I have a friend who announces when she’s going to bed every night on Facebook. It’s the 21st century equivalent of “Good night, John Boy.” But does anyone really care?
Facebook, MySpace and especially Twitter provide a global platform to the narcissist in each of us. We tweet the minutia of detail in our normally normal lives, hoping that somebody in cyberspace actually cares.
I’m not throwing stones in a glass house; I’m actually throwing them at the mirror. I, too, am guilty of sharing my life ad nauseum on Facebook. Even this blog is an electronic indictment of my narcissism, as if anyone truly cares about my rants.
But like many things in life, you may occasionally find a diamond in the rough, or a pony in this seemingly endless pile of poo.
Facebook et al. allow you to peek into the lives of your friends and family. You see all the little mundane details that you would never hear or otherwise care about in your occasional encounters with these people in real life. And every so often, something pops up in their account of their lives that interests and captivates you, bringing you closer to them in the process.
For example, I have an old friend from high school as a Facebook friend. Last week was her 10th wedding anniversary, and she discovered her engagement and wedding rings were missing after her morning workout. She was crushed and frantic, and suddenly her story was very interesting to me and her many other friends. We watched all day on Facebook as she hunted for her rings and fretted on what her husband would say about her missing rings at their planned romantic dinner that night. Not only was there sentimental value to the rings, of course, and the irony of losing them on that special day, but there was also serious money involved.
This unfolding story had all the aspects that make a movie great: drama, intrigue and romance for a character we care about. And of course, suspense, because none of us knew how this tale would end. We gave her encouragement and some offered suggestions in Facebook on where to look, and she would frequently update us on her search.
As luck would have it, she found her rings just before dinner in the trunk of her car. They had somehow worked their way out of the special pouch in her gym bag and fortunately fell harmlessly into the bottom of her trunk. It was one of life’s little adventures that I would never hear about otherwise in the short span of a class reunion, but Facebook allowed us to peer into her life and share this experience with her.
So in spite of downsides to social networking — which include a loss of privacy and an increasingly self-centered world — Facebook and Twitter have brought me closer to many friends and relatives in my life, both past and present. Social networks allow me to stay close and experience the lives of loved ones in way that would never be possible in today’s busy and dispersed modern world.
Reprinted with permission from Now I Don’t Want to Get Off on a Rant Here
Article published on July 21, 2009
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