Friday, November 26, 2010

Facebook Rant and Random Photos

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I noticed

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in an instant

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something special

from the corner of my eye.

A fleeting moment, moves me to reach out and snatch it,

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knowing I’ll never see that same snapshot again.

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Every day I stomp my feet and quietly swear about the whereabouts of my camera. Unlike previous years, I forget too often.

Today, I offer the end of Spring and Summer 2010 photos, and an editorial slash rant regarding Facebook.



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Blog worthy? Absolutely. There’s a story to tell but it hasn’t been written. That’s why I argue with myself every day. Rather than to write or edit photos in my hour of spare time before lights out, I look at Facebook status updates from loads people I don’t know.

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At the end of the day I sit here, hunched over, slack-jawed, and mesmerized by nothing, really. Being consistently late to everyone’s Facebook party, I’m always 300+ Most Recent Items behind. Tired from a day at the office and contentedly tired from my hour at the gym is when Facebook has the power to pull me in. I often wonder if there’s a reason for my preoccupation with meaningless status updates...

Something is wrong with me. Do I want to know what is wrong? Uh, no

Facebook is boring as hell most of the time but it’s like crack cocaine, from what I’ve heard and experienced. I don’t like it. I like it. I don’t like it. I like it. I hate it. I love it. I don’t have the time to sit and stare at it but I waste it anyway. That's wherein the problem lies.

I’m certainly relieved and happy that I didn’t buy a Smart Phone two weeks ago. A Blackberry or Droid felt nice in my hands and I would have liked either of them way too much. I’d rather be looking up and around all day than looking down and over-working my thumbs. There will be an epidemic of malfunctioning thumbs in a few years, mostly felt by children who are using their thumbs to communicate instead of their voices. I worry that they won’t understand body language, be able to detect facial deception, or be able to write an intelligent e-mail using upper and lower case. If the thumbs become numb, they’ll have no choice. I’m not kidding about the thumbs.

There are magnificent multi-taskers all over the world like Facebook pros, who update on the 10s like The Weather Channel gives the local forecast, and who often complain about not having enough hours in the day to get things done. Well, hello… Look around, work, and live, will ya? Help yourself!

During frequent stupid spells of mine, I’ve confirmed friendships with people in countries I didn’t know existed. No, I don’t care about what Amlakhilesh Pia Zorrophalius is photographing today. Amlakhilesh, yes, we are friends but you no speaky English. Be on your way now. For me, it’s time to start unfriending, defriending, or whatever it’s called.

Then, there’s the Good Stuff. Chet Baker, Boston Terrier takes me away to a happier, simpler place. I peek at him during office hours to escape from the mundane and too serious work on my desk and smile. He’s my first Facebook check of the day, before the one hundred or so Facebook friends I know well and love. The mind behind Chet Baker’s page is uplifting, hilarious, and chicken soup for my soul. I will not quit Facebook because of this man-dog and my own Licker Sisters. Chloe, A Licker Sister, and Bella, A Licker Sister, each have their own page. They rely on me to post for them but sadly, I’ve been a horrible administrator.

Generally, I believe communicating on Facebook is inferior to publishing a blog post. Blogging is a lot of work, man, and Mary’s View gave joy beyond words for me. While I know I won’t feel that same joy again, I’ll settle for an occasional squee! Perhaps a new template on Blogspot will spark the old desire. I don’t know.

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Here’s the twist you’re waiting for, if you know me and my blog. I’m not all about disliking Facebook.

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In mid-August, an event put me on my knees. Two childhood friends I met when we were barely out of diapers were dear to me as constant playmates, friends, and foes for more than fifteen years. I lost touch with Debbie after high school graduation in 1973 and hadn’t seen Mary Lee since 1983. They are both forever girlfriends, still living in Maryland.

We met again on August 14th. On Facebook. Holding head in hands, I cried.


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Three years ago I met a Facebook friend through blogging. We’ve had different views and have exchanged a few heated e-mails but after pause and consideration, we gained respect. A young man, whose health is seriously compromised now… Again, I cry for a person I haven’t touched, physically.

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Thank you, Facebook.


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You're a blessing; however, seeing less of you means I get cleaner closets and more time soaking up the sun.

29 comments:

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Facebook is a big black hole time-sucker. BUT, liike you said, I've reconnected with old friends and have been found by relatives that I never knew. And then there are the intense bursts of "chat" with my Flock pals that make me wheeze from laughter! It's a balancing act.

Now you've kicked me in the pants to get a blog post put together. I haven't blogged since August and I know it's the painless, effortless, twitchy atmosphere of FB that has kept me away from my blog.

Miss you a bunch, May.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Lynnie said it best, but I'll add to the chorus. As usual, Mary, you've hit a painful nail right on the thumb. Tears started in my eyes three different times reading this wise and clear-eyed "rant."
There are so many different ways to approach Facebook, as many different ways as there are facets to this fascinating and sometimes infuriating online forum.

To evaluate time spent there, I think it helps to figure out where you are on the output/input spectrum. I am a compulsive creator of content. It does something for me to channel a dog's thoughts or write a haiku in 40 minutes of running. It does a lot for me to know I can bring you a little joy. I like putting a product out and then going away. As a result, I almost never read the news feed. So I kid myself that don't wind up frittering away that much time. Phoebe, who hangs on her news feed, was astonished when I confessed this tidbit. We all have different ways of approaching it, and not any one is "correct" or even workable. Nobody knows whether time spent on Facebook is wasted, forgotten, vortex time, or time well spent, because it's a constantly shifting landscape. You found long-lost friends. Enough said.

One thing that I believe: The temptation to live out loud and divulge too much is a strong one, but it is never rewarded when one goes back to real life. We have to remember where it is we really live, and to whom we owe our affection, friendship and time, or risk being swallowed up by the virtual world and the blabby avatar we've created. As you said so eloquently: Look up, look around. This is where you live.

That, in part, is why I channel my dog. That, and to make you smile. Thank you for this post and these images. I think I love the frazzled red hibiscus against the waterfall best of all. It reminds me of someone. ;-)

Murr Brewster said...

Your path is clear, Mary. Your heart knows who your friends are, even the ones you haven't met. Spend an hour hiding the rest, get yourself a nice clean, spare home page. Blogs are like letter-writing. If you write to someone a lot, you have a lot to say. If you don't, it's hard to think of anything. Now, save your thumb for the "hide" button.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Back to agree with Murr (I never clean my FB closet; maybe that's why I can't wade through the news feed). And to say I love the sounding koi image. There go flukes!

NatureWoman said...

I simply love your photos, Mary. And I feel the same way about FB as you do. . . there's a definite love-hate relationship going on with it. But I get to see family photos I would *never* see in a million years. And I love my friends.

Anonymous said...

Love your photos as always Mary. I have started to clean my FB closet. Not of friends but of groups and pages. Most of the time I don't have time to read the latest entry by M&M's USA (even though I love plain M&M's) or something similar. I would rather catch up on my friends activities than a group I "liked". I do not participate in any application on facebook. (It's a good way to get a virus in your computer.) I have also reconnected with friends and classmates.
I also love to read about Chet Baker, the Licker sisters and Panda Hutton.
So glad to see a blog post by you. I miss you when you don't blog.
A facebook friend of yours, Lynda in Michigan.

Peg Silloway said...

What Lynne said, and what Julie said...many times over. I resisted FB for a long time but have come to depend on it to see great-nieces and -nephews I would not otherwise know except for rare occasions. So I check FB morning and night and sometimes in between. My blogging has been desultory at best, and mostly non-existent in recent months. Primarily I lurk (benignly, I promise) and like you enjoy Chet's world when I need a smile. But when I need to see pure poetry in photos, I come to Mary's View and am always glad to see what gems you have captured. Thanks for your art, and also for the reminder to hide the "friends" who don't add anything to my life.

Tricia said...

Oh Mare, your photos are magical! I love seeing them here on your blog. I am so glad you can take the time to publish them, as well as your thoughts. Not only am I sucked in by Facebook, I recently got bit by a Droid also. I'm hopeless. I will say this about the Droid though, I use it as an e-reader more than anything else. Pretty handy way to always have a good book on you.

Susan said...

True. All true. The biggest love-hate relationaship of my life, but the FB friends I treasure -and you're one of them, brighten my days considerably!Many of my friends, and all of my family live quite far away..so this is how I keep sane -and in touch with them. As for people I don't know ( or want to know)the hide button is a treasure! And - your photos are magnificent!!

KGMom said...

Mary, here's an FB tip. If you haven't already, set up a list--the FB posts you most want to read. Then just visit the list.
There are days that go by where I don't even check FB. HORRORS--it had to be said.
I also selectively block certain apps--I too played Farmville, but NO MORE, so I block things like that, so I don't have to read such updates.

Rose said...

Blogging is definitely a lot more work than Facebook, but I haven't really gotten sucked into the FB vortex. I have friends there who post something every hour or two (when do they work??), but I could care less what they're having for dinner or what shade of nail polish they chose at the manicurist:) Ironically, I signed up for FB to keep up with my daughter when she moved cross-country, and now she's closed down her page, worried about employers and grad schools looking at it. My page gets updated maybe once a month...if I remember:)

My concern is for the future as yours is. I'm worried about a generation that resembles something from a Ray Bradbury story.

I'm glad you're not so hooked on FB to miss all the simple things out there that only you can capture with your camera, Mary. Your photos always bring a smile to my face. Hope Bella and Chloe are doing well!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Your pictures are stunning as usual! I love the frog and hummingbird moth pictures. Hummingbird moths are super fast and very hard to capture!

I too have a love hate relationship with Facebook. I have already cleaned it up and deleted those people who were not really friends.

I do love it for keeping up with family since I live away from them all. It helps me feel connected to them even though there are many miles between us.

For me, that form of communication it is just too personal to open up to strangers and acquaintances. Maybe I'll feel differently later, but for now that is the way I prefer it.

Mary said...

It's so good to hear I'm not the only hothead out there who struggles with Facebook. We all agree, if we meet a long lost loved one through this public forum, it's all worth it. A few days ago I received a friend request from my 20-something niece who moved to Chicago this summer. I had not seen Gabby in several years. We've written back and forth and it's wonderful to learn she's become a lovely, independent young woman.

Thanks for your suggestions. I have hidden at least 50 friends tonight and will continue...

Thanks for the compliments on my photos. I agee with Julie - the frazzled red hibiscus over the waterfall reminds me of myself. :)

Sandy M (Delaware) said...

Once again you've brought tears and smiles...I miss you dearly and it brings me great joy to look at your beautiful photos and read your thought provoking words. Keep it up Mary, you have a gift many of us enjoy.

Jayne said...

And this was the exact reason I resisted for so very long Mary. I read Julie's wonderful "tips for newbies" on Fb and it helped me tremendously. I blocked all email notifications, except responses/messages to me, blocked all applications/games, and only "friend" people I really do know. I realized rather quickly that if blogging was a calm canoe ride down a lazy stream where you can notice all the beauty, Fb was a wild whitewater rafting venture. Fun, but with little substance or detail. And so, I appreciate it for what it can be, and like you have thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with long lost friends, but am trying to balance my input there so it does not become all consuming. Balance. It's all about the balance for me. Love and hugs to you. I've missed you here.

Pete said...

facebook? I use it for silly games!

my twitter feed goes there for status updates.

it has its uses.

T.R. said...

Beautiful post Mare! For me FB has enriched my life in more ways than I could imagine - but then I was new to a city that I barely recognized and it made the finding my way instant, immediate and incredible. Your thoughts on the weekend you found your two old friends sums it up perfectly. That unbelievable moment of joy made all the black holes worth it. FB has also put money in my pocket with several job opportunities I would never have without the connections here.

jason said...

This is so very true, Mary, and I'm sure many people--as the comments bear out--have the same love-hate relationship with Facebook. I've reconnected with so many lost friends there, yet I've also been deluged with so many people I don't really know and who expect more from me than a stranger should. But I've also found community, friendship and family. I've learned to treat it like I do Twitter: It's nothing more than an ongoing conversation that I walk into and away from at will. If I miss something, so be it, but my time is better spent in the real world. I've missed so much these past months and I have to miss more in the coming years, so like you I want to blog when I can, spread my available time around to those I hold dear, and live my life in the real world as much as possible.

I guess I've learned not to let Facebook, Twitter or anything else obligate me in any way. It's my life and I live it the way I want to. If some online relationship thinks itself important enough to demand more of me than I can give, then it's a relationship not worth having.

And as usual, your images and your words move me. It's always a beautiful thing to see through your eyes and hear what you have to say.

Julie Zickefoose said...

A lump in my throat as I read Jason's thoughts, enriched with a rare perspective none of us can attain without great privation, and dear Pogo Tim's sunny take on the whole thing. Take what you like and leave the rest.

This post is a feast, Mary. Thank you for giving it words.

Mary said...

Gee, my faves are here. Thanks for listening to another rant. You help me think more clearly and add good perspective. I'd love to dish another blog post soon.

Mary

LauraHinNJ said...

Yes, yes... all true, but so hard to resist.

I miss regular posts from my blog friends... am struggling myself to maintain something like a schedule with my own blog... am glad for the silly, foolish updates that let me feel connected, still.

Angie said...

PRAISE THE LORD, MARY POSTED!!!!! ROFL You have NO IDEA how much you have been missed on your blog, woman!!! I miss you, my sister misses you, all of blogland that knows (or should I say 'KNEW' you when) you miss you!!! I was thrilled beyond words to find a blog post from you. Now there!!!! The hounds miss the Licker Sisters, and Momma misses Miss Mary!!!:D Get over it and learn to do both (FB and Blog) would ya!!!!

Wendy said...

Your photos are stunning! As always! I am constantly amazed at the clarity and beauty of them all.

I don't do FB. Once in a while I go in to see what pics my grandkids have posted, but that's it.
Nice to see summertime photos. It's snowing here.

Kathrin said...

So nice pictures - do you use a special macro lense?

greetings kathrin

Kathiesbirds said...

Mary, I resisted facebook at first, then caved. Now I find it is faster than blogging but I still love my blog. I try to limit my facebook use and focus on my blog instead. My poor email account has fallen by the wayside though. It is the last thing I check! Love the photos and your honesty as always!

Mary said...

Kathrin,

Thank you for your compliment. I have a point and shoot camera with a macro "function". Glad you enjoyed the photos.

Mary

Kerri said...

Your photos are AWESOME Mary .... I miss them! I'm not much of a Facebook person .... but I know there are lots out there that love it :) so glad you were able to reconnect wtih old friends!!

JeanMac said...

I love it when you post your incredible pictures.

RuthieJ said...

I know what you mean about the downside of FB Mare, but thanks to FB and you, my life is going on. Many thanks dear Friend! XO