Social Media

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.”

About Trish Lindsay

Trish grew up in Tucson, AZ. She is a sixth generation Swedenborgian, with her roots in the Convention Church in Tennessee. Her New Church worship experience began attending Sunday services in the homes of members in Tucson before a small church building was acquired (the façade looked like the Alamo) and the first resident minister arrived in 1958, Rev. Douglas Taylor. In 1962 she entered the Academy Girls' School (ANC) and completed two years at the Academy College (ANCC) before returning to Tucson where she completed her B.A. at the U of A and married Al Lindsay in 1968. Trish taught Child Development in the Pittsburgh Public Schools while Al completed his law degree at Pitt Law School. Al and Trish live in Sarver, PA and attend The Sower's Chapel. They have six children and eighteen grandchildren.

5 thoughts on “Social Media

  1. I appreciate this posting very much. We need to be mindful of what we say – it will be out there, forever. Brings to my mind Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

    1. It was not even whether my “friends” agreed with me or not, it was the tenor of some of their replies that were shocking. A little civility goes a long way …

  2. I am with you on this, Trish. Social media can be very “in your face,” and even rude. I have been very saddened by what I have seen and experienced from my “friends.” I have backed off, and only occasionally check in to keep up with overseas family, and classmates.

    1. You are not alone. My son, in California, said he had to stop engaging with these exchanges on Facebook and other media outlets. I have no idea what people are saying anymore, unless their posts go directly to my email.

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