Thursday, March 5, 2009

Social Media: Friend or Foe?

I have mixed feelings about our IMing, text messaging, facebook culture. Is it just me?

#1 actually used her cell phone the other day to TALK ON IT. She joked that it was making her ear burn and I laughed! But, seriously, as a culture, we are replacing conversation with this new form of communication and that is not a good thing 24/7.

They say that more than 50% of our communication is body language and tone. Well, we lose that form of communicating electronically. And, that leaves us with what? It can make you sort of numb.

A few people have asked me why I deactivated my facebook. Well, I'll answer that question with a question. How would your husband feel if guys you were involved with many years ago started calling you or showing up on your door step? I would assume most husbands would not welcome that. Enter facebook....where anyone can find you and message you. Perhaps, not as extreme as a phone call but it is contact all the same and not the kind of contact any faithful spouse should welcome. Again, it is just another way of communicating that was never even thought of a decade ago. At least not by our age group. It became too awkward for me, so I deactivated. I am 110% more productive now as a result of not spending so much time on what I fondly refer to as crackbook. You would think I would have exercised with all that free time by now, but instead I choose to pay bills on time and peruse websites for the best deals at Disney. And, of course there is my Wii obsession......

Texting is a post in itself with teens nowadays asking each other out via a text message or spewing hateful comments on AIM profiles. It is a lack of accountability because we all know it is a lot easier to write something uninterrupted than to face someone with the possibility of rejection or humiliation. Kids never TALK on their phones anymore and they even text each other in the same room so no one can "hear" their "conversation".

Now, here is where my "wrap up" gets weird. I am not against any of the things I mentioned. In fact, The Husband and #1's relationship has grown closer since they began texting each other throughout the day. She lets me see her instant messages on AIM and welcomes my advice when dealing with a difficult "conversation". I'm sure that would not happen if she was locked down in her room talking on the phone. The Husband still has his facebook and I may reactivate mine one day in the future. It's just at times, it all seems so overwhelming and I think (like many of us probably do) I would rather enjoy the one-on-one company of a few good friends live and in person versus having 200 "Internet" friends that I barely know. The trick is trying to instill that philosophy in the next generation......we need to teach them balance and also exercise it ourselves.


Beautiful Grace said...

Writing, for me, is easier than direct communication.

Depending on the situation, I may chatter away nonsensically, and use my hands when talking(usually when I'm nervous). I know that is a distraction to others.

In addition, I have a chance to think about and read what I want to communicate, BEFORE it comes out of my mouth (Proverbs 16:21). For these reasons, I prefer written communication.

The only thing lacking is the human connection (that's a pretty big lack). Often, with face-to-face communication, I get to touch or hug the person, and that form of Love is not as potent with written communication. :(

I deactivated my facebook for similar reasons.

There were stupid adds saying some of my male friends had a crush on me... not true, I know, but if their picture was on my computer "advertising" their "affections" for me, then to whom was my picture going?

I also had an incident with facebook about one year ago with inappropriate comments sent to me by a man I did not know, which were inappropriate for a man to say to a married woman.

In addition, I am not very comfortable with the "Big Brother" position; It seems rather like eavesdropping to me.

Livin' Life said...

Amen!! I actually had a similar situation where an ex-boyfriend contacted me via fb and said he read my blog. He is married and I am married and it just seemed all wrong to me. I didn't like being found by those who only knew me as "that girl" and not accept that I wasn't her any more. The time thing was also a huge factor. I am with you in that we are really injuring our generation with this impersonal way of communication. People still need physical contact and emotional stimulation which you cannot get through technology. I don't have anything against it but I don't want to become so dependent on it. Good post. Great thoughts!!!

Melissa said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies. In regards to the whole fb thing I wasn't going to write about it because, to be honest, I'm not really proud of the past mistakes I made, even if it was 16-20 years ago. I felt like I must be the only one that had these "issues" and maybe I was being a bit extreme by reacting this way. However, on the other hand, maybe it is this kind of "extreme" that strengthens marriages and honors God. I don't want to hide a single thing from my spouse and like I mentioned, this was just all too awkward to deal with!

Thanks again for the encouragement!

Beautiful Grace said...

We ALL have a past, Melissa. It takes standing strong in Jesus to not allow my past failings overcome me. We're in this together sister!!!

Anonymous said...

That's a good word....

Anonymous said...

be aware however, with really have to make sure you delete everything. just deactivating your account doesn't necessarily 'delete' the stuff you uploaded there.

Classic MaMa said...

I've been toying with the idea of deactivation since I've been found by a few people from high school. It's wierd thinking abotu realtionships from teh past and hearing people say things like: "You look great!" when I'm like 50 pounds heavier thant he last time they saw me. It just seems really insincere...On another note, did somebody mention Disney???;) You should so talk to Brother Bear, the Disney maniac.

Promises Fulfilled said...

I do understand what you are saying with the whole time thing - I have been dealing with that lately.

As far as FB: I also understand what you mean about people finding you from the past. The way that I have dealt with it, is that I have "ignored" friend requests of people that I do not know or people from my past that I do not want to be part of my present or future. I do not think that it is mean to do that. I have enjoyed reconnecting with HS friends that have moved back to where they lived before HS (I went to a borading and day prep school) or just to another state - and also my cousins who are spread out as well. So, I guess you do have to be careful with who you accept as a friend and then how much time you spend on it - that is my philosophy on this moment!

I want to add that LIVE conversations is what I truly prefer, and I do not think that anything (email, texting, etc) is the place to resolve conflicts (I have a relative that seems to only want to interact this way and the person lives close by) - as you stated, you miss the body language aspect of it, which is huge.

The Gang's Momma said...

I go back and forth on this issue all the time. I will say this: I did have a contact with an unresolved relationship, too. And the Lord actually used to show me an area that needed healing. I was able to repent, and move on. All this while, I thought I had forgiven the person and my reaction to their request for contact alerted me to the fact that I had bitterness rooted. It was a hard thing to face about myself - humbling to say the least. And now, I'm more careful about who I accept requests for contact with. Two good lessons learned!

Hands-Free Heart said...

I see a lot of pros and cons to Facebook. In my current circumstances, Facebook has been extremely helpful to me for socializing. I enjoy chatting with some people, and have used that often as a launchpad for phone conversations or a get-together with an old friend. Frankly, I'm going through rough stuff and don't want to burden any one friend with too much it. And when I feel like talking, how do I know who is running to and fro and who is spending special time with their family and who is available to talk with? On Facebook, I can see who is online and ask if they can chat. I've been extremely blessed by conversations I've had through the online chat feature, but I am very careful what I post on my wall or on others' walls. Of course, I'd love a hug and an evening to sit and chat with a friend, but in the absence of the availability of those things, Facebook has been great for me.

I too, have started to ignore requests from those I don't know much, and I'm considering deleting a bunch of existing "friends"... I've heard you can delete them and they're not notified of it. I haven't dealt with any harassment via FB... I'm sure that would be a different story entirely.