Monday, April 26, 2010

I think I'm done with Facebook.

I've had this long-standing beef with facebook for the longest time. Not enough of an issue to get me to stop using it on a regular basis, but a beef nonetheless. I've never been the biggest proponent of social networking sites to begin with, but it didn't really bug me so much until facebook. My first intro would have to be xanga, back in the dark ages, but that worked more like a blog. Then there came the advent of Myspace, which I opted to use since everyone else was. Thinking about it now; it was a very silly thing. Then came facebook, which seemed more exclusive since it was a college only thing at the time. I guess I was captured by the allure of being part of a special elite of the social networking scene. That didn't last long of course. But that wasn't so bad. I came to be connected to everyone. Seriously, EVERYONE! I was connected to people who went to school with me who I never talked to/never would. It was ridiculous. But I guess it wasn't something a purge couldn't fix after all. I'd have to say that those accursed facebook apps and their endless stream of invites turned out to be the first thing to make me consider getting rid of the stupid thing.

We've been going over the effects of Social networks on relationships and written language in my American Culture class, and we were giving a surprisingly good book to read on the subject. That book really galvanized me to take another look at facebook, figure out why I have one, and compile a list of it's pros and cons in my humble opinion. The following will be a list of MY pros and cons. You may disagree with me, but then again, you may not be considering ridding yourself of facebook.

You're "Always on."
"Always on" is the title of the book I was assigned to read. The author used the term to basically state that we are always connected with everyone else within our social networks. We are always online. People know what we are doing and we also know what they are doing. We can reach them whenever, and they can do the same with us. I don't think it is so bad to be available, but when do we stop being available? When do we focus on ourselves alone, or get some one on one time with other people. I'm straying away from facebook alone here, and addressing Aim and texting as well, which each bug me in some way,shape, or form. But seriously, when do we turn off? I know that when I get home, I turn my computer on and navigate to facebook, open up AIM, and make sure my cellphone is within reach. What is up with that? I figure it is because we are social creatures, and demand interaction with other people, which is natural and important for a human being to survive. Do you ever think that may be this flood of interaction between ourselves and other individuals over the web may be detracting from the importance of our interactions with other people? Can you really have a legitimate heart to heart over the internet?

It's totally public.
Facebook is remarkably public. Now sure, you have privacy settings, but there are still scores of people who can view you page, who get that notification of your actions of facebook, or receive you status update over the news feed. Likewise, you receive these notifications from other people. You can hide those notifications, of course, but how man people honestly hide every single notification they get? I'll touch again on the hiding notification thing later on. Honestly, there are some notifications I don't want to see. I can't stop everyone from updating with something that I don't approve of. It'd be a lot easier just not getting any updates at all.

Now, some people can be crying out in pain through a status update. I guess you are then notified by a friends plight over the web. You can then wade through the morons who respond with something stupid or try to provide some kind of advice. Honestly, the whole idea of appealing to the masses of facebook friends for relief is silly. I'm kind of upset when my friends replace my personal advice and the opportunity to share the weight of a situation with a person privately with the masses of faceless facebook cretins clambering over each other, trying to prove they are the greater friend, or just trying to provide the best advice. I think if you really cared about getting help, you'd use your mouth instead of your fingers.

I'm sure I've done the same thing at some point, but I hope to stop that. I find that status updates, facebook chat, and aim really detract from my relationships and the possibility of growing closer to a person. I would much prefer a deep discussion face to face with a person rather than through some kind of screen. Sure, you can't do that all the time, but a conversation over the phone would be even better than staring at some stupid set of text on your computer screen. I guess a lot of it is just principle. How do I know you are completely available to listen to me pouring my heart out? How do I know you didn't walk away for a minute or two to chit chat with someone down the hall or something? Just something that nags at me.

It's all show.
I think most of facebook is about "the show." Throwing up some funny one-liner in a stauts update, posting pictures of you doing some awesome stuff, inflating yourself through your profile. It's dumb. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that we all do it. Every single one of us. We all try to make our friends see how awesome we are and thereby feel good about ourselves. I think that's shady. I think if I got rid of facebook, I wouldn't be so much worried about that. I'd be a little more genuine and wouldn't be hard pressed to impress the numbers on my friend list. Being genuine isn't just something to deal with in response to facebook, but in general. If I want to happy with who I am, I think that encompasses all things in my life, so facebook will have to go for that reason.

"turning down the volume on people"
I was talking about hiding notifications and status updates from people on facebook earlier. That would be "turning down the volume" on a specific person. You don't want to hear what they have to say, or see what they are doing, so you turn the volume down on them. Why not just turn them off? Why be their friends on facebook if you just don't care what they have to say? Seriously, why do we string all those people along with our silly "friend lists?" I'd say 75% of the people on my friend list on facebook are people I don't see on a regular basis. 50% of my friends on facebook are people I never even talk to. Why do I still have them around? I guess for some reason I haven't brought myself to purge them. Why should I even have to purge people on my list? Do I honestly do that with my actual relationships? Sometimes I wish I could literally purge myself of a few people, but that'd be incredibly violent and would definitely look bad. But it's ok over facebook, though, right?
I guess that begs the question whether or not friendship over facebook is tantamount to actual friendship. Personally, I don't believe it is, but why deal with all of the show if they aren't my real friends to begin with? Then of course, you'll find a couple of people who get butt-hurt about being purged and guilt you with that "so, we aren't really friends then since you deleted me on facebook?" crap.

Do you really care about me, and Vice versa.
I think we feel like we can effectively nurture a relationship over AIM or facebook. I totally disagree because nurturing a relationship over facebook often turns into the occasional "how are you?" posted on the wall, or the occasional comment on a persons activity. Totally not so. I guess we feel like since we said something, they know we care, but do you really care about a person if you believe you can satisfy the needs of a relationship with just a few lines of text? I don't think so. I've been thinking about that idea for ages now. It has even convinced me that I shouldn't do any sort of intensive texting with a possible girl I'm interested in or anything like that. You confuse a real relationship with that digital ghost of a relationship that exists through facebook and or aim.

As far as I see it, removing facebook from my life will be more of a benefit then a detriment. It'll encourage me to be more genuine with myself and my relationships, well at least my real ones. Now, I know facebook can help me to connect with people, but if I really cared about connecting them, I could rely on something other than facebook and really show I care by writing them a letter or calling them. A short little post on the wall of their facebook shouldn't be good enough. Honestly, the cons with facebook far outweigh the pros in my opinion.

What will I do without facebook you may ask? Good question. I'll be getting my school work done, focusing on nurturing those relationships that I choose to, or at least try to, and paying more attention to my good ol' blog. And ya, I guess you can argue that I can be doing the same things I have been crying out about with my blog instead of facebook, but I don't think it's exactly the same experience. I'm not really blogging to expect some notice by everyone since my blog followers are pretty much only people I care for and people whose opinions I care about. Not to mention I have a record of things I've struggled with a grappled with, in text form at least. Not to mention I get to work on how I write, which is something I do enjoy. So that's that. Love facebook, or hate it. I'm totally getting rid of it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Picking up chicks

This one was rushed a bit, but I really wanted to get it done. I left it incomplete for a while so I just wanted to be done with it. Anyway, life would sure be easier if you could pick up chicks with giant robots.

It's been far too long since I've done a blog post. I keep saying I'm going to get into the rhythm of posting more than once a month, but I never follow through. I guess I need to start making time for it. I've got a few ideas how to do that though.

Life is good right now. I'm doing pretty good in school so that's awesome. A lot of stuff has got me thinking though, so I guess there's some stuff to blog about.

I finished my Good Friday artwork for the church last week. That was an experience. I thought I'd go all out this year, so I decided I'd fast before I started really painting it. This year was the first time I did it solo. Last year was a collaboration with Tom and I, and since he's going to school for art and has those college classes under his belt I figured a solo project might be a little harder. So I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to figure out what to do or be pleased with my work in the end. I have to tell you: fasting was a good idea. God really provided me with what I needed. I've been working on a devotional every morning that focuses on one name for God each week. Since I started fasting on monday, I started a new lesson, and with that, a new name. It turns out that the name of the week was Yahweh Yireh, which means, in Hebrew "The Lord will provide." It was pretty awesome how it turned out like that. I ended up having that name coursing through my brain all day. It really helped to get over the need for food, especially since I'm at school on Mondays from 9 in the morning to 7 at night. So I had a lot of time to think about that and come up with ideas for the artwork. I was pretty proud of the end result.

I actually had a pretty size-able list of names to put on there. I just really liked those.

In any case, expect more from now on. Life is good, and he has risen indeed!