Saturday, May 23, 2009

Look at Me

I read an article recently about social networking sites and the author’s conclusion was that they are infantilizing us. Our attention spans will become shorter and our focus is more and more on the right here, right now. And ourselves. We’re turning our eyeballs backwards in a epic celebration of naval-gazing. Look at me.

Do you follow my blog? If you’re reading this you probably check it out occasionally. I have a couple official “followers” but my analytics show that around 30 people read it regularly. A huge number have read it once and never come back. I get so few comments it’s hard to tell who’s here. But I think about it. To what end, I’m not sure. I guess there’s something intoxicating in the thought that people are actually interested in what we have to say. In us. I still don’t know who Olin Miller is but this truism is attributed to him: We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.

I think it’s probably true that our attention spans are altered but I don’t think it’s really such a self-centered endeavor. I won’t deny the fun of sharing bits of my life and self I otherwise never could (at least with such a large audience of friends) but the enjoyment I get out of learning more about these friends is just as substantial.

There are so many friends I lost touch with over the years—friends I thought I’d see, at best, at reunions. Now each day I can see their profiles and laugh. I can quickly say hi without phone or stamp. Shanon, Brooks, and Brett crack me up. Mindy too. Reconnecting with Jeremy,Teri, Angie, Gary, Denice, and Jeff, to name a few, has been very cool and I’m always interested in what’s new with them. Jerry’s love of his family brings a smile to my face and local friends like Tia, Dana, and Sinar keep me up to date. And again, laughing. Hearing from Vicki and Tia bring me back to 1988 just like that. Getting to know my cousins and other members of my extended family has been priceless. I imagine most of us have enjoyed similar experiences. Yes, lots of us post stuff that maybe no one cares much about but to me it’s like passing in the hall on the way to class. A quick smile and a wave. Talk to you later. It’s a connection. It’s something.

Maybe not as much as it should be though; what else explains why I keep getting such low scores on those “How Well Do You Know Me?” quizzes?
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  1. I agree, it has meant a lot to me, getting to know you and others.I enjoy reading your blog. We have so many cousins it would be impossible to know them all. I am glad I have had the opportunity to get to know you.


So, what do you think?