Antisocial or No?

Here we are, at that place when we realize the 4th of July is next week and we feel like summer is already half over. It’s a false perception. We still have all of July and August. Really September, too, though emotionally that feels like fall, not summer.

Anne Lamott, a writer I’ve liked for some years, wrote an essay recently on finding time. I’m usually a huge proponent of making time for the important stuff and I often agree with Anne’s take on things. However this time I found myself disagreeing.

Oh, yeah – don’t watch the news. It just makes you sad. House-cleaning isn’t important in the grand scheme, sure. But she makes a basic assumption that meeting with a “close friend” for a couple of hours is more meaningful and nurturing than all the Twitter and social media “noise.”

Frankly, I’m getting tired of hearing this.

If you read this blog at all regularly – and I know many of you do, which means a great deal to me – then you know I greatly value my online community. I believe these online contacts are indeed real, actual friends who play meaningful and nurturing roles in my life.

And *now* I have data to back my opinions up!

I know – we should mark this date on the calendar.

A recent study of Facebook users shows that they “are more trusting, have more close friends, and are more politically-engaged.”

So there!

I absolutely see this. Social is social and the idea that one on one physically present interaction is the only “real” kind is just splitting hairs. Would it be nice to spend one or two hours a week with my close friends? Sure it would! But with KAK and Laura off in icky Ohio, Kerry and Tawna up in the Pacific Northwest with Marcella sailing around god knows where, that gets a little difficult. That only scratches the surface. I went to Memphis last weekend partly to see my friend Karen, who was my sorority sister in college and is one of my oldest friends. When I can’t do that, I talk to her on Twitter and Facebook. I talk to Kev, another lifetime friend, on IM.

I won’t even try to list all the people on Twitter I chat with day in and day out, whose insights and feedback form the watercooler of my days.

Please don’t tell me that’s not meaningful or nurturing, that communications with these people is noise to be eliminated. How poor and silent my life would be without them.

One of my college friends, Felicia, commented on Facebook that she doesn’t know how she would have coped for the last year, facing breast cancer, without her Facebook community. This is someone I would have long fallen out of touch with, if it wasn’t for the online interaction.

Yes, make time for what’s important, but make it wisely. One person’s noise is another person’s lifeline.

6 Replies to “Antisocial or No?”

  1. I agree totally. I love my online community. The only thing I have to be careful of is making sure they don't nudge out the people who are around me here, on a daily basis. But I think like everything else in life you do it in moderation. But I wouldn't trade any of my online friends. T

  2. So true. I wonder if writers do so well with online connections because we are naturally attracted to the written word as a form of communication? It just feels natural. 🙂

  3. It's true, Kelly – moderation is always key!

    Linda – I think it's true. Writers are good at communicating through the written word. It's a natural medium for us. Might not be the case for other people.

    Yes, Sullivan! How would I ever have met you and your people?

    Is there a place we can donate to that research, Laura?

  4. Well, I saw on the Science Channel that we will have hard drives in about 200 years that will be able to contain all the information contained in one human. 😉

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