Does anybody read these?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I am sitting here trying to decide if I want something to eat. I still don't feel great, and I'm not really sure I'm hungry. And, based on a mass office e-mail about the state of affairs in the shared refrigerator, I'm guessing that the brown-bag lunch I brought on Monday did not survive my bout with "the plague" either.

So, here I sit, spending my lunch hour blogging. (There it is again! "Blog" as a verb. I give up!) I'm not sure this is the wisest choice since I am having limited success accessing my Twitter feed on the work computers these days. Perhaps they've realized this is yet another way employees amuse themselves during the day.

Amusement, of course, is strictly prohibited in these parts. Nevermind that almost 70 percent of all businesses use Facebook AND some businesses are exclusively using it to communicate with consumers. Or that I got an e-mail on Monday with the 10 FB pages all PR professionals should "like." Not this gal. We practice PR in a vacuum that is firmly entrenched in the Dark Ages here.

Oh, also FYI, Facebook surpassed Google as the #1 visited website during the course of the work day. So, obviously we weren't the only minions dicking around on the Internet. But seriously, do you know how I found out Elizabeth Edwards died yesterday? Not by watching ungodly amounts of cooking shows or by reading my book-club book. I found out on FB. Yep, that's pretty much where everyone finds out everything, for better or for worse.

I love old people. Not the ones who live in the communities I write about. The ones who work here in the office. It's 2010, people.

Really, honestly, this wasn't supposed to be a post about the evils of the Internet police. It wasn't even a post about the evils of the Internet, although I do think we all need to work a little harder to successfully integrate our online presence with our real-life presence. There has to be balance.

I used to spend all my time on the Internet. It's nifty to be able to make connections with folks hundreds, thousands of miles away who share similar interests. Some of those folks make it on to the list of my top friends.

But some of those people are, how to put this politely? Oh well, some of the people you meet on the Internet (much like some of the people you know in real life) are ape-shit crazy. I had to learn a lot of hard lessons about being burned by assholes who hide behind the anonymity (or so they think) of a computer screen and a DSL connection. And, while I have lots of great friends I've met on the Internet and I've yet to get chopped up and buried in someone's backyard, I have had a lot of heartache. And still, every once in a while, something reminds me that some people are just best left on the other side of an Internet connection.

Yet, there are times I've had success. I recently met up with my friend Vicki from my Virgin Islands travel forum. She's cool. She even took me to Walgreens to get the Zantac I foolishly forgot to pack on a business trip in her town. All of my Virgin Islands travel friends seem nice, but that could be because for the most part we just meet in the Virgin Islands (or sometimes on the mainland) and drink occasionally. Although Ben did give me a sweet deal on fixing my computer. And it works, so he obviously wasn't lying about being a computer fixer on the Internet.

Maybe it's the quality over quantity approach I've taken to finding Internet friends. And, these days if I don't like you in real life, you get deleted. I've done that several times, and even though it feels a little shitty when you do it, it seems to work out better in the long run. Sometimes there's still a little residual damage, but I'm a firm believer that everything works out in the end.

Especially when people lie. I've learned in my old age that I have zero percent tolerance for lying these days. Lie about who you know or even (how does one do this?) who you are? You're out. Perhaps you lied about details surrounding a vacation we took together? Adios, "friend." And lying about me to other people? Well, that's just a do-not-pass-go, do-not-collect-$200 offense.

As my lovely friend Vicki likes to say (mostly about Mayor/Governor Haslam), "Them's good people." If you're not good people, you're just not worth it. Life's too short. And, it's not my job to take you under my wing and try to help you become a good person, because nine times out of ten, you'll just end up screwing me over and I'll have to break up with you anyhow.

This post isn't directed at anyone. If you are reading this and feeling a little defensive? Well, that sounds like a personal problem. Right now, there's not anyone in my life that I'd like to delete. It's taken me a while, but I've surrounded myself with good, loving people who would have my back in a bar fight. So, please if you are my friend and you hear from me on a regular basis, don't let your head go to a bad place and feel like this is a passive-aggressive jab from me. It's not.

I just think every once in a while, we need to do a gut check about our time we spend "connected" and with what/whom we are connecting. I have cut way back on my Internet usage and relying on the Internet to "connect." Probably 90 percent of my friends on Facebook are people with whom I have an offline relationship. I don't troll the Internet looking for new pals, although I do appreciate the occasional happy coincidence that brings new people into my life. While it's great to talk to a long-lost friend from high school on instant messenger, nothing can replace hitting happy hour with a real, live person. I don't want to get away from that. I don't think that we should.

I would much rather shut my phone off and stick it in my purse at dinner than to look up at the dinner table and see every single participant at the meal facebooking, tweeting, texting one another and the rest of the world to give a play-by-play of the evening's event. Much like I no longer live my vacations through a camera lens (I used to be notorious about that), I don't want to live my life on Twitter or Facebook. Not even here on blogger. I want to live my life on earth. I like sharing observations with everyone here, but I want to share my life with my family and friends. With distance, Facebook does make that easier. However, you have to actually live your life, or you won't have anything to share.

1 comment(s):

The internet is the perfect place for folks to disguise their true selves. I personally do not like what I read about Facebook, but it is true that businesses, like most individuals, seem to feel compelled to join. Reading the newspaper one learns of too many instances where harm has been done to people, especially young persons, by some cruel individual on Facebook. How can anyone know that something is factual just because they read it on Facebook?

By Blogger GladysMP, at 12/09/2010 3:02 PM  

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