Monday, March 2, 2009

Facebook, Poetry and Blogs

I wonder myself why I am writing all this poetry and not the usual narrative blog. I think one reason lies with a surfeit of words. I’m tired of reading self-proclaimed purveyors of wisdom whose words wind in upon themselves and meander out again, without nexus or discernable destination. I fear being one of those writers with all my being.

I’m also a newbie on Facebook, the social networking Web site. I’m a Facebook latecomer, having resisted the invitations to join until the same girlfriend who turned me on to my last job sent me a “friend request.” I’ll always respond to her recommendations!

I’m a four week veteran on Facebook, and I see its pluses and addictiveness. For someone with a bit of OCD, Facebook is like a Pavlovian device that renders sufficient numbers of treats to keep me coming back. Joining is free, and you can do it from the privacy of your Internet-ready cell phone!

Here are my top ten reasons endorsing Facebook:

10. You can have your 15 minutes of fame. You choose what and how much to post and control the timing. Would Andy Warhol be surprised at the institutionalization of everyone’s 15 minutes?

9. You can finally feel really popular. Saying “Yes” to everyone’s “friend request” including those from people you don’t know will make your “friend” count rise. My most popular friends are teenagers whose “friends” number in the hundreds.

8. You can join groups of like-interested folk who make public statements of what they care about or hate. The advantage over real-space groups is that you can obsess without having to perform.

7. It’s a networking tool. You get to meet new people in cyberspace and leave it there or take it further. Occasionally you might glean useful data. You’ll almost always be amused.

6. You can renew old friendships. "Friend" search functions encourage you to find acquaintances from school days. I’ve heard of online confessions of former bad behavior. If they don’t say they’re sorry, you can always “block” their sorry asses.

5. You can find dates and mates. From your profile to groups, opportunities are rife to facilitate never having to say, “I’m alone.” Discriminating judgment, though, is still your responsibility.  

4. You can share photos with friends and relatives for free. It’s like sending a holiday letter all year long. The up side is that friends can say, “Enough already” to your kids’ cuteness, your dream vacation or your new tattoo.

3. You can share your wisdom with friends and friends of friends. Comment options are built into everything from “Status” to posted “Notes” and “Photos.” You can even comment on someone’s “Comment.” Facebook means never having the last word. 

2. You can feel connected to friends near and far through online eavesdropping. For a quickie, check out your friends’ “Status Update.” To satisfy your deeper curiosity and really suck time, click on “Live Feed.”

1. You can be a friend to someone who’s feeling lost and confused. There just might be a Facebook friend online late at night who needs someone to talk to – you! Facebook has the potential to be an avenue for ministry if you listen for longer than a minute.


Lisa Fox said...

I saw this on your HoBD posting, where you couched in terms of FB being a ministry tool. I'd generally say a hearty "Amen!" to most of what you wrote here.

I've come to realize a similar thing about my blog and Facebook interactions. Last night, a clergy friend observed that I'm actually offering pastoral care to some people. BUT I'm a layperson. I don't have the training that clergy generally get re: being sensitive to boundary violations. For one with an innate "rescuer" gene, it's easy to get sucked in by folks who need more than I can give or whose needs exceed my skills and abilities. I recently suggested to a priest friend (and not in jest) that some of us laypeople need the same kind of training that clergy get re: boundary issues -- when to guard one's own and when to realize that the other person's needs or issues exceed one's abilities and skills.

Like you, I'm enjoying FB because of the connections I get to make -- including with some of you frequent HoBD posters. And it's fun to get to share the quotidian, mundane news of friends via their status updates. That's fun! -- especially with friends I don't get to call or e-mail frequently. It's a good way to keep in touch without completely losing all control of time.

I'm glad you're blogging, and I'm glad you're on Facebook.

And now I fear I'm just meandering.


Dear Lisa,

I think that the risk of boundary violations is not precluded merely because training has been offered/taken. Human woundedness affects all, and clergy certainly are not immune. Off the cuff, I wonder if boundary violations don't have to do with the need to fill the holes within. My scientist (physicist) husband says, Once there were two kinds of people: the advice givers and the advice takers. Today only the advice givers remain, the advice takers having fallen prey to bad advice."

Having come from a business (former commercial banker) background, I value the training received as a supervisor/manager of people and one who was privy to customers' financial secrets. That work was all about honoring boundaries and the very serious and legal ramifications of crossing the line.

I'm glad you've got your ear to the ground and blog about what surrounds you, too.


Lisa Fox said...

No argument, Lelanda. Of course training won't stop all boundary violations. My comment came out of my very personal experience, in which I have tried to offer support and affirmation to some folks who "needed me," and then realized things were spiraling out of control. I'm just ruminating on the fact that I need better antennae so that I can (a) distinguish healthy contacts from the other kind and (b) be sure to take care of myself (and recognize my limitations) while I offer compassion to others.

Certainly I know about honoring confidences! And I hope I don't fall into the "advice giver" category. That's not what I want to be or do! What I try to do is just be with those whom I encounter -- be a sympathetic/empathetic listener. But sometimes ... :(


Yes, Lisa, it's the "sometimes" that gets me every time! I know that I need to learn to chew longer and keep from springing out of my chair, mouth open, too fast, too often! LOL!

Lisa Fox said...

Yes! Exactly!!

Ann said...

Lisa - your diocese should be offering "boundary" workshops for everyone in ministry (not just the ordained). And do not believe that clergy know what they are doing - from what I have seen working in clergy misconduct - they don't.
Great blog Lelanda.

Lisa Fox said...

No, Ann. I do not assume that clergy have it all together. I've seen too many exceptions ... as I'm sure you have.

But in our diocese, I've never seen any training offered for the laity on pastoral care and boundary issues. Maybe I'll suggest that to the bishop ... whom I consider a friend ... and who is accustomed to getting wacky suggestions from me. ;-)

Laurie Gudim and Rosean Amaral said...

I was going to leave a comment here but got sidetracked by Facebook. Now I can't remember what I was going to say. LOL


You make me laugh and smile!