The attraction of Facebook has become very clear to me during the last ten days of my life.
And, yes, it is dangerous.
Part of the problem is that I have always loved parties. Even now, I love to attend social gatherings, and for some reason, (I think it is hereditary, from my dad), I have to talk in depth with every. single. person. there.
This is usually exhausting, but my genes drive me onward. I rarely get to eat much at parties because I am too busy talking. Sometimes, I just stand by the food table, holding my plate idly, just because I am able to corner and talk with so many people that way. (It's all about strategy.)
The other part of the problem is that my husband is also a social butterfly. He loves to meet people and is truly interested in knowing about them. He prefers to host parties, but with his current residency schedule he rarely gets to. Instead, he, I think subconsciously but nevertheless consistently, finds ways to avoid leaving social gatherings before the very last person has left.
Together, we are a disaster.
I like to talk to everyone at the party, and my husband likes to be the very last person to leave. We can't go to parties, unless we know we can stay for hours. (This is challenging with the cost of a babysitter for four children in a big city.)
Facebook is like a party that never ends! It is seriously one of the most addictive things I have discovered in years. I have actually had a Facebook account for years, but only logged in every year or so to confirm friends, and nothing more. I never read any of the posts or realized the social opportunities it could afford a wife of a doctor, caring for four young children at home, cleaning and cooking endlessly, and often moving and leaving friends behind.
Can I just say, woa.
The reason I started getting more involved with my Facebook account was due to a comment from my husband. He said, "Liz, I think I have more friends than you on Facebook." That's all it took. For six days, both of us spent every spare moment on Facebook searching for family members and friends. I even invited old boyfriends to "be friends" with me, regardless of whether things had ended badly between us.
My husband started inviting his entire medical school class and every medical resident he had worked with during his intern year. Was I deterred? No way. I kept brainstorming. Plus, I was having the time of my life connecting with friends and family. I absolutely loved it. I could even control the convenience factor of the human interactions throughout each day. I felt my life had changed, although I recognized that I would eventually need to find a balance or I could be swallowed entirely.
Suddenly, an unexpected and wonderful new project fell into my lap. The party was abruptly over: I had something new to work on during my free time, and at night. Facebook fell by the wayside. It had entered with such force; I was not even comfortable with the strong pull I felt from it. But now, looking back, I am surprised at how quickly I was able to suddenly ignore that pull, that daily human interaction, and shift my focus and energy to something else.
My view of Facebook and my understanding of its attention and praise is now evident. And I'm sure I will try to log in and visit with people - once in a while. Now my husband has so many more friends than I do, I'll never catch up to him. But, I'm okay with it. Really. Because the reason I will be at the party is to talk and catch up with everyone there, and not for anything else. And that is going to take me a very long time, hopefully, because I love projects almost more than I love people - sometimes.)