My kids set me up with a Facebook page, so I could see the photos that they posted of their children and of their activities. They would email me the fact that they posted something on Facebook, and I could “open” the Facebook link and “like” it or “comment”. But I had to “friend” them first.
I soon found that if I “friended” someone, a long list of people’s names and faces paraded down the page, as possible friends, and I could choose to “friend” them or not. Shorty after I started this activity, I was at a party, and a woman I knew said, somewhat accusingly, “I friended you on Facebook, but you didn’t friend me back!” (Uh-oh, I thought. Have I just started a new stream of obligations?) All I could say was, “I don’t have to ‘friend’ you on Facebook for you to know you’re my friend!”
Years later, I have become somewhat adept at surfing the Internet to find what I want. I shop on Amazon.smile so a portion of what I purchase goes to “Genesis”, a Catholic Charity in Pittsburgh that supports pregnant women and their babies, before and after birth. I open a link to Netflix to put favorite movies in “my queue”, and I was even able to open a membership to Vimeo in order to watch “BOKEH”, the movie my son, Joe, worked on as Director of Photography (DP, as the movie makers say.) Actually, I can now watch “BOKEH” on Netflix. See how slick it all is?
All that is fine and good. I am still happy with a Verizon phone with a slide out keyboard for texting phone numbers, addresses, etc., and I am happy not to be interrupted on my phone with every “status update” that comes across my computer screen. Pick and choose. How much connection do you want? How often? At what price?
Last Fall I learned that the price can be too steep. The US political standoff, reflected on Facebook, involved people on my “friend” list. When I “shared’ a Catholic priest’s homily on the spiritual importance of considering the protection of our most defenseless citizens, unborn children, when we vote, I heard from New Church “friends’ and my life “friends” alike. It wasn’t pretty. One of my friends wrote her critical message in all capitals letters, saying, “YES, I AM YELLING!”
In a few short months, I really found out who my friends were. And it made me very sad. My true friends didn’t surprise me, and a few casual friends became soul mates … but others, I don’t know. All I know is that I doubt if they would ever say what they said to me on Facebook directly to me in person … to my face.
Many of the messages on Facebook (I’m not on the other sites), are like “mind on loudspeaker”. Sadly, there are people that I know and like, family and friends alike, that I will be more guarded around now that I know what they think, thanks to their Facebook messages.
There are passages in the Writings that describe our transition into the Spiritual World, where our thoughts can be seen by others. Is this what it will be like? “Mind on loudspeaker?” Is this what we want? “As in Heaven, so upon the Earth.”