I posted this on Facebook yesterday. I don’t need to give much background on it. I suspect that my experiences are much like that of others. This kind of social media is a new phenomenon for me. It has the power for good and evil, like atomic energy. I looked at Facebook this morning. There were 12 likes. Today, I am off to serve. That makes me happy. It makes others happy. It changes the world for the better.
Here is what I posted:
CLICK “LIKE” IF YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND…AND I WILL THINK ABOUT IT
When I was first introduced to Facebook, I was a techno-mess. I did not understand how it worked. I thought that everything that I saw on the page, everyone else in the whole world saw. It took a long time for me to get the hang of it. Once I did, I rather liked it. I befriended family members that I rarely talk to and got to know my nieces and nephews and my cousins’ children. I saw pictures of my grandchildren at play and my friends on vacation. I even got a glimpse into the lives of people I barely know and was often delighted by what I found out about them.
I learned a lot about people’s religious beliefs and political opinions. At first, I rather liked it when people entered these territories, but I began to notice that sometimes, people would get rather testy and accusatory, even mean in their discussion. I often commented in an effort to be a peacemaker, to get people to understand issues more deeply or to listen to another commenter with respect. It really challenged my writing and made me think carefully about my own judgments.
But lately, Facebook has turned dark. People are being hurt and my heart is starting to break.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am accustomed to pain shared. But my style is to share pain with people I trust and who trust me. In the early mornings still in my pajamas, at a remote coffee shop, at a meeting of friends committed to one’s growth and health, in a visiting room at the county jail, at a hospital bedside. I am a good listener and I know how to hold one’s story in confidence. If I want to use someone’s experience to help another, I avoid using names. Everyone’s story is their own to share. It is not for me to share it for them.
I have a dear friend. She has a Facebook account but never uses it as a means of communication. She is part of a “group” to which I also belong made up of women who are committed to one another in love and friendship. But she communicates with friends and family in person, via phone, e-mail, and when needed, texting. I envy her. She never bought into Facebook. Her life is full and joyful. Anyone who wants to contact her knows how to find her.
I saw on Facebook a couple of times where people made an announcement that they would be unfriending everyone unless they somehow communicated otherwise. So I have decided to do the same and see where it takes me. Family and closer friends can reach me. E-mail is still there to send pictures and news.
I will do the unfriending of people starting on January 26. Just click “like” and I will know. If you have something to say, I’d prefer if you’d send me a private message.
Thank you. Judy
PS. It is 3:47 am. I have not been to sleep yet. I hope I will be able to sleep now. I have to teach in the morning.