Posts Tagged ‘ Reddit ’

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 I’ve withdrawn from my circle of friends somewhat, but the individual interactions are richer and deeper.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.

Mother’s Day

Last year, the dawning sun on Mother’s Day was not a happy one for me. As a matter of fact, I was feeling very, very sorry for myself. I’d spent the night on a hotel room couch while my boys sprawled out on each of the queen beds. It was the last day of a corporate retreat and I’d been feeling very pressured to manage my two rowdy boys around my coworkers and boss (and their families). I’d put undue pressure on myself, they are good kids and they didn’t do anything completely outrageous…at least within ear shot of my boss and his family.

But, I was alone. I was tired. I didn’t feel like anyone was especially celebrating me as a Mother. It was supposed to be my day where I could relax and soak in the adoration of my children, a day the world celebrated me being a Mom. Instead, I was facing yet another trying group meal (imagine e a 5 year old and an 8 year old boy at a buffet), a 4 hour drive (again two boys!) and my back had a decided kink to it after spending 4 nights on a rather lumpy couch. Let’s just say my attitude was less than my usual sunny self.

Boys still snoring away, while my coffee was brewing I picked up my phone and went through the usual suspects of my morning newsfeeds and forums. And then, I stumbled across this poem:

Dear Mr. Hallmark, I am writing to you from heaven, and though it must appear
A rather strange idea, I see everything from here.
I just popped in to visit, your stores to find a card
A card of love for my mother,as this day for her is hard.
There must be some mistake I thought, every card you could imagine
Except I could not find a card, from a child who lives in heaven.
She is still a mother too, no matter where I reside
I had to leave, she understands, but oh the tears she’s cried.
I thought that if I wrote you, that you would come to know
That though I live in heaven now, I still love my mother so.
She talks with me, and dreams with me; we still share laughter too,
Memories our way of speaking now, would you see what you could do?
My mother carries me in her heart, her tears she hides from sight.
She writes poems to honor me, sometimes far into the night.
She plants flowers in my garden, there my living memory dwells
She writes to other grieving parents, trying to ease their pain as well.
So you see Mr. Hallmark, though I no longer live on earth
I must find a way, to remind her of her wondrous worth.
She needs to be honored, and remembered too
Just as the children of earth will do.
Thank you Mr. Hallmark, I know you’ll do your best
I have done all I can do; to you I’ll leave the rest.
Find a way to tell her, how much she means to me
Until I can do it for myself, when she joins me in eternity.
Paige and Landon

The poem was signed: Rest in Peace Landon Michael and Paige Neichole. Born sleeping February 26, 2006. Mommy loves you.

Then I cried, much as I am crying now just reading it again. And then I went over to my boys, woke them with fierce hugs, threw open the curtains and let the morning sunshine come streaming through the sliding glass doors. I hugged them again and kissed their chubby little cheeks, felt their small hands around the back of my neck and cried some more. I still remember the very first time my older son truly hugged me. Tiny hands clasping around my neck and face nuzzled into mine.

That was the moment that I decided Mother’s Day wasn’t about me at all. It was a day to celebrate the gift that is my children. A day to celebrate that I am lucky enough to be mom to these beautiful, delightful little beings. I’m honored to have their love.

Sure, the day was filled with ups and downs. We still had a buffet breakfast and 4 hour car ride ahead of us but I knew that I was fortunate to have the day with them – no matter how trying the circumstances.

I write this post a few days before Mother’s Day.

First, I want to honor the women out there who have lost their children. I cannot begin to know their loss, but my heart hurts for them. The anonymous redditor that posted the poem has since closed the account, but I will think about her every Mother’s Day I celebrate. In her loss, she’s given me the most important Mother’s Day gift I’ll ever receive.

Second, my boys were so excited for the gifts they have made for me they simply could not wait another second to present them to me.

From Big Bit, a cake he decorated:

Happy Mother’s Day

From Little Bit, it is a drawing of me and two of our cats, it reads “My mother’s name is Stefneye (Stephanie). My mother is 29 years old. My mother’s favorite food is soop (soup). My mother likes to bey wif pasha (be with Pasha-the cat).:

Card from Little Bit


Deep down, I think all any of us really want is to connect to someone around us.  Albeit to varying degrees, we all want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of being understood, a sense of being cared for and a sense of being listened to. In return, we want to reciprocate and mirror these feelings to at least one other human being out there.

Recently I’ve been deeply touched by an outpouring of positivity on a newer project of mine. I’ve been organizing a group of people who want to come together and discuss how technology affects the modern family; both good and bad. What’s amazed, flattered and moved me isn’t just how many people were interested in the project. What has stood out the most is how many have thanked me for my efforts.

It is in that moment that I’ve realized how much this simple connection means to us. I know that many parents, children, teachers, relatives and mentors struggle with similar questions about how to integrate and prepare for this world that insists on evolving at light speed. There’s no right answer, but the discussion seems to be an important one for an increasing number of families.

With a simple idea, we reached around the planet and connected so many separate people questing for the same answers. Our problems, families and issues are all different but at the root of it all, we’re all intrinsically the same. No matter what type of tech question or challenge came up, I keep hearing the same solution: build a good foundation and be open to communication.

It’s such a basic human need. To understand and be understood, to love and be loved, to listen and be listened to…

…and sometimes it’s the internet that fulfills that need.

Through this electronic connection, I find so many communities and they all fill different roles for me. Facebook connects me to my close friends and family, Reddit fulfills my inner geek and need for debate. With Skype I maintain friendships face-to-face, even when they move away. And Google Plus gives me the chance to discover new people, both in text and through face-to-face communication.

These interwoven webs of people are driven by common ideas, regardless of location. The world begins to shrink.

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