Life these days can be summed up in Facebook statuses. “I feel bored, what to do?” “I just got my license!” “I want to climb soon.” “I’m craving for donuts.” From the truly superficial, mundane, random statuses we post, to the re-evaluating, life-in-a-dilemma kind. “Giving you up is the hardest thing. What next?” “LOOKING FOR WORK.” “Took a big leap of faith, this is it.” Yes, life is summed up in those few words for us and through them, we get to know how each one is doing. But I wonder, with all this free access to information, is it making any of us closer?
One of these days, I might just shut down my Facebook. I’m serious. I do feel that it has made us more impersonal, more complacent, and more dependent. Or maybe it’s just how you utilize the tool. Gone are the days when we genuinely greet a person on his birthday, because thanks to Facebook, we are forever without excuse of missing it on our calendar. That is not to say that I don’t rely on it for that purpose. But I do genuinely greet people I wanna greet and I’m never bad with birthdays.
And gone are the days when we genuinely check up on a friend. These days, all I have to do is check a friend’s wall, spend a minute or two browsing her albums, scroll down for recent heart break hints, and I would have already done myself a big favor. “At least I know what she’s been up to these days.”
But is that even enough? Over Christmas, I expected, as I normally did, to get greetings from friends. I swear, there was a time when I’d wake up on Christmas day and my phone screen reads, “inbox full; please delete.” (Okay, those were the obsolete phones.) How about, “48 messages.” I’d be lucky to even get that number of friends to greet me. Hours before the actual new year, people are rushing to send in a text for fear that by that evening, cell phone signals will be too jammed to even receive a single message. Now, I’m shaking my phone, trying to see if I don’t have signal, and I’m wondering what’s wrong because I have not gotten a single message. Is it that bad?
I love wall posts. I do. I just don’t want our relationships with people to be limited nor constrained by them. I want friends to pick up their phone and call me when they’re in trouble, when they need to talk, when they have good news —news they would share with me first before the rest of the Facebook community. In fact, I want them to meet with me face to face. Over coffee. Or a spa date. I wish we could go back to those days when we value telephone calls which we fight over with our sister. “Ano ka ba, ang tagal mo na dyan. Ako naman!” I wish we could go back to those days when our first impulse to checking up on a friend is calling to meet with her and not her wall post. Texting isn’t even the technological savior I’m referring to. It’s nice to get a text from a friend. You know what’s nicer? To have them come over and talk with you in person.
I guess what I’m saying here is, we’ve lost the ‘personal, physical touch’ of relating with our friends and family. If how a person is doing is summed up in one short sentence, then it’s definitely up for anyone’s interpretation. “I’m good.” “I’m hurt.” “I’m sad.” Her current status ends up being conveyed through a short sentence and yet I don’t even get the whole story. So in a way, we know less and less about a person even with how open she shares her life. The sad truth is, the less we see the other person, the less personal the interaction. And I don’t like that. I wish we were more intentional.
Our lives right now may be summed up in very short sentences, but our relationships nor the effort we give to them, shouldn’t be so constrained that way. Fight the impulse to be ‘impersonal’. I’m not a wall post away.