Thursday, January 20, 2011


Five years ago when I first ventured onto the wider world of the web, it was possible to communicate, to reach out for that little bit of friendship via e-mail, blogs, social networks, but no more.

Unfortunately, all that is possible now is a glancing blow at acquaintanceship. Mass communication is not friendship anymore than listening to a song on the radio is connection with the songwriter. Friendship is not developed through posting a status for your 900 nearest and dearest to read in a public forum.

Each day I find myself more discouraged and lonely as my friends all rush from blog to blog and post on various social network sites, trying to keep up with the electronic overload. No longer is there time to have a conversation, to share ideas or information or personal updates. Life is now a stream of carefully crafted messages that are supposed to serve all purposes, both public and private.

I remember a time, just a short while ago when friending was confined to the important few that shared both joys and sorrows. Now, friends have no idea what is going on in each other's lives. How can they? There is no time to listen (or read).

Am I the only one feeling the disconnect--the sense of isolation? Perhaps the lure of fabricated friendship is all we need? Or are we content with the fallacy of the social network because we aren't expected to reveal our true selves. No expectation = no risk. We can be anyone we want to be. Who will care? After all, most of our electronic friends are also illusions.

I scrolled through my friends the other day on Facebook. Of the lengthy list, I believe I can positively identify fifty. Of those, I actually communicate with about ten. That is not friendship. Or linking. Or conversation. That is a false construct based on electronic impulses.

After some soul-searching I've decided to dial it all back. If I haven't heard from you/connected with you in any meaningful way in the last thirty days, I'll be unfriending you. Likely, you won't miss me. From now on, I will not friend you unless you can show good cause for me to include you in my network. By the way, trying to sell me something is not "good cause".

Professional information will be posted on my website. The random thoughts I may have will be posted on my blog. And if you want a conversation... why I believe e-mail or IMing still work.

As of today, I plan to unlink, unplug, and drop out of the rat race so I can enjoy a kinder, gentler world.



  1. The writing world is a shallow one - everyone is out to make sales and friendships based on that are never going to last. The less focused you are on sales the more likely you are to stop and chat and have a good knowledge - like you and I - of the people you are talking to. Facebook I find interesting as I have conversed with people on a regular basis I would have never met otherwise.

    To me, the bottom line is do what you have to in order to make your world comfortable...everyone else can look after themselves. As for unfriending people? Your absolute right to do so.

  2. Yep, I've met some very interesting people on Facebook. Think I'll keep them and unfriend the rest!

  3. The way people connect has changed a lot over the past six years since I first got on the Internet. I miss the days of chatting more on yahoo groups. Facebook is fine, but it's kinda like speed dating.

    We get caught up with online stuff sometimes and forget about real life. I limit my online time because, if you're not careful, it can take over your life.

    Good luck with dialing it back, Anny. You gotta do what's right for you.

  4. Enjoy dialing it back. I'm not on Facebook, never been. Hope you'll blog once in a while! If not I'll just drop you an email to say HI! :)

  5. Yep, NJ, that's exactly right! Speed dating. If you go away for two hours, you totally lose any idea!

    Amber, I still plan to blog. But really going to dial back the other junk. I would rather write. Maybe I'll post excerpts more often on my wip page on my blog...:-)

  6. I found the same thing, that I didn't know a good number of the people who are "friends". I stopped accepting people I don't know and hid the posts from people who I honestly don't care about.

  7. I agree Anny. It’s weird when you have so many “friends” but the actual one who are “friends” you can count on one hand. I still believe the best contact comes from that one on one conversation on the phone. And if that is not possible due to distance then by one on one email or IM chats.

    I try my best to keep up with those who I see as friends. I might not comment on their blogs and so on but I do go by and check to see how they are doing. (you’re one of my daily stops I make) Don’t comment much but come by and see what is up with you. Have a few people I do that with. They prob have no idea that I do but I do.

    In my opinion most people use the social media places for just that more of a promo tool than actual friendships. At least in most authors case. I think the use of “friends” on FB doesn’t actually stand for that. I’ve noticed a few authors are moving to fan pages. Since I’m not so big into those social media places I didn’t know what was the difference. Now I do I think a fan page would be a better thing to have.

    If I want to reach out and touch my real “friends” I pick up the phone, email, IM or go by their blog (well more lurk at their blog). That’s just me. The phone is my most favorite love talking to my friends.

  8. Jae, I absolutely agree! I've been slowly removing my acquaintances from my various pages.

    Taige, I'm so glad you stopped by. I LOVE talking to my friends on the phone though I admit I mostly communicate via e-mail and IMing as many of them are in totally different time zones which makes it difficult to meet up in real time. Thank goodness for e-mail!

  9. Anny - I'm feeling the same way - frustrated and overloaded. I actually have a blog post planned for Monday - How much is too much? Because man, there's a whole lotta too much!

  10. Oh, hell yeah, there's too much.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't trade some of the people I've met online for the world. I'm glad I had that chance before things went crazy.

  11. Yeah, there's too much. But it's up to us to decide where the cut-off line is. I've met some delightful people on line. I don't want to lose them in the hub-bub of the ones who are just looking for numbers!

  12. I resisted FB for SO long for exactly the reasons you said - I was afraid that if I started relying on FB to keep in touch with people, particularly in my "real" life, it would replace email and other more personal contact.

    In some ways it has because there are people who read my FB updates and my blog and don't bother to write because they already "know" what's going on. But they were pretty much the people who I didn't hear from often anyway. The people who I write to regularly continue to do so, often probing for deeper thoughts on something I've posted.

    On the other hand, I get a more frequent glimpse from people who can't seem to manage writing a paragraph privately once in a while. Non-writers find even email a challenge at times so I'm happy to see a line every now and again.

    I've enjoyed finding some interesting people in the writer world on FB as well. My main concern is the time it takes to keep up. Trying to find that balance still...