Saturday, October 2, 2010

Is Social Networking Really All That Social?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m kind of excited to go out and see The Social Network. A big part if this is because I like the writer, Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote A Few Good Men, The West Wing, and The American President.

All good stuff.

I watched him give an interview on The View the other day (I know…how very girly of me) and one of the questions they asked him was whether or not he thought Facebook was good for society and if it brings us closer together. And his response was basically, no, he didn’t think it was.

I can kind of see his point. I mean, one of the things I looooove about Facebook is that I can get on there, see what someone from my past is up to…and never really have to talk to them if I don’t want to. You know that bitchy girl from high school? Well, now you know she’s got 10 kids and not looking as “peppy” as she once did. But did you actually have to talk to her to find that out? Nope. You just got on Facebook.

You know that weird cousin who never comes to any of the family reunions and you’re always wondering why? Well, now you know he’s running his own kayak rental company up in Alaska and lives in a single room cabin with no plumbing or electricity. Did you really have to interact to figure that out? Heck, no. You just saw the pictures of his Unabomber-like structure in a friendly little place called Facebook.

And don’t even get me started on that boss you once had who you were positive would end up in jail some day. He may not have access to Facebook, but you can get the low-down when you peek onto his wife’s page.

So I can see how this isn’t exactly bringing us closer together. Because we don’t actually talk anymore. We just update our status.

I think I was one of the last hold-outs when Facebook came around. The last official hold-out is my sister who absolutely refuses to get on. And then asks me to look people up for her (which I think is cheating).

I wasn’t a My Space person and I don’t Tweet (although I may have to start…so be prepared to be annoyed about the fact that I’m comin' atcha from all over the place). My friends kept telling me that I needed to get on, but I didn’t want to. It took a major incentive to get me signed up.

A cocktail party.

One of my sorority sisters told me that I had to get on because they were all getting together at someone’s house for some wine and appetizers. Now up until that point, I couldn’t see the point of “social networking.” But throw in a $10 bottle of wine and my fingers couldn’t type fast enough.

After that...I never looked back. I started getting on there, looking people up from my past, and taking meaningless quizzes from people who couldn’t spell “personality” but in 3 questions could tell me every facet of mine.

I couldn’t wait to find out which Smurf I was and how high I could get my score on Word Twist.

I became somewhat of a Facebook addict when my husband had been gone for about a year. You know how that is…you can’t sleep, so you get on there and see who else is online at 3 AM.

And let me tell you…in my social network…I’m flying solo.

I started doing what I suspect a lot of you started doing…searching for the word “widow” to see what came up. And that just changed everything for me.

I started meeting “strangers” who, after awhile, didn’t seem so strange. I started connecting with people whom I’d never met, but seemed to know me better than people I’d known for years. I was able to post questions, vent, “talk” to people who, like me, were up at 3 AM.

I know that since I’ve started the Widow Chick page, a lot of us have marveled at how amazing it is that we can connect in this way. It would be better if we could all be together in person, but, years ago, widows would suffer alone in silence because they had no way to get in touch with one another. And now…we may be suffering, but silence is not what you hear.

It’s the sound of keys clicking away.

So, I guess I can kind of see Mr. Sorkin’s point. In some ways, it’s made us drift a little further apart as a society.

But in the Widow World…it’s a raging success.


  1. You know I had this thought the other night, that a mere 20 years ago people who had needs like ours sat twiddling their thumbs wondering if there was any help for them.

    Personally for me and mom some of the stranger aspects of Widow Brain, memory problems, problems controlling anger were bothersome to the max, but with a few klickity-klicks and some reading we could know that what we were going through was not insane, but just a normal widow grief.

    About 5 hours after my husband passed away I was sitting at my mom and dad's house on the couch. I had been awake for over 40 hours medicating my husband but I wasn't tired. I turned on my laptop and googled Widow. Linda Della Donna of Griefcase came up, and she told me (personally it felt) what I was feeling, and gave me a glimmer of hope that I might 'make it'. Much later I had the chance to talk to her personally via facebook (after I made an account) and tell her what her writing had done for me in those tender first hours.

    Ok I'm rambling now...but I guess I see the need for balance in social networking. I've connected with you, and many widows I love you all as much as if i had met you in person. I've met in real life new friends met on facebook. Re-connected with old friends. I'm not sure I would have been so well healed (at least on the path) as I am now.

    Love and blessings, Catherine, you ROCK the WIDOW world!

  2. Catherine, I <3 you! I wish you lived closer so we could have lattes or something. Someday I hope we will!
    hugs, Hira

  3. Widow Chick,

    So glad to have met you. Reading your posts lifts my spirits, yes, sometimes in the middle of the night! So - thank you!


  4. I was talking to my kids the other day about how I think FB sometimes gives me an excuse not to get out of the house. However, I did reconnect with some friends and relations since joining.

    - barney

  5. You know social networking sites are seemed to be really helpful these days because it help us to get reconnected with our relatives and friends and it help us to express our feeling and show to everyone who we really are. It's amazing to know also that not only ordinary people are using these kinds of sites but the famous and reputable people as well like celebrities and even businessmen like Michael Geffrard has a lot of social networking sites too.