that a few times and had non-member friends watch them.

McB's said...

I love facebook and I love that you have the reminder for someone's bday cuz you wouldn't have known and therefore you wouldn't get even 1/3 as many happy bdays from people so I think it's great! I do agree though that interpersonal skills are not being developed because of so many resources like texting, facebooking, twitter but I do think it's a nice way to still keep in contact, especially when we are all so busy to just say a quick hi but I also feel you need to take the time once in a while and actually connect with a person either "in" person or hearing their voice on the phone. SO, I do love facebook and have gotten in touch with so many people from years ago that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do.

MOMof6 said...

I am really new to Face book. I just joined recently. It has been great to find and catch up with friends from all over the country and even mission companions in other countries. It really is amazing. I love getting notices about birthdays because I have a horrible memory. There is no way I would ever remember all the birthdays. It's not that I don't want to, or don't try but my brain just isn't great at that. I do agree though that people are so much more to themselves. In a ward I was in once no one really talked much because we all knew everything about everyone from their blogs. So why ask how someone is doing-- they just read about how they were doing. It is a really balance and takes more effort for people now to be real--face to face.

jessica said...

I'm on the fence...I love being able to quickly check in on people without losing an hour talking to them. On the other hand. I miss talking to certain people. I am so sorry you are so lonely, I would be lonely too. As soon as I get my computer back I will get that blog up!

Lauren in GA said...

I know we don't know each other...but I feel sad that you are lonely.

I spend way to much time blogging...I am afraid if I did facebook my children would have to raise themselves ;)

Mary said...

Both! It helps me keep up with friends I had lost track of but mostly it takes my time. A friend of mine said that a professer said that we really only have time to have a good relationship with 4 people. So she chose to be really nice, caring but not bff except to her family and maybe 1or 2 close friends. I think that she has a point. Ok I think 4 is a bit small but still a point. So back to FB-- it helps me stay in touch with peeps I would normally not be in touch with, and easily at that. Those I would still stay in touch with I make sure (ok try) that I don't let the convinience of fb take away for connecting with them how I normally would.


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