In Touch

Last September I had posted about balance in our digital lives.  Lately, I have felt the pull of the digital universe and I think it’s time to find ways to step aside.


Yesterday, my mother asked me if I was in touch with an old friend.  Well on Facebook, I replied.  What does that mean? My mother asked.  I did not know how to answer.  I am able to follow this person’s life, to rattle off statistics.  I am not in touch.  

This afternoon, I hit a breaking point.  It had been maybe my 100th scroll through my Facebook news feed that day (or maybe…that hour.) Very little had changed from the last time I checked.  Perhaps another baby photo appeared for me to quickly smack a ‘like’ button.  
I didn’t know what I was looking for, what kind of connection I was trying to make.
It is a death sentence, in the toy industry, to make what is called a ‘watch-me’ toy.  A toy that may be technologically advanced, that may cause oohs and ahhs but, in the end, does not allow for any sort of real interactivity, any real play.  I am starting to think that Facebook, for me, has become a bit of a ‘watch-me’ toy. 
So, I’ve decided to lay off Facebook for a while.  I’m not using it well and I’m not sure what I am gaining from the hours I clock there, scrolling through.  I love a lot of people. I email with them. I talk to them on the phone.  I meet them face to face.  These connections feel truer, deeper.  I gain a lot from them.  I think it is enough.  
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17 thoughts on “In Touch

  1. This is true, and I have occasionally thought the same and said to myself — no more!

    But tonight on FB, I learned of one co-worker's new baby and another's new grandchild. I saw pictures of a substitute teacher at her bridal shower with her mother-in-law-to-be, who happens to be a beloved secretary at our school. I found out my teaching partner finally scored a new house after countless rejected offers. And another teaching partner posted a picture of my book featured as “Must Read” in a bookstore.

    Even if school were still in session, we all would have been too busy during the work day to share this information in person. We still would have discovered it on FB — which is kind of sad in its own right. I don't know whether to praise FB or criticize my working environment.

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  2. I gave up my FB account two years ago and haven't regretted it at all. True, I still blog and have Twitter and Google+ accounts, but those have less of a hold on me than FB once did. Now friends and I write long emails to keep in touch – or even letters. It's so refreshing to not have that time suck on my hands, and to not be tempted to FB stalk like I used to! (I admit it!)

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  3. Indeed! I have limited my Facestalker to about an hour a day and no weekends. People really fail to realize how out of touch they are when they are spending countless hours on social media sites. It is impersonal.

    Besides, I don't want to wind up in SMA (Social Media Anonymous) or on the Geraldo show talking about my addiction. lol

    I think you have made a wise decision.

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  4. I've never understood the draw of facebook. I've only recently got on it and only then because I needed to be able to receive updates that only come on facebook. I never get on to just browse because it's just the same old thing every time. I do blog a lot though and am constantly checking my email. I guess it's all about keeping perspective and, like you said, keeping our real life attachments going.

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  5. I definitely understand what you are saying! I have found Facebook a great way to connect with friends and family, but it can also be an awful distraction. I'm actually considering challenging myself to leaving Facebook alone for a week, just to see if I can do it. Facebook is so addicive, that it has taken over my life, which can never be good.

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  6. I may need to join you in this, because I can spend an hour on Facebook and get absolutely nothing from it. If I want to stay connected to people, I need to call them or meet with them. Heck, even email is better. Good luck!

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  7. “I am starting to think that Facebook, for me, has become a bit of a 'watch-me' toy.”

    Totally agree. I gave up Facebook over a year ago. To me it felt more like spying…being able to see how your friends and relatives interact with other “friends and relatives” that you don't know. I can't quite explain, but I know I didn't like “knowing” people that way. And I don't miss it either.

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  8. I think your analogy with the “watch me” toys is quite accurate, and I have to admit I’m sometimes appalled at the amount of time I can spend watching the Facebook feed scroll by.

    The thing I DO like about Facbook is the way it allows me to keep up with people I might not otherwise be able to – former students who live far away, for instance. I like getting a glimpse into their lives now, and being able to virtually pop in and greet them from time to time. I’ve also enjoyed how I’m able to bring groups of my friends together sometimes – I enjoy seeing people I know from all areas of my life (even of the world) interacting over a comment or post I’ve shared. Kind of like hosting a virtual cocktail party..which is something I never do in real life because I’m too shy to entertain very much.

    So there are good things about it for me

    What isn’t good is that I allow myself to get way too involved in random cruising and waste a ton of time. But I DO NOT play any Facebook games – that’s something at least!

    Sorry for the long comment – I should have just written my own post! lol

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  9. “Watch me” toy is a good way of putting it. Facebook can be useful for keeping in touch with particular people (those who live far away for eg), I agree with Becca there, but so often I feel like, why did I just spend all the time learning…nothing, really. Yet blogging is so different, and both are a form of networking online with people.

    Actually found you through the 'tall tales' blog – I followed the links to a few people who entered the competition, as I am newly blogging and seeking to make connections with other YA writers! I have followed you 😉

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  10. I have never been great at keeping up with Facebook, and you make me feel good about that. Thanks! There is something ironic about social media – we think we are more in touch, and yet so many people stare at their phones and ignore the friend sitting across the table.

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  11. I know exactly what you mean, and I'm actually writing a post now (as in, this very moment… in a separate tab… we're writerly soulmates) about how I've started shying away from Facebook because it invariably leads to me feeling inferior or “behind” what others are doing. Though I haven't talked to some old friends or classmates in years — or almost a decade, in some cases — I know the colleges they attended, the names of their spouses, how many children they have (or how they've struggled to have children).

    It feels… strange. Odd. And if I ran into them in the grocery store, my awkwardness would probably mean I'd just slink away without even uttering a “hello.” That's not a real connection, I'm realizing. Not at all.

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