While there are many who remind me that I am still a fairly young woman, lately I have been pondering all the technological advancements that remind me that I was born in a time vastly different that what today’s young folks are growing up in.
See, back when I was 16 which is the same age that my son is now, we didn’t have cellphones, only a select few had beepers generally professionals and drug dealers. Back then calling long distance was a big deal and for the most part a long talk on the phone was met with a “get off the phone by your parents, you are tying up the line”. Pretty much we did not stay connected to each other like the kids do today.
Nowadays judging from my son and others I observe, talking on the phone is passe, instead folks text each other. Now I know this is not just for the young since I have a few friends my age that if they lost their Crackberry, they would be lost. I suspect I am a relic since I still have a book that I write my numbers into complete with addresses so even though I do have some numbers programmed onto my cell, my life is not stored there.
However that is not quite what’s been bugging me, no its the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. I joined Myspace a couple years ago when my son got on, not because I wanted to spy on him, but I just wanted to check it out. Truthfully, I have never really got into MySpace, but that was before I got hipped to Facebook.
On a practical level, Facebook just feels more appealing to me, its a tad less cheesy than MySpace and doesn’t make my computer start acting wonky. Initially I was into it until it dawned on me that while we can update our status and share all of ourselves via sites like Facebook, why the hell does it feel like we are less connected? Then it hit me, we are less connected. With the exception of maybe 2-3 friends in my life, most folks I know seem to enjoy connecting via these types of sites. I have watched my friend’s friends list grow to hundreds of folks and I ask myself, do you even know these people?
See, I am old school, in order to be my friend, I have to know you. The reality is at this stage in my life aside from family, there are only 2-3 folks I consider friends. All the other folks are associates, don’t get me wrong I have some cool associates but see an associate is not a person you call when your Mama is dying. No that’s a friend. Today I was reflecting back on when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer how I reconnected with my childhood best friend and let me tell you she supported a sista through one of the darkest times in my life. In fact when I called to tell her my Mom passed, she made a 6 hour drive with her newborn baby, that’s friendship. D held me up, in that way only friends can; same for my other best friend B, the night I got the news that it looked terminal on Christmas Day no less, B stayed on the phone long distance with a sista for about 4 hours while I got my bearings. This is friendship.
Yet I am struck that today as we connect more and now the latest way of staying in touch seems to be Twitter, it seems that all this connection makes up less connected. Don’t get me wrong me a sista is not trying to be a Luddite, I love my computer too much, but when did emails and Facebook updates take the place of just a lovely long phone conversation on a Sunday afternoon while making dinner?
Seems we are all connected but do we even know each other? Like my best friend B recently said and this is a man who works in the media. He choose to have no Facebook or MySpace because he likes connecting the old fashioned way face to face or by phone. I will add that Facebook is nice but sometimes so is a call. After all if you have 600 “friends” on a social networking site, how many can you really call on in a jam?