Monday, January 12, 2009

Feed me, friend me: Are we a nation too attached to our PCs?

Death notice by Facebook.

Yes, that's how a colleague learned of someone's passing recently: An update on Facebook.

It's possibly the coldest, most uncomfortable way to learn of someone's death, aside of the cell phone call I got in a public restroom while I was hanging out with my breastpump. At least it wasn't texted to me.

Yet, this is what this world has come to. We keep up on each other's lives not by calling, not by e-mailing (the day of "forwarding a joke and they'll know I'm thinking of them" has passed). Instead, we follow Twits and feeds from people who may or not be our friends in the living, breathing world.

As a Web person in the real world, I've often shied away from how much computer time I actually spend in "talking to the virtual wall" communication. Yes, I blog, and I participate in a few message boards, LinkedIn and a few other communities, but being a working mom, I've set my limits as to how much time and how many venues I'm actually putting a stamp on my presence. I'm a little strange in that rather than use the shotgun approach at trying to do everything, I'm trying to do a few things well. And frankly, I have little time for the vices I do have.

Even so, I know through my reader how people are doing. How my friend Christy's battling her triplets' dance with chicken pox, or how we've got another event going on with our church group. We're so busy we forget to call. We sometimes neglect to e-mail. But we friend, and we feed. And on a really great day, we'll comment back on that virtual wall.

I miss the old days when we just stopped by to say hello.


Corie said...

How sad, but true, is this? I'm like you; I'd prefer a personal visit. Unfortunately, time doesn't always allow that, and I guess I am thankful that we have ways to communicate to overcome the distance obstacle. Still, a death notice? Not cool.

Birthblessed said...

Facebook has encouraged me to think about people I haven't seen in 20 years - including blood kin. To pray for them. To get to know folks at my own home church better. And... to actually call them and make a lunch date and see them face to face. True, I didn't get around to history and science with my homeschooled kids, but they watched history and science DVDs while I had my lunch date and daddy worked from home. (wanna be my FB friend? hahahahahahha)

Robbie said...

Sure, I understand the ease of it, and yes, it's an easy way to keep track of people, but I worry it's just far too easy for us to rely on that.

Take one of my children's godparents. Doesn't call to see how things are going. Figures watching the blog is enough. Sorry, but I think a little human interaction - even if it's aided by an e-mail or other technology - is far better than one-sided communication!

Just my humble rant for the evening.