Posts Tagged ‘ blogging ’

Goodbye Facebook Part 2: Life After Facebook


Four months ago I quit Facebook.

I was nervous, filled with trepidation about how my friendships would proceed next. My quitting Facebook was not an impulse decision. I was finally taking my friendships back, showing my friends that I was tired of the broadcast environment and that I wanted to spend more time with them on a far more personal level. What happened next?

Several friends immediately contacted me to setup lunch plans, make sure I had their contact information and generally show their support and encouragement for my decision. Many agreed with me but weren’t ready to close their own account. One wrote me in angry protest.

My blog post about quitting Facebook went semi-viral. My biggest post to date, it still rakes in regular traffic here. The web response was unreal, more than 80,000 hits in a 24 hour time period. As a nominal blogger, these numbers are huge to me. I couldn’t keep up with the comments here on the blog, Google Plus, reddit and Hacker News. As a writer, it’s hugely flattering to find your words carried meaning for others. For everyone who read my first post, thank you.

I will admit, I feel slightly cut off now that I’ve stepped away from receiving the broadcasts of every small detail of the daily lives of my 200 or so closest friends and family. People truly do have to take an extra step to loop me in to their lives. What’s been impressive are the number of people that take that extra step. I’m learning, quite clearly, who truly values my input.

Having lunch with a friend, she suddenly remembered news that she’d already shared online. “Oh yes! You’re not on Facebook, let me tell you about….” But you know what? I loved hearing it from her personally rather than reading a post. It was far more fun, more personal to hear the story over a shared meal at our favorite restaurant. Being able to see the happy glow in her eyes, share laughter and smiles and give her a hug at the end far outweighed reading smaller updates on a daily level.

My circles have grown much smaller, but infinitely tighter. On the flip side, losing all that extra “noise” in the background has helped me focus on deepening the actual relationships I share with them. I’ve withdrawn from my circle of friends somewhat, but the individual interactions are richer and deeper. Gone are the daily hellos, traded in for afternoons at the beach, lunches at our favorite restaurants, emailed photos when a friend stumbles on to something that reminds them of me.

I have one friend in particular that was upset I left Facebook. She felt I’d traded Facebook for another social network. She didn’t realize that I use them for different purposes and I wasn’t swapping one for another. She seemed angry and after one awkward dinner, we haven’t spoken, texted or emailed since.

I was deeply saddened that she’d let my leaving Facebook come between us. Then I realized something very important: We’d been drifting apart for several years now. The only thing really holding us together was the superficial ties on Facebook. I think, rather than keeping the friendship afloat, Facebook prolonged the inevitable death throes of two people moving in different directions. Facebook was a tool to help falsely maintain an ending friendship. We’d simply grown too far apart.

I want my interactions with my friends to be honest and real. I don’t want to maintain a friend list because “I should”. I want the people who keep me around to do so because they like and value my company and opinion. I’m not going to lie, I still miss seeing a lot of those status updates and photos. But I also know that each time someone calls, emails or texts me – it’s because they wanted to share that specific moment with me.

And, for the first time in 10 years I did not call my friend and sing to her on her birthday. Sometimes, it’s best to just quietly slip away.

Mommy Bloggers


Mommy Bloggers

Google Plus


Sometimes technology has a way of touching us in the most unexpected ways.

I joined Google Plus during its infancy, within the first month during the throttled-invite-only phase. I must confess, I was courted more by the exclusivity of it all than because I was so very anxious to join another social network. All I knew was that you had to be invited and that it was only 1 week old.

It took me only a week or so to drum up the courage to join a Hangout, a feature that allows you to video chat with up to 9 other people from pretty much anywhere. It was scary, my palms were sweaty and they were complete strangers. In fact, everyone I interacted with on Google Plus was a stranger. And yet, there we were, saying hello, responding to posts and exchanging ideas down threads of conversation.

I really had no idea what was in store for me. None. If you told me then where I’d be now, I would have said you’re insane.

Once I recovered from the initial nervousness I realized everyone else was in the same predicament. Some hid it better than others, or were just inherently more comfortable with the medium; however Google Plus was too new for anyone to be established at Hangouts. As the comfort level grew, so did my enjoyment and love of Hangouts.

As a single mom, I don’t get out much these days. The boys are in bed early but I am up for hours still, a night owl and social by my very nature. Hangouts give me the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world, to sit up late at night and converse, argue, debate, listen to music, explore the internet and ultimately forge some incredible new connections and relationships.

Over the past 6 months I’ve been able to broaden my horizons in fantastic ways. I was introduced to dubstep (yes, I know!) through a music Hangout. I’ve gotten to know more about the remarkable differences and intriguing traditions of other cultures through direct chat with strangers I may never see or meet. I’ve randomly helped a few strangers through small donations. I’ve seen exotic locations through mobile Hangouts and had discussions on everything from food to health care to love won (and lost) .

There have been some incredible, personal stories shared with me. Some publicly in comments on threads and some far more privately. I’m always touched when virtual strangers open up and tell me more about what makes them, them.

After posing a question, what book really seized your imagination and got you to start reading I was astounded at some of the deep answers shared with me. Behind the curtain of a monitor people shared parts of themselves few people share face to face. I read about one person using books to fulfill the role models they never received from their own parents; another shared his personal work experience with one of my favorite authors.

Similar stories, moving and emotional came after a post about dating single parents. I cherish each time people shared themselves with me. Everything from a mother’s death, to the loss of a twin, to surviving childhood cancer, to orphaned adults alone for the holidays…job loss, promotions!, gift exchanges, sharing of that one little link you know will matter to someone, exposure to new music – so much to explore, but all of it in a very personal matter.

What this has really boiled down to, for me, is that all those random, strange “internet people” have become so much more. Connecting through common interests rather than common locations, I feel like I’ve had this amazing opportunity to explore the people that make up the internet.

So what happened to me? I wound  up on a cruise with some of those “internet people” and had the absolute time of my life. I challenge you , who’s out there waiting for you to get to know them? Who haven’t you met yet? What haven’t you learned about yet?

Gadget Girl


I’m not quite sure when I became a gadget girl, but it smacked me full force upside my head when my ex-husband asked my opinion on the new Kindle Fire. Here’s the thing, he’s a professional computer technician and, while highly technologically literate, I have far less knowledge about all the computer guts that goes into these devices. But….somewhere, somehow I’ve transformed into one of those people that are now sought out for advice before making a purchase!

I’ve always been a clever girl, but I largely left the programming of all those gadgets to others. Hook up the surround sound stereo? Hoooooooney! Come do it for me! Virus on my computer? Drop it to my ex for repair and recovery. What phone to purchase? Last year I posed the question to Facebook and listened to the most reasonable, knowledgeable sounding person. But, after a torrid love affair with my Evo I found myself thirsty for more.

Before purchasing the tablet I’m now using to publish this very post, I poured over tech websites, read reviews, balanced my needs and desired features and decided by my very own little self exactly which gadget was right for me. And yes, I’m quite pleased with my decision. Even the purchase of this tablet had people requesting for me to post a review. Why and how did I suddenly become authoritative on these types of matters?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining….just flattered and slightly mystified at my own transformation. Ask my ex, he’ll tell you about every little fight we had about upgrading his phone. I never could understand why he had to have a new one when his old one still worked just fine. But, oh, do I get it now. When the iPad was announced I found the entire idea of tablet computing outrageous and unnecessary. Then again, ever a science fiction geek I probably should have realized my inner geek would eventually override it all. How could I resist a device so like the ones used by Wesley Crusher and Geordi La Forge in Star Trek?

My entire goal with this blog was too force myself to learn about gadgets, websites, blogging and technology so that I would know how to present it all to my children. I need to be “in the know” if I ever want a smidgeon of a chance at being able to use the technology to assist with parenting rather than be intimidated by flashing lights and unknown social networks. Looks like it might be working….if only a little bit.

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