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Sophie's Choice: How social is social networking?

October 5, 2011

Facebook has totally turned me into a stalker. No, not a stalker like Cristin KeleherI (I know where to find the frozen pizza without breaking and entering), but one of those people who really needs to cut back on the cyber connections and brush up on her human connections (that does sound a wee bit murkily unwholesome, but you get what I mean).
Actually, the word “stalking” has lost some of its potency. In this day and age of Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, where we can all keep tabs on the most mundane and personal details of people we don’t even know, stalking an almost appropriate description for how we utilize the internet in a communal avenue. Plus, unless you can make the daily minutiae of your life sound vaguely amusing, you probably should save it for your diary. Posts such as “I’m going to watch a movie,” or “I had pop tarts for breakfast,” lack pizzazz. I really don’t give a dead rat’s rear end about your breakfast pastry, not unless there was only one box of blueberry frosted pop tarts left at the grocery store and you engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a broke, starving college student to obtain them, and you won the day by breaking his bong on the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese display. Just because you have over 100 Facebook friends doesn’t mean we give a damn if you are stuck in traffic, Scarlett.
I enjoy Facebook, don’t get me wrong. Facebook is entertaining, but it’s not reality. It’s an imitation of the real deal, like Cher’s lips or saying World of Warcraft is an accurate portrayal of medieval warfare. One of the most sadly droll facets of Facebook is being able to display your romantic affiliation status is “In a relationship, but it’s complicated.” Um, either you’re in a relationship or you’re not, and if it’s that complicated, you need to log your butt off of Facebook and go fix your relationship.
When it comes down to it, most of the people we know on Facebook are actually our acquaintances, which of course doesn’t sound as chummy and warm as friends. If any of my fellow Facebookers are reading this, I don’t mean to sound cold or distant. I like to think we became net buddies for a reason, which is to have that small window into each other’s lives, ask questions, check up dates and get responses from one another. Granted, I don’t want to help you build a damn barn for your Farmville application; if I feel the urge to throw up four walls to keep in the critters I’ll go to an actual barn raising party with real farmers. But at the same time, you put up with my self-indulgent posts, so I suppose that balances it out.
What it comes down to, though, is how many of our Facebook friends, Myspace amigos and Twitter pals can we rally to us when we need true friends to unite behind us? How often do we see one another beyond the confines of our laptop screen? Which of your online peeps do you call to vent to, talk to, or just ask them how their day went?
I’ve had a lot of fun this summer, after taking one more baby step outside of my shell of solitude. And while I enjoy checking on my computer friends, the creation of these good times and memories with good people wasn’t online.
So lets get together some time soon, some other place besides the information highway. Let me bask in the wonder of your most fantastic presence (hey, I didn’t request to be your friend or accept your comrade supplication via the net because I thought you were jerk face). It would be nice to see you in person.
Just send me a message on Facebook and we’ll set it up.
To those who have taken the time to read through this, I dig comments, criticism, or any excuse that allows me to check my email. So if you would like to vent or share, please send questions and whatnot to Sophia@statesmanexaminer.com.

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