What? Actually quoting a Bowie song? Yeah.
It references a great many things. Where as years ago I’d turn to something easy as a Carpenters or something equally benign to “salvage an emotion”, this was much more appropriate as there have been many over the last several years, with some notable ones in the last few years. But they seem to have to do more with a particular set of individuals from a particular portion of my life – and my realizations that social media can no longer be the representation of our relationships if they are to survive as friendships.
The bigger responsibility of this, for me, is to realize that I’ve changed dramatically since moving away “from home” – while only 200 miles away from where I grew up, the now-16-years has brought scary times but also some really wonderful experiences that have brought me to 52 years of age. These are now my rooted feet, my “most recent” shapings, and where I’m planted and I’m definitely a result of those dalliances. Those involvements have been without much interactions without a large portion of the people that I left “behind” in my previous home; people I was very close to, at least on a regular basis.
But I have to interject: I made many attempts to stay in touch with many of them – phone calls at first, texts, emails, and then things like Myspace, then Facebook, and of course Twitter, Instagram, etc. came to be “the norm” for many contacts – and what I’ve come to realize is that for many – social media became the actual representation of who you are/were and the ONLY representation of who you were – as if the past ceased to exist, and any real achievements or progress in the real world were not seen “in the go” but only by graphic representations, words, and statements made on these platforms.
Our world now is what you see there is what you ARE, not just a communique thereof.
It’s WYSIWYG at its ultimate form. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with that, it’s What You See Is What You Get)
Why else do you think that selfies ever became a thing? Best Food Forward!
At one point in my life, I became incessantly worried not only about physical appearance but the horrible failure of “personality” both in professional and personal “worlds”; the constant “WHAT IF I SAY THE WRONG THING?” AND “WHAT IF THAT’S TAKEN THE WRONG WAY?” AND “WHAT DID THEY MEAN BY THAT?” and ‘CERTAINLY THEY DIDN’T MEAN THAT” and then ‘I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY SAID THAT”. It’s hard not to do when there are some things written that just seem difficult to interpret in any other way, and this is where the difficulty of online-only-anymore friendships seem to suffer.
I also, in earlier days of internet and social media, still suffered from the inability to contain instant lashing out at others with immature or negative criticisms often just mildly provoked; this was also in a time where I was undiagnosed and I have taken full responsibility for these.
So on to the real reason of this blog entry, as some of it’s been on my mind for a bit.
I do love my friends. It’s hard for me to “unfollow” or “unfriend” someone especially, and there are very few reasons I have ever done it. So, just in case that’s happened to anyone here lately, here’s what I will do it for and here’s what I’ll keep on doing, along with a little of an explanation of what I mean by the statement regarding online-only-anymore….
I’ll unfriend someone who blatantly expresses hatred and negativity towards others based on religion or sexuality.
If you constantly bash political parties of either side and call people by negative monikers, I will unfriend you. Political conversations rarely turn out well online and I quit having them on social platforms earlier in the year.
I don’t mind healthy conversations and/or subjective criticisms of work and debate, but insults are ridiculous and don’t do anyone any good.
None of these things are ever allowed on my social media pages and will end up making me block visitors and sadly even friends over the last year.
But what surprised me in the last 6 months was my dismay over my own reactions to interactions with several long known friends due to social media “actions”…..
If deleting a post where I tell you how much I miss and love you is more important after 20+ years of knowing you than just asking me to take down a picture where you think you look fat (you didn’t), after shows, great conversations, and so much more, “I get it”. Done.
I’ve also watched another fall victim to influence of another, at least from my interpretations, and increasingly hostile and passive aggressive status postings. One can’t help at times when reading Vaguebook – especially when it’s written especially so – but really, why? What good purpose does that serve the world, especially these days? There’s so much negative in the world these days – all that really does is push it further. If you don’t like a person’s feed, unfollow them – but that doesn’t always stop things from coming through. Vaguebook bashing what you don’t want to read when it takes all but 2 seconds of a blip to go past somebody’s status is really more comical on your part to comment than anything else.
Criticizing someone’s “usage” of Facebook or other social media sites is as ironic as this blog post about it is – some do it a little, some do it a lot. So what? Only difference about this is blog is, I’m blogging my personal blog which I’ve kept for years, you can come to it if you want, and also so that any of the few people whom I’ve recently taken off my facebook page and who may wonder why, and who might truly care, and know I have this page, will have a place to find out why – because I won’t necessarily post this whole thing up there.
My statement was not that I’m necessarily mad at this person – I just don’t think that social media is going to be the best place for those friendships to exist. Maybe I misinterpreted the statements of “I love how some people say they’re going to leave social media for 6 months and they’re still posting things”. and “Is there anything that happens in your day or thought that crosses your mind that you don’t post on facebook? because OMFG!” – Maybe I did misinterpret those things, and there are alternate meanings to those statements. I might have also misinterpreted the one about “criticizing people for posting prayers for the hurricane victims” by sad-faced emojis, etc. and getting out and doing something, etc. I think it’s a poor choice to criticize people for praying; some people are 80 years old and can not “get out and do something”; some people are unable to do anything else BUT pray for a variety of reasons, and trying to ‘guilt’ others into action is just never a good thing to offer up to the world. But again, while the stated (later) reason was to “inspire” people to get up and do something, maybe it was just my interpretation that was at fault.
I have to add up what I “see” or “interpret” from actions around me – and that includes online as well. I post as much positive as I can and know that I fall victim to the druthers from time to time but nothing along these levels and won’t – and I at least recognize it, apologize for it when I do.
Maybe the time away from my original roots has just taken me to different places…not with all, just with some. I definitely know I’ve grown, but maybe that is just grown enough to realize that the “digital” world has its inhabitants and there are some friendships that cannot exist with that being their ONLY source of contact or devel9pment and/or sustenance. Some can, and I have several of those./ But there are some that MUST be maintained by real life supplemental time as well, and I don’t think there’s any way around that.