Monday, 1 October 2012

The Lonely reality of Social networks

As I sit here in front of my laptop once again, wasting hours starring into the screen my eldest gone to his Uncles with his dad,  Chloe out with her friends, Mikes quietly playing with his lego and me enjoying a Sunday afternoon doing what I seem to spend the majority of my time doing, looking into an online world.

As I flick from blog post  to facebook, to my emails and back again, skimming through this world full of other people, telling their life through the posts and snippets they choose to share, I glide over the stories reading some, commenting on others but on the most part just looking.

Then a post on facebook caught my eye, 'WARNING : personal messages are viewable on your timeline - this is not a joke - I've checked!' As I read the post detailing how old private messages from 2007 - 2009 were now showing up as wall posts, I went off to see for myself if this was true, or just another scaremongering chain mail type message, I opened up my profile page, and clicked down the list of years, 2012, 2011,  2010, 2009, 2008, 2007... Joined Facebook 28 June 2007

I starred into screen, a condensed story of my life. Scrolling through the photos and posts in 2007 Sure enough there was a box '65 friends posted on your timeline'  opening up to read through the messages I recognise some of them as what maybe at the time I thought of as personal messages, all one sided, no replies from me just the messages I received, because if you remember back to early facebook days there was no way to reply under a message but only to post 'wall to wall' and with facebook being a new site and much smaller in size, people did not have the worry of over sharing or privacy that everyone seems concerned about now, so indeed these messages were never private, but infact it is our views of what should and shouldn't be public that have changed.

I read through them, 'Hi Sarah wow long time no see, great to hear from you!' I smile at the newness to facebook, the thrill of connecting with old school friends and catching up, then I stop and click away, and realise I am maybe one of the most unsociable users of social networks there is!

What happened from that time when I started using facebook and each person I added to my friend list I connected with, had a conversation with, swapped stories of the missing years and shared photos of family, why now do I still have the draw to facebook but I seem to sit their with a silence? a lonely spectator.

The catch up messages, the friendly chat no longer needed as we sneakily peek into each others lives when we post, no need to interact, personally, we can silently watch. with a quick 'like' here and there. I now have many more friends on my friends list than I had in 2007 I still have the old school friends I added back in 2007 and I have new friends that have been made over the years.

The old school friends who I remember being happy to hear from, I have not interacted with much over the past 5 years, I have not been over to say hello, how you doing?  and nor have they to me, friends who I used to email often with lengthy catch up messages, have not been contacted, my email box is missing the messages, they are no longer needed as we can catch up on facebook....

But do we? Do we really keep in touch on facebook, or is it all abit impersonal, in a publicly sociable way?

Facebook is wonderful, is a brilliant way to keep in touch with friends and family, but is strangely lonely too if you forget the reasons for having it there in the first place. I tend to have facebook open in the background slip in and out a few groups I'm a member of here and there, but other than that I really have no idea what I do there! I seem to miss my friends updates and haven't had a catch up chat with anyone in a long time.

So I am going to make an effort to actually say hi to my facebook friends, interact more and use it in a all round much more sociable way.


  1. You are so right, I used to email friends, but since we have contacted through facebook I dont email so much, as they can already see what I've been up to, and sometimes we miss things because we are away. Its very sad, but thats how things are becoming, we need to get back to good old fashioned ways of contact - except that the post is just so expensive these days that online is the only viable option. I shall certainly get back to sending more emails. Joy xx

    1. Its sad isn't it how we asume we are in touch by ebing friends on facebook, but I miss so many of my friends updates the reality is even tho I am a friend on facebook I actually haven't spoke to them in ages and in fact have not been kept upto date with their lives at all! I agree with post costs tho, which again is a real shame my children have never really sent or recieved letters throuh the post, but personal how are you emails, we have no excuse for do we, and they are so much nicer than the general 'i'm having chips for tea!' status updates on facebook!

  2. I often think I used to phone, then I texted, now I just click like on Facebook- but is better than nothing I guess....barely.....! Great post, we could all do with making more effort!

  3. I don't do Facebook, mainly because I'm concerned about privacy. But I do see the benefit of a sharing network of like-minded people. It just wouldn't be the same as a private email, or better still, a good old-fashioned chin-wag with a girlfriend over coffee x.

  4. You could always come and say hello to my facebook page if your feeling lonely!!

  5. Your thoughts echo mine, I also saw that warning (which isn't true) and checked back on my profile. Things were much friendlier back then. Luckily I made the move to Facebook from a forum I'd been posting on for a few years previously so we all fitted in to chatting on a regular basis just as we had done on the forum. Facebook (and other social networks) can be a lonely place though, especially if no-one replies. At least if you phone or text then you know someone will actually see the message at some point rather than it get lost in a never ending news feed.

  6. I can relate to this post! I don't like the way FB changed the wall to wall thing but nevermind. I love FB because a lot of my friends live miles away from me and we keep in touch via FB, also with my cyber friends that I've known for years, it is handy for keeping in contact with people. FB can be very lonely though. Also, I miss my friends because now there;s FB no one really texts or phones me, it's always via FB. I'd rather a good natter in person though tbh lol and the privacy worries me because it seems to keep changing x

    Thanks for your comment =) We are similar. Hehe. x

  7. Sarah this is a great post, I hadn't noticed how things have changed but you are so right they have, everything about social media keeps moving for the better or worse! Good to reflect though and be aware of the changes happenning.

  8. Very true Sarah- Facebook CAN be a lonely place- I think it's partly because people often only post the very positive enviable things about their life and that can be difficult if you're not in the same place! I look on it as a communication tool like any other..(although it's easy to lose hours of one's life on it!)

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