February 29, 2012

Yes, I know it's Lent. No, I will NOT give up Facebook

So, it's Lent.  I love the season of Lent.  I love remembering sacrifice, the lead-up to the crucifixion, the Easter story and all that comes along with it.  In the past, I've given up fast food.  And cussing.  And diet Pepsi.  This year it seems like every one I know is ridding themselves of Facebook. I'm here to say that I will NOT give up Facebook.  Or twitter.  Or blogging.  Or Pinterest. Or any other of those great ways we find connection with others..

Now- hear me on this one.  If you gave up one of those things, then good for you.  I am not slamming your decision.  But for me, it's not the right choice. 

I had this conversation the other day with my mom about how many hours a day my grandmother spends on the phone.  Y'all, it would be an insane amount of hours if someone actually added it up.  My mom and I were trying to figure out how a person can physically talk on the phone for that many  hours and we essentially decided that we spend equally as many hours on various social media outlets as my Granny does on the phone.   Maybe it's generational.  Maybe older people who aren't raising kids and running around as much have more time to talk on the phone.

If you go back to every sitcom about women in the 60's and 70's there is this image that we conjure up of women in their cute little dresses, running around the kitchen actually tethered to the wall by a phone cord. (My kids totally do NOT understand this concept of needing to be connected to the wall to talk on the phone.  Gone are the days of hiding in the closet to talk to your boyfriend with a cord poking out from under the door giving away your location.) And gone are the days when we have hours of time to chat on the phone with everyone we want to keep up with. I find now that people are more busy than ever.  If I call one of my mom friends, the conversation usually goes like this:

Her: What's going on with you guys?
Me:  Same old stuff.  Miles!  Stop licking my leg!
Her:  Ethan, get off the top of the refrigerator.  Oh my God!  Ethan's trying to jump off the top of the fridge. ETHAN!  I'll call you back!

Days later, we finally connect again...
Me:  How did your doctor's appointment go?
Her:  It went great.  All the test results came back normal, I go back...
Me:  MILES!  Do not push your brother down the steps!  Sorry, you were saying?
Her:  Oh, just that I go back in two weeks to see if I need...
Me:  Holy crap! Noah's bleeding all over the place.  Call you back...

And so it goes and so it goes.  But with Facebook, and email, and twitter and all of those other things?  Well, I can keep up with my friends in snippets when it's convenient for me.  And the same goes for my friends.  We can oooh and aaaah over each other's family photos at 3 am if we want to.  Now, it's no substitute for a cup of coffee with your bestie or an uninterrupted phone conversation, but sometimes as busy people, it's the best we can do.

As people we need connection.  I can remember in the days before Facebook, being a stay at home mom and feeling so isolated.  I felt like I was an island.  I felt like I was the only mom in the world who might not love being home all day with a child. My friends weren't home during the day for me to call and shoot the breeze with and I didn't think they'd appreciate me calling them at work just because I needed some adult conversation.  Then in came Facebook and blogs and people were able to connect in ways that we never had before.  When my second kid came along and I was still feeling like an island, I can remember reading a blog about post partum depression and finally feeling some one else felt like I did.  I remember seeing someone update their status about how they cried all day when they registered their kid for kindergarten and there was comfort in the fact that someone else out there had the same thoughts and feelings as me.  I remembered posting a picture of Miles on the day that he become a US citizen and how nearly 100 people commented their congratulations and well wishes for us and I felt so loved and cared for.  Connection.  It's huge.

I can't do without that connection.  Do I waste a lot of time on the Internet?  Yup.  Do I see how it is not always a good thing?  Yup.  But do I see how it sometimes fills the void when our friend aren't available for a cup of joe or when my kids are being too nutso for me to get through a phone conversation. You bet. I need community.

So I understand why Facebook and it's time sucking ways are something that could be a distraction and overly consuming and thus worthy of giving up for Lent.  But as for me?  I'm choosing connection. There's a whole conversation amongst awesome adults and I LIKE being a part of it and I REFUSE to feel guilty about that!  And this, dear friends, is why you will NEVER ever find me giving up Facebook.

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