Thursday, September 11, 2008

Friendship 2.0

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems the more “connected” I am, the more out of touch I feel. I have my email, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter, BriteKite, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, blog, etc., and the invitations to join new things come everyday. When I am not online, I have the appropriate application on my iPhone – I am always connected, always keeping everyone up to date with any little detail of my life. Just like most of my friends. I know where they are, where they are working, I see their pictures of holidays and weddings and children. On the surface, it seems great, amazing that it no longer matters if you live next door or on the opposite side of the planet, we are always there in each other’s lives, in the know about what is going on the moment it happens.

But are we?
I wonder...

I feel more disconnected from my friends than I ever did before. I have fallen into the trap of letting Facebook and my blog keep the people I care about up to date. I become lazy and passive in my friendships. I used to be the guy that picked up the phone and sent long personal emails and now it’s almost as if I can’t be bothered. I would worry if I hadn’t heard from someone for a couple of days. I used to take my time writing for just that one person who was on my mind, investing time and energy and now it seems I just broadcast my life for anyone that happens to stumble across my blog or Twitter. Friends I used to be so in touch with are the ones I feel so distant from.

I can’t remember the last time Nik and I exchanged an email. I read his updates, check out his pics on Facebook, I get the false sense of knowing what is going on with him, knowing where he “is” in life, but for some reason I don’t email him. I don’t even message him on Facebook. I don’t ask questions. I don’t dig deeper. I content myself with the snippets he chooses to post and I comment here and there. Comment. Is that what my friendships have become? A series of short and easy to overlook, easy to forget comments?

I feel more like a voyeur than a participant. And the crazy thing is, I have fallen into the same trap. I put up my pics, post my status updates and assume that everyone is up to date and participating in my life. Sometimes I post updates that I think should get a response from people and yet nothing comes. I get disappointed. But if my friends are like me, they get tons of updates every single day in Facebook alone. And then there is Twitter and the rest. Who can keep up?  I am not one of those people that collect people on Facebook. With only one exception, I have met and know every person in my friend list. I see their faces everyday on my screen, but some of them I haven’t exchanged a single message with for over a year. A year. They are just a click away and yet that too is becoming so far. These are people I would have sent an email to or phoned regularly. Ken, Christina, Marco, Nik, Joe, Laura and on and on the list goes.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook and the rest are great at keeping everyone up to date. What scares me is that they seem to be replacing and redefining the relationship, making it less personal, more generic. I don’t want that to happen with my friends. I value my friends. I love my friends. We have seen each other through high school, relationships, children, careers, illness and death. We have shared cocktails and gossip, leaned on each other and pulled each other up. Ken, Ulco and Marco have at different times saved me, coming to my rescue at just the right moment, even if they didn’t know it at the time.

I like the snippets of life I see everyday about my friends. I just don’t like when I see the snippets replacing the real deal. So I am going to pick up the phone more. I am going to write more emails. I will get back onto Messenger and I am going to get my friendships back the way I need them to be. A lot more personal.

1 comment:

  1. You are so right about that and I think just about anyone who reads this will feel a bit ashamed of their sloppyness as far as friendships are concerned. I too, have a false perception of being "in touch". I "see" every move you make, but you don't see me looking at you and vice versa. I hereby solemnly swear to break through the one sided mirror and move back to friendship 1.0 :-)