“Let’s do the Time Warp again…” or maybe we should just get stuck in the weird space between the past and the present.
I find that I am a bit of an enigma because I actually forget the internet exists.
I still get overwhelmed when I have to research something because, in the back of my mind, I start planning the time to go to the library, call experts, taking notes… If you are my age or older you understand the angst I go through.
It never fails that somewhere in the ramp up to my “research panic” someone will say something to the effect of “there is a great video on YouTube.” Problem solved, panic adverted.
There are times when I actually avoid the internet.
I believe there are some things that should be done in person or traditionally. It is ok to thank people in an email, but it is truly impressive to write, by hand, on paper, a thank you note. I wrote a few weeks ago about the Idaho Legislature debating a bill that would require schools to teach penmanship, and the point I made in that column applies here as well; grandma doesn’t get Facebook, but she understands a Hallmark card.
Recently Facebook drew my ire for its pervasiveness.
Let’s not make too big of a deal about this next bit of information. I recently asked my girlfriend to marry me, which is a big deal because, for reasons that are beyond me, she actually said yes.
What I would like to talk about is the ensuing mess that Facebook created.
I believe telling friends and family that you are about to add another member (or several) to the clan is a piece of news that should be delivered with a personal touch.
The downside to this traditional approach is that it is a time consuming process. It takes some time to find the people you want to tell and then a few more seconds to actually, in your own voice, tell them. I will admit the process was taking a significant amount of time, but some things you just shouldn’t rush. Facebook has the advantage of being practically instant.
After a few days of not posting the great news on Facebook several friends and family that I had already told began asking me why they hadn’t seen the announcement on Facebook, “how was anyone going to know I was engaged if I didn’t post it?”
I explained my reasoning and pointed out that I had told them in person. This logic seemed to elude the people asking about my lack of Facebook posting. It was calmly explained to me that Facebook has now become the official arbiter of relationships. Apparently you are not really dating someone and I am not really engaged until it is posted on Facebook.
At this point my beloved and newly-minted fiance took the reins of the Facebook bandwagon and worried that no one would take the news seriously until it was posted on Facebook. She was begining to fret that we were not official because it was not posted yet, despite a stroke of creativity in my asking (a proposal is not a proposal unless it involves a cheese stick) and a fairly considerable sized diamond, we may not be officially engaged until the almighty hand of Facebook says it is so.
At this point I STILL HAD NOT TOLD MY OWN MOTHER.
My mother does not have a Facebook page, and works out of town in the wilds of Wyoming for most of the year so there are weeks where she doesn’t have cell phone service let alone internet.
It is nice that we have an almost instantaneous form of communication at our fingertips. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all of the other forms of social media have some very strong uses in our society.
Those uses range from the mundane like letting family know about Little Timmy’s soccer game to the most dramatic like letting friends in Idaho know that despite being near the finish line of the Boston Marathon the poster is safe.
Somewhere in the middle is the status of our lives that deserves a little hands-on management, specifically announcing our romantic relationships to the world at large.
This is not to say there isn’t need for posting a life-changing event on Facebook. Having lived in several states I have friends all over the country that I want to tell and Facebook is an excellent venue for making such announcement to those friends, but again there are certain people that deserve the honor of personalization and priority. Furthermore I am not comfortable handing over control of my personal life to a website.
Let us not forget the internet is also the same place that claims to have DIY plans for a time machine.
I relented and posted the announcement on Facebook to appease the hoarding mass of friends and family, and to assuage my fiance’s growing level of consternation. My friends and family have responded spectacularly. That single post is nearing 100 likes and almost 70 comments, and I am grateful to have such support and enthusiasm.
However I don’t get the joy of seeing a surprised smile or a warm hug in response to the announcement.
Thank you Facebook; you buzz kill.
Perhaps I should just settle down with the realization that the world, in some respects has passed me by, because after all “It’s just a jump to the left…”