I kind of hate the Internet. People are rude, they assume... and that's just me! Hahaha. But seriously, it's hard to have any kind of real relationship with people online, simply because it's just that --not really "real."
Now before you tell me that your stranger-buddies on the what's-it forum on that one cool page are your "besties" and you would "die" for them, I want you to think for a minute: would you? Because I'm pretty sure that if your power went out and you no longer were online, or if real life dictated that you sever ties with your Facebook account, it wouldn't take very long for you to forget those online people.
Full caveat: One of my greatest and closest friends of all time is a woman I met through blogging. We started as blogging buddies, then email buddies, then phone buddies, and then real life buddies. We still talk on the phone 2-3 hours a week and we've gotten together "in person" five times...? I can't remember (she lives in another state). So, I know it is possible! I've met many friends through the internet, I've met several whom I've made a concerted effort to meet. So, I'm not saying it's impossible, what I'm saying is this: Could we survive our lives if our online time was severely limited or thwarted, even cut off?
There were people I blogged with many years ago. We've fallen out of touch and the truth is that I can't remember their names, let alone the names of their blogs. It's not because I didn't like them, and the truth is, when I think about it for a while, I can't even remember why we lost touch...
This has been on my mind because I believe that Facebook is polarizing my life.
On the one hand, I have a handful of amazing friends. Women I've never met (truly --in some of the forums I'm a part of, and many of the authors at Real Intent, both male and female), and many friends throughout all the different stages of my life. But then at the other side of the pendulum, I've seen how Facebook and it's casual atmosphere --coupled with instant communication --has basically eroded relationships of mine that would have otherwise been just fine.
It's not necessarily anybody's fault. It's just the medium of communication. It truly doesn't work very well, and it's hard to understand intent and the people behind the comments. It is simply too easy to vilify and react.
For example, just today I was hand slapped for semantics and ridiculed publicly for something I probably should have worded differently. Instead of beginning an argument (I mean, it was over somebody's death), I simply deleted my comment. Yes, my comment was made quickly --I should have thought it through. But really, I feel two inches tall, now. The person who chastised me didn't know that I've spent this entire day near tears, encumbered about by crushing exhaustion, debilitating depression, and constant lies from satan ("you're not good enough, you'll never be beautiful enough, you're going to be fat forever, your family doesn't need you nor want you, blah, blah, blah") only to come home to a public flogging where there was no chance I could ever defend my position.
And yet, within minutes, I was reading a post of a friend who had given birth, and I was able to celebrate with her.
This is why I go back and forth from absolutely loathing Facebook to loving it. To hating it, vowing I will quit, to realizing what I would miss.
I feel the same about blogging. The internet in general. There are so many GOOD things about it all, and yet, there is so much bad. So, so, so much bad....
I realized a long time ago that it was best for my soul to avoid discussions that would illicit contention. This is why I ignore the entire Bloggernacle and have unsubscribed from several people on my newsfeed. Am I chicken? You betcha. There are family members whom I can't even think of with good thoughts anymore, simply because our online communications have damaged opinions so deeply. It's awful. It's not worth it. I'd rather talk to somebody once a year and maintain a good opinion about them, rather than communicate with them daily and begin to dislike them, and to have them hate, or worse, pity me.
The truth is, I think I need to put in more effort into relationships with people I see in person, with people whom I am in contact with here on my street. My neighbors, my ward and stake members, my family. Depression makes me prone to hibernate, and without getting into another rant, I think Facebook and blogging has exasperated the problem of hiding from the real life that is right in front of me.
So, you tell me: What do you think about online relationships? Is Facebook something you love or hate? Both? Do you think we put too much effort into the "fake" relating we claim we are doing online and not enough with people we see in real life?