Friday, March 11, 2011

Be Careful, It's [Their] Heart...

   I have a confession to make... my internet problems mentioned in my last post aren't the reason I've been non-existent these past few days. It was the issue the day of my post, but the connectivity/speed problems resolved themselves withing 24 hours. I stayed gone because this has been a very strange and
uncomfortable week in our household. There has only been one thing in my mind begging to be written about and everything else seems trivial in it's shadow... the problem is that it is not my story to tell.

   With the internet and social networking having become such pervasive forces in our day to day lives we often don't notice new pitfalls in interpersonal relations rearing their ugly heads until the damage has been done. We're so used to sharing what's going on in our lives on the web (to varying degrees based on our personal comfort levels) that we often don't even think about whether a given piece of information is truly ours to share. How do we balance our need to reach out and share our experiences with others, to connect in times of joy or suffering, with our responsibility to protect the privacy of the people who are more directly impacted by the events or circumstances to which we so feel the need to respond? We have been introduced to a whole new platform of social interaction as a society pretty much all at once. There was no learning etiquette by example from someone who had been there and done that, the way a child learns social conventions from their parents. We all jumped in together with only common sense as our guide (and you know what they say about common sense not being very common).

   Things were difficult enough before we all had our own online presences, but now well-meaning people can do more harm then good at break-neck speeds. Not until you find out that you're pregnant do you think about the fact that you not only have to figure out in what order you will spread the news, but you will have to preface every conversation with "don't put this on Facebook until I give you the go-ahead, but..." and make sure that anybody they tells knows... because a congratulations on your wall before you got a chance to tell your boss on Monday morning could make for a rather awkward start to your work-week. Not to mention that you'll just have to resign yourself to the fact that everyone you know will have posted pictures of your newborn before you got a chance to see them yourself, or heaven forbid make your own birth announcement (I was lucky in this department, but know others that weren't). But, when this tangled mess of online communication suddenly requires people to become their own pr departments in the wake of personal tragedies we need to tread very carefully. The last thing someone should have to think about after losing a loved one is playing policeman online to make sure that no well-meaning condolences wind up appearing in the news feed of family members before they get the chance to tell them the news directly.

   It's not just the speed of information anymore that overwhelms us like a drink from a firehose, it's the speed of our relationships. Our best efforts to connect with and support each other are often times undermined by the methods we choose to conduct our interactions through. I am guilty of it I am sure. But if this week has reminded me of anything it's the importance of communication. Real one on one, person to person communication.


  1. You have a valid point. I myself only use fb or twitter to keep in touch with those who I rarely see due to distance. I try to get together with my friends and make actual face to face time to see them. A friendship should never be completely interactive. Somethings are better said and expressed in person.

    -ps We totally need to hang out once the weather warms up!

  2. Awesome article babe, I love you so much! Will be home soon.


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