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Friends or Facebook Friends?

2013 April 22

Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family. Joseph Brodsky

A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body. Steven J. Daniels

 Friends or Facebook Friends?

Friends or Facebook Friends?How many friends do you have? I mean FRIENDS; not people you know of, not acquaintances, not twitter followers, not the ones who like you on facebook, but FRIENDS. Who would you call at 3 AM during crisis time? Are they friends or facebook friends?

I live in a city with a famous and well-respected university. Recently, I attended a campus production of the play Noises Off – a funny and timeless farce that only gets better every time I see it.

At the entrance to the auditorium, there was a big sign that said: “No cell phones please. No pictures or video are to be taken. No food or drink allowed in the auditorium.” Before the play started, the announcer clearly said “Please turn off your cell phone and do not text or use your tablet as it is very distracting to the actors.” Makes it very clear that you are supposed to go into the theater, be respectful of those around you and simply enjoy the entertainment, right?


There were cell phones everywhere (and people with drinks). About half the crowd were students from the college and they couldn’t stay off their phones. Not even for 2 hours. There were couples clearly on dates with their noses in their phones.

What a sad commentary on our society.

It is absolutely mind-blowing that people are completely attached to their phones. One of my friends teaches at a community college and she mentioned that when walking down the halls, everyone has their nose stuck in their phones. There is no interaction at all. No conversations going on, no laughing, no communication – nothing but people checking facebook and emails. My friend is wise enough to enforce the no-cell-phone rule in her class so she can teach with little distraction.

I am one of the very few who firmly believes that this particular technology is not necessarily good for us. We live and die by our computers and most certainly our smart phones. We text or email everything.

I fear that friendship has become 140 characters on twitter and some photos on facebook.

Now, with that said – I have social media accounts. I have accounts for my book Find Your Paradigm: The Art of Living with Grace and Ease. I have two facebook accounts. I have a twitter account. I have a pinterest account. I have a stumbledupon account. I hope you will like, tweet, pin and stumble about me and my book. =)

But what I really hope is that you’ll put down your phone and have a family dinner with your children, take a walk with your dearest friend, hang out with your spouse – with no cell phone!

Social media offers an opportunity to quickly and easily keep up with family and friends and get a very small glimpse of their lives. I also realize that social media played a big part in catching the horrible bastard that set off the bombs in Boston. So, I’m not denying that social media has it’s place.

What I am saying is that there’s an entire generation growing up with no clue how to write complete grammatically-correct sentences with the words spelled out. There is an entire generation with no clue how to be a true friend because their friendships take place in snippets on facebook and in 140 characters on twitter.

Does facebook hold your hand when you get bad news? Does twitter walk with you through the drama of life? Does pinterest shout for joy when you get really great news? NO.

Do you see what I’m getting at? While I’m never going to be mother of the year, I feel sick knowing that my generation of parents are not teaching their children the value of  human connection. We’re teaching children that life takes place in 140 characters or less and that your facebook friends are true connections. They’re not. (Oh – and you better trust the person you hang out with – your mis-step just might show up on facebook for the world to see.)

One of my family members boasts that she has well over 500 facebook friends and that I’m simply an old fogey and get with the program, honey. Well, sweetie, I AM with the program, I DO get it and I prefer real human connections and true friendship to that of a farce.  Social media makes us think we are connected – we’re not – it’s simply a farce.

While all this technology has made life easier, there is a downside. Computers, smart phones, emails, social media and all that goes with it have created a myriad of problems. We are an angry society with no clue how to do anything without first going to google to get answers to our most pressing questions. We get mad when what we want doesn’t appear instantly. We’re frustrated when we can’t immediately contact someone.

We’re a stressed out, overweight and diseased society with little or no inclination to get up off the couch because we’re too attached to technology.

Tell me why you insist on being so connected. Why do you have to check emails and facebook every 10 minutes? My sweetheart has at times been angry at me because I forget to turn my phone on. Really? I have to be connected at all times? NOT! :/

Allow me to gracefully step down from my soapbox. I do appreciate the internet and social media because it gives me an opportunity to reach a wide audience for my book and I am grateful for that. I simply believe I’m disciplined enough to step away from it and live a real human life.

Gotta go now – I’m going for a walk with my dearest friend – I can’t wait to tell her about my blog…

Leap Fearlessly!

Melissa =)


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