Friday, September 24, 2010

Be My Guest: "The Sky is Falling!" by Marc Koellhoffer

        So, twice in the last week or so, the almighty social networking site Facebook went offline. The first time was later in the evening, at least by my early bedtime standards, but today it was down in afternoon “primetime”-right around the time many people would be getting home from school or work.

          Come on, you know you do it: no sooner are you in the door then you’re checking your page for updates, friend requests, event notifications, reading and making comments, and changing your status. I am no exception, guilty as charged. But wait!! Not today! The site was not accessible! OH NO! I tried again...still down! I tried to access other sites, to make sure my internet was working--check, all good. So of course, I did the next logical thing that any loyal Facebook user would do, I Googled “Facebook down?” and didn’t get anything promising there--although I didn’t go through anywhere near the 200 pages of results I was bound to uncover. So, yeah, I tried again. Still down. Whoaaaaaaaaa.......

Then I looked around. No nuclear attack had occurred; aliens had not landed, and we were still almost a year and a half away from the Mayan end of the world, so it couldn’t be that. Hmmmm....curious. So I did the unthinkable. Walked away from the computer. I called a friend. Yes, actually called, not texted, or IM’d, or e-mailed, or anything like that.

          Have we forgotten how to have real conversations with people? I think there are “friends” of mine on Facebook that I don’t actually know! This doesn’t make them or me bad people, but the world is slowly losing the ability to be social in-person because we are so busy doing it other ways. Granted, these sites give us the wonderful opportunity to keep in touch with long-lost friends, especially those who have moved away, and lets us have new friends that we would never otherwise have met. I am also much more vocal on Facebook about matters concerning my religion and things affecting the world (especially politics) then I ever would be in person.

 Creepy Ghost-Outline Facebook Guy... might just be YOU in real life! When's the last time you actually been socially active? You know, in real life?

          After the phone call, which regrettably had to be cut short so that my ever so lovable dog could go for a walk, I found myself looking around outside and appreciating the day. It was a little cloudy, but the afternoon heat had vanished, leaving  me feeling very comfortable outside. Then I extended our walk so we could both enjoy it a little more. I saw some neighbors I recognized and did the unthinkable--said “hello” in person! Yes, absolutely no electronic devices used. Just a good old-fashioned face to face hello. I talked with the neighbor down the hall, small chit chat about how his Steelers impressed me by winning with their 4th string quarterback, and that I didn’t expect much from my Giants. I didn’t have to click send or wait for some notification that he had responded, it was all there in front of me. Practically uncharted territory for people nowadays.

What does this all mean? I don’t know. There is a whole world out there, though, beyond what we see on our ever more powerful computers. I hope we don’t turn into a bunch mindless Mildred’s from Fahrenheit 451. I know we all lead busy lives, but stop once in a while and actually say “hi” to someone. I promise, the sky will not fall on you.

          I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a second to thank my friend Alisha for allowing me to do this guest entry on her blog, which I absolutely love reading. She is a wonderful writer who will eventually no doubt be grabbed up by some magazine or publisher who recognizes her incredible talents. Ironically enough, Alisha and I are more “Facebook” friends than “real-life” friends, simply because our paths don’t often cross. I will have to buy her a cup of coffee very soon! You do the same with someone you haven’t talked to in person in a while! And yes, you are all still welcome to “add me as a friend”, both on Facebook and in-person.

          God bless.

Note:I did not coerce Marc in any way to write the above paragraph. (Really.) And thank you for this great post. And let me know if you want to do Starbucks or run on Dunkin'. Or go Jersey style &  hit up a certain diner. ;-)


Alan said...

wow so true, we get so wrapped up in our fast paced instant gratification lifestyle we forget how to do the simple things. Its funny, I realized the other day that if I ever lost my cell phone, out of the 500 contacts I have inside, I would only be able to remember my wifes and my parents. We are losing that personal touch of life that is oh so special and important.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Yes, I came to this sad realization last week, that I only know my parents' and husband's numbers. I even remember my high school friends' numbers from dialing them so much as a teen. But my sister's current number? Nope!

And I've made a decision to step away from the computer more. K had a talk with me over the weekend about how I should have more actual social interactions- as opposed to the virtual kind via Facebook. And I spent Saturday evening at a cafe with a college friend I haven't seen in years. And it was so nice. :-)

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