Jan 15, 2015
I don’t have an account with the big blue F. It’s 2015. The social network is almost 11 years old. It’s remarkable — over a decade in existence and, mostly, still going strong.
I read about it a lot. I have friends who work there. I have been recruited and asked by the same friends who work there if I would work there.
“I don’t have Facebook.”
I know I miss out on things: party and get-together invitations, announcements, limited-edition releases, exclusives. The list goes on. And yet, despite this decade of not having an account, a compelling reason for being on the network of the masses has never reared its ugly head.
There is a beauty in connections and relating to people. Call me old school, or a person of the classics, but I have feared for some time now the demise of real human interaction — of knowing how to talk to people, to understand them, to pick up on all the subtleties of human beings that are only prevalent when you are face to face.
You understand much quicker who they are, what they’re about and whether they’re someone you get along with.
As my time on the Internet reaches its 18th year and the trends of the information superhighway have evolved (I won’t say mature — we have a long way to go yet), the complexities of living a life mostly digital has given rise to the same base human behaviors we have in real life, except we have a better shield (nee platform) to position ourselves on. We can be more than we are. We are allowed to reach more people than ever before. Everything from joy to happiness, grief to despair, silly and inane, and all-encompassing in-between, is up for grabs.
Time has accelerated and isn’t slowing.
When I’m out in the social network I’ve belonged to the longest — the real, living, breathing world of meatspace — I encounter all of humankind’s creations. From the unhoused and poor to the million-dollar-house-owning and IPO’d, and all the people hustling for a living in the spectrum that exists, I enjoy the little moments.
I talk to a shop owner about a product he offers in his store, and because we’re having a nice conversation, and he’s feeling generous after the holidays, he gives me a little discount. I don’t expect it at all — I didn’t hunt around all the stores on this block thinking about who would give me the lowest price or who took the most coupons. I just went in to see if they had what I was looking for and they did. I interacted with someone because I liked them and what they were doing and had a conversation. I may never buy anything there again, and may never converse with the owner in such a manner in the future, but in that moment and time, it was worth the ten minutes we both had to just be genuine.
Before the Internet made things arguably easier, I spent a lot of my time growing up trying to understand where I fit in the world. To know who the people I might really get along with and vice versa and why. It’s a work in progress, but it’s worth my time, so very much.
I know a simple truth: that people who genuinely care about you are the same people that you should care for as well. These are relationships that deserve more than just a thumbs up, or a #blessed, or a +1. These deserve love — that thing that wells up from the deepest springs of your soul and you give away with no thought to yourself.
It’s 2015, and I don’t have Facebook.