Did you ever get the feeling that there were just too many connections out there?
Everything on the internet has been made social, which, for all the great rhetoric, means we find out when people who are on our digital friends lists are at McDonalds, or we are faced with a pile of confusing symbols that seem to suggest # and @ are taking over the language.
I would like to prune my Facebook friends list. I’m afraid this would either hurt people’s feelings or, possibly worse, they wouldn’t even notice. I would like to prune my Twitter list down to people I either know or who are writing things that build up my thought life though, again, I don’t want to offend someone.
I would like to turn off comments on this slowly dying blog.
Confession of sorts: She announced later that she had, indeed, pruned her Facebook friends list. I immediately dragged my own list out of its normally-undisturbed slot on the left sidebar to see if I’d been eased out. I hadn’t. (And then, being me, I wondered how I’d managed to get onto her list in the first place.)
How do you say “I don’t know you. You’re probably very nice. I can’t add your voice to the mix right now. Sorry.”
Just like that, I suppose.
It’s a lot of noise, you know. It splits my attention far too much. I neglect important things when I’m busy in the care of everything. I envy my friend, in some ways, who never created a Facebook account, or anything similar. “Don’t do it,” I said. “Just don’t.”
I question my own wisdom in creating a Facebook account. Yet it’s kept connections open among some people who need connections open: myself, my ex, our two children, and by extension their 4.3 children. It’s brought me back in touch with people I used to visit a decade ago; it’s brought me back in touch with people who built the local modem community 25 years ago; it’s even brought me back in touch with people from my high-school class, which graduated 41 years ago.
But I can’t allow it to become a time sink, which is why I’ve automated so much of the process: spending all day on Facebook (or worse, on Twitter) is bad for one’s mental health, and not conducive to holding a job.
So I left her a note, not on Twitter, not on Facebook, but on that “slowly dying blog.” It read something like this:
I am always just a trifle unnerved when you venture into “Why bother?” territory, mostly because I know this isn’t as important to you as Real Life — and it shouldn’t be — but partly because I’ll miss you when you’re not around.
Clumsy, but true. There are times in our lives when that’s the best we can do.