My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why Social Media Matters

Going through the whole court process has made me really think about my social media exposure. I've been "online" since 1996 when we got our first desktop computer. I had a group on AOL called "Circle of Friends" which involved a lot of people interacting with newsletters, prayer requests... all kinds of stuff. I think there were about a hundred or so of us although its' been so long I don't even remember! I've had a constant online presence since then.

I started blogging at the end of 2004. For a very long time I blogged daily and then slacked off when I felt like I didn't have much that was interesting to share. I've had to balance my own tendency to overshare with consideration for those in my life who might not wish to be exposed in such a way. It's been a process, learning what I should and shouldn't share. I've had family members "reign me in" so to speak, asking me not to post certain things and that's ok. I try really hard to blog "my story" from my perspective and not share things that are not mine to share. I've shared less during this time of evolution, while adjusting to my new normal of not working, not raising kids, not being partnered in anyway. Recently I just feel more comfortable with sharing my every day life and you have been kind in your reception of that.

It's tricky with a custody case. I first and foremost want to do what is best for Cosette. I don't want her tracking down my blog as a teenager and feeling any hurt or embarrassment or... anything. There are things that took place during my own divorce with my kids' dad that I've never shared because it's in the past and not constructive for anything. I want to offer the same opportunity for Cosy, to not put her in a position to ever change her opinion of anyone in her life based on what she might one day find on the internet. I do want her to know, though, that her dad and his family loved her very much and fought very hard to be a part of her life, that there was no limit to the amount of money or stress or frustration that we went through to be able to share her life. Whatever outcomes we have in our attempt to be involved in her life I want her to know that we always, always loved her and wanted her.

What brings all this to the forefront of my mind today is the fact that Austin's lawyer has a strong disdain for Facebook. I can only imagine what he's seen through his job in negative ways that Facebook has impacted people. But for me... I can't imagine a life without it. Honestly... so many people that I knew growing up or at different stages in life that I can contact at the same time without having to individually call or email or write to them. The immediate support when I'm too rattled to think about who to call.. the opportunity to peek into the lives of friends and family with whom I might not otherwise be able to keep up with... just being touched by so many lives in the course of the day when... as an introvert who doesn't feel well most of the time, I would probably just hibernate and not have much human contact.

And when it comes to family... there are so many in mine... dozens and dozens of cousins... aunts and uncles in different states - and those in my own state are too far for frequent contact... I would know so little about their lives without social media. I feel like I have come to know so many family members that I would never have crossed paths with, other than a brief glance at funerals or reunions. When we do cross paths I will know them - at least be able to recognize them and know enough about their lives to have meaningful conversation, rather than being awkward strangers. With assistance from I even have contact with cousins who go back many many generations. It just makes me feel so grounded and part of a rich, amazing heritage.

Beth Moore says that the internet has made our lives a mile wide and an inch deep - and I understand what she means and don't disagree that it can be that way if you let it. However, I have, for example, a group of ladies who were blogging on AOL around the time that I started and we have maintained an active interest in each others' lives for nearly 12 years now. We've watched each others' kids grow up and start having babies. We have genuine friendships, although most of us have never met. People who were in my life for short periods of time - for a reason and a season, I like to say - are still a part of my everyday life when otherwise I wouldn't have the time, energy or initiative to continue those friendships. There are folks that I went to school with who might have only been in one class or maybe I knew "of" them but never really got to know them and I know them now... in a time of life where we are less self-absorbed than we were as kids in school. And friends that I was close to in school, our bond has grown deeper through daily interaction, we have the history plus the maturity of a long time friendship.

Maybe it's different for me since I am happily single (and not searching) and empty nested and no longer able to work and less-abled... without the internet I wouldn't have much human interaction. I am not ignoring people in my three dimensional world by interacting with people online because I don't get out much. When I do run into people I know "in real life" we don't have to spend a lot of time catching up because the story is already out there. We can just focus on enjoy whatever interaction we have in person... have meaningful exchanges without having to explain so much. I also feel like I get a lot more acceptance because through regular online interaction people have better context about what is going on in our lives. So if you see me in town and my hair is in a frizzy bun and I'm wearing clothes that I could sleep in ... you know from keeping up with me that I must be having a day where I'm in too much pain to be fussy about my appearance. AND if you see me fully glammed, you know what an effort it took to do that! And if you don't see me - somewhere that I would have been in the past - you have a better understanding of my absence.

I say all of that to say this... thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for caring enough about my life to come here to read what I have to say. Thank you for asking how I'm feeling, for loving my kids and grandkids, for caring about my cats and just basically being curious about my story. I know that this would be a really lonely existence without you all. I mean... I have brothers and sons, not sisters and daughters so I don't have the built in "emot-ability" that many people have. I don't have a partner so I don't have that automatic best friend. I count on  y'all and you don't let me down. Thank you for that.

Hope you're having a great weekend! Love and hugs!


Fat Free JAM said...

I for one, have loved the friendships I have gathered from our early blogging days. There are still so many of you that I have kept in touch with, become facebook friends. Honestly, I have loved seeing everyone grow up, life changes, I sometimes don't know what I would do without some of you in my life--even if it is through social media!! xoxo