The good ol’ days of communication

Don’t get me wrong, I take as much advantage of communication technology as I can. I email. I text. I blog. I juggle as many social media accounts as possible. But how often do I really talk to anyone?

I know. I know. Yes, this is another post bemoaning my mixed feelings on social media. Sorry, but I’m trying to work something out. I love that line in a current commercial where the man says, “Fiber makes me sad.” Well, I think social media makes me sad.

Recently, when I had to sort through all the accumulated email after being pretty much offline for over a week, I realized that the ratio of personal emails to “business” was about 199 to 1. How did that happen? I used to have real friends. We kept in touch. We used to actually converse by email. Before that, we wrote letters. By hand. On paper.

Now, my “friends” and I wave at each other on Facebook … if even that. I see their photos. I know what games they play. What trips they take. I read the funny things their children, or grandchildren, say or do. I might even know what they had for dinner. All that deceives me into thinking we’re in touch.

The reality is people don’t pour out their hearts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or even their blogs, as a rule. I had penpals way back in the dark ages … er … the 80s. We corresponded via twelve … fifteen … twenty page letters! Some of those women became true, if long-distance, friends. Two of them are among those I wave at on Facebook. The others have fallen by the wayside.

How did I get to be this friendless person with a thousand acquaintances? Really, that should make me sad. Truly sad. I need to do something about that.

I wish for you an abundance of real friends … and if you have them, don’t just “wave” at them.

18 thoughts on “The good ol’ days of communication

  1. I feel the same way about social media. I no longer post much of anything on Facebook, and I make an effort to email, or call, or actually physically catch up with friends and family. I had this weird moment once at the supermarket where a girl I knew from school, who was a couple years younger than me, bumped into me. She knew my kids names and ages, and mentioned something that I had posted about. It felt weird. Really weird. I decided then that if I had something to say, I would TELL people, rather than post it and hope the right people tuned in.

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  2. My theory is that Facebook (probably more than other social media and email) has made us all lonelier and more real-friendless than we ever were before. I had been very addicted to Facebook, but deleted my account completely a few weeks ago. I’d thought that I had made good connections on there, but the truth was that most were faux friendships. 😦 I know this because only two of them have really bothered to keep in touch with me since. The others have just asked those two where I am and what happened to me, but don’t wonder quite enough to take it upon themselves to drop me even a short personal email. Facebook can be a good tool to keep in touch, but overall it has made us far more isolated than we ever were before. It gives a false sense of closeness that is like eating junk food–it fills us up but doesn’t give us what we really need.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your FB experience, wittybizgal. I do think you’re right about social media isolating us. I believe we lose track of how many of our online relationships are faux, and you said. I’m not ready to delete my FB account though because I do enjoy it, but I really need to make an effort not to rely on that as my only contact with certain people.

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  3. I’m with you on this one, Linda. Added to the fact that many of my friends are retired while I work off and on, it’s really difficult to spend time with my real friends. I told a friend of mine just lately that we get lazy with our friendships. We see each other on Facebook and think we’re visiting. While Facebook is great it shouldn’t replace the real thing.

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  4. I know exactly what you’re talking about and I’m not sure how to feel about it or what to do about it. I just know that I do have some really amazing close, real friends I talk to all the time. I also know that I can be very close to someone just online and only talk to them on the phone or through email just a few times a year. My friendships aren’t required to be “kept up” all the time. Real friendship, for me, transcends the form of communication and time altogether. There’s a connection that happens that bursts through even social media. Not sure if that makes sense. I do know that I’d love to meet you one day in real life. Maybe I can come visit you and Kasie. Don’t you guys live by each other?

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    1. I did form close relationships simply through letter writing in the past, Michelle, so I don’t think they necessarily have to be in the flesh. Nor do they have to be a daily contact. I just feel like I’ve become so isolated that I’m selfish.

      Yes, Kasie and I live in adjoining towns. So if you come to visit her, I definitely want to meet you! 🙂

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  5. Greetings from Brazil.
    It is not always that I find some time to visit your blog, but every single time I do it, I feel happy because I like the way you always write. Congratulations, your blog rocks.

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  6. I agree up to an extent, I went through similar emotions regarding the evils of social media a while back, then I realised that what’s happening is that communication is changing, and we’re all sounding too much like pensioners in their rocking chairs thinking about the good ol’ times, I do not mean that in a nasty way, just in a joking way.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree, we did perhaps, communicate better before. I think, eventually, we will have a great divide. Those who are online, and those who aren’t, and those who aren’t and who do not learn to evolve with the times, will get left behind. Sad but true.

    The good thing about social media, is that it’s instant communication…and also allows us to be friends with people we would have never met before. It’s a mix bag really…

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    1. Maybe it’s just a problem for me, Alannah. I’ve spent too much time forming surface “friendships” and neglecting real ones. I do like the instant communication factor, and as you said on your blog, Twitter is a great way to stay on top of the news. Obviously, I appreciate new ways to communicate. I’ve been online since 1992 and have kept up pretty well with the changes, but sometimes I feel like my total existence will end up online.

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      1. Oh no, don’t think it’s just you Linda, I think it’s an entire generation of people who remember how things were BEFORE computers. The younger ones, they’ve had computers and mobiles from the start, so to them, that’s just how things are.

        I got lucky, I have been using computers since the 80’s so it all became a natural progression, though even I was shocked in the beginning…

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        1. Alannah, once I asked my 13 year-old granddaughter how many of her hundred-plus FB “friends” are real friends. She said, “All of them.” That’s what I’m talking about — this misconception of what FRIEND really means. I love the interaction with my virtual friends, that’s why I’m still involved with social media, but I realized I had started to interact on that same level with people who used to be more than that. You know … the FRIENDS who’ve shared with me their real life, their hearts and souls, their problems, not just those who share their public life with me.

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  7. I don’t mind so much… FB allows me to keep family friends updated on photos of the kids without my having to print them and snail mail them. Yay. Twitter is, well, a very strange phenomena … no comment there. Although, I have made one, two very lovely friend through that. I have a few close friends and we talk when we can and when that happens, it’s great. And yes, there is something left to be desired with all the ‘waving’ going on.. but when we make the time to actually visit each other, like friends in San Jose, it feels all the more worth it.
    I have days where I feel kind of let down by social media, but I figure it is what it is, and when I want face time with someone I book it… nothing like seeing a friend, getting a real hug and responding to her/him in real time.
    So, when are we having lunch together? : D

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    1. That’s all I’m saying, Jess, I need to take the time to have a real conversation or visit with friends. I’ve been neglecting that. I’m not about to go cold turkey on social media. Though I can’t seem to get back into Twitter. I’m not sure why. It’s not because of Google+. I’m hardly ever on there either. Maybe I’m going through a late-life crisis or something. 😉

      I’ll email you about lunch … or should I catch you on FB or Twitter????? 🙂

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