Sunday, July 27, 2008

What are YOU doing?

I've been thinking a lot about technology...and how in just a little over 6 months, I've gone from pretty much only using email as my primary electronic means of staying connected to friends, to now using Facebook and to even having my ow blog! This from the gal that hated blogs just a short time ago. I've embraced blogs, and with the help of my Google Reader, I monitor almost 100 different blogs and am able to scan them all quickly for stories that peak my interest. And for my loyal blog readers still reading off my website, you'll see the shared items on the left hand side-these are the best stories I come across.

I'm finding so much enjoyment from reading the blogs I've found. Many are like little short stories, snippets of a person's life. I'm now freakishly connected to people I've never even met before. I hear intimate details about their life, and well, in my case, hear about most of their meals and what they're seeing food-wise where ever in the world they might be!

Another thing I'm really enjoying is one of the functions on Facebook- the 'status' section. For you non-users, this is the place for you to post what you're up to, or how you're feeling. It's actually my favorite part of Facebook. It's fun to think of something clever to say...or to use it as a place to express to your friends what you're doing, what you're up to or where you're coming from.

I've seen people use this as a place to:
-share where they're heading ('Heading back to DC!', 'NOLA, watch out, here I come!')
-to publicly mourn the death or public figures ('Who will meet the press now?', 'Picture it. Italy. 1951.')
-to express frustration ('flight delayed...stuck in Dallas')
-to express joy ('just had the best meal...and is stuffed!)
-to communicate to friends ('thanks for the birthday wishes!')
-to look for tickets to concerts and sporting events

But what I'm seeing more and more now, is people using this as a means to share really big news. This is actually how I sometimes learn about what's happening in my friends' lives. Obviously not super close friends...but still people that I think fondly of and enjoy staying in touch with!

Via Facebook and status updates, I've learned...
-of friends having had children (congrats again Jake and Matt!)
-I've learned of engagements this way (yay for Erin!)
-of people moving (ahem,Theron!!)
-of people quitting their jobs and moving! (Elliott...this one's for YOU!)
-of people mourning the deaths of loved ones
-of people who's marriages are falling apart

What I want to know is, is it appropriate to respond and react? This is a relatively public forum (there are some privacy settings, but for the most part, not only do your friends see it, but in many cases, their friends can view your status too.

Does it depend on how close you are with the person? Yes. Of course. Does it matter if it's good news versus bad news? Well, sure I suppose. But in general, if someone is choosing to share this information with you, doesn't it open the door to reaction?

Even I've found myself sharing many details from my personal life online. From all of the 'celebrities' I saw at Aspen Food & Wine festival, to where I'm heading for the weekend, to a health scare I had with my dad, to missing my mom on Mother's Day, to silly adventures with girlfriends, inside jokes just for a few people to get a giggle out of, to thanking friends for something nice they've done for me, to sharing news about my latest and greatest crush.

In this day and age, technology is changing the way we communicate with one another. And in a weird sort of way, it's bringing us closer than we've ever been. Are my relationships with good friends still as deep and meaningful? Yes. But am I also able to stay in touch with many more friends that I may not have been able to do so with in the past? Definitely. Is there really anything so bad about this? No.

It took me a long time to embrace all of this. And I still have many friends that reject this, and I can respect that. Do I wish I had this technology as an additional way of staying in contact with them? Well, sure! But I know, it's not for least not yet.

I had a conversation recently with some friends. One of them disclosed that they had a nightmare the night before. They dreamt Facebook gone out of business and was no more. The whole group gasped in horror. It's a sign of the times isn't it?

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