I just figured it out. How Facebook is Teh Death of Real Relationships.
Along with my aforementioned Attention Deficit problem, or maybe inextricably tied INTO this problem, is my just generally crappy record of maintaining any kind of decent friendships over an extended period of time. Part of the problem is that I tend to move around a lot, and so, lacking physical proximity to people who were once good friends, they tend to drift out of consciousness for me. More importantly, I just flat lose track of how long it’s been since I’ve called/emailed/written/spoken with them.
And Facebook, rather than making things better, makes them all kinds of worse. At least for me.
See, the problem for me is, I’ll troll through Facebook, read the posts, see the pictures, maybe make a quick one or two sentence comment on someone’s “Wall,” and then I roll on to the next post, the next Demotivation poster..and oh, is that my phone?
And in my head, I think that I’ve “connected” with Jim or Tara or Milosh or whoever. Until it strikes me one day that their kid who I remember being a spastic little 10-year-old has just graduated college and is engaged, with photos of the rehearsal dinner plastered all over Facebook.
So, I sit down, and realize that the last time I actually spoke with this person, on the phone, maybe on Skype, was four years, at least one job, and probably several significant family milestones ago.
Facebook makes us think we are connected, when in reality, it’s less than skin deep. And, in my moment of epiphany, I realize that I have no real idea what is going on in my so-called “friends” lives. Other than the quick snippets I get via Facebook.
The problem is, people don’t usually post the gut-wrenching struggles they are fighting through on Facebook for all the world to see. We get the fun vacation pictures, the cool sunset, pictures of the new deck or new motorcyle. We get a false impression of how great everything is going, when if we were in fact really friends, and not just Facebook friends, maybe I’d know about the financial struggles, the job strife, the neighbor from hell or who knows what else.
But I don’t call. I don’t ask. I don’t worry. Because it looks like everything is just groovy…on Facebook. It gives me a false sense of connection that tricks my brain into thinking that I’m still “in touch” with these people, when in fact the simple reality of it all is that I’m a relationship voyeur. I just watch, from the outside, as if through a window only really seeing what passes into my field of view.
I don’t come inside, sit on the couch, and share a beer while my friend/brother/cousin spills their guts and shares an actually personal experience. Develops a real bond.
For far too many of my former friends, our friendship is only Facebook-deep. I’ve come to realize that if Facebook is all you got, you haven’t got much at all…
…and that maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t really with Facebook at all.