Friday, July 30, 2010

We can't rewind, we've gone too far

Facebook killed my blog.

I know that sounds like a cop-out, and in some ways it is, but I think it's also very true. Today is July - let's see, what day is it? - July 30th and I have not updated this blog since March. Now, I was never the most prolific or reliable blog updater to begin with, but four months is really pretty sad.

Has nothing been going on worth blogging about? Has Miles not learned to walk and has Nolan not learned to put his face in the water in the swimming pool? Why yes, they have. Have we not gone on vacation to Washington D.C. and seen the National Zoo and the Portrait Gallery? Why yes, we have. Have I written a blog post about any of these momentous events? Why no, I have not.

And I was thinking about it and rationalizing to myself and blaming my busy busy busy life, and my kids, and my kids' busy busy busy lives. But the truth is, I have always been busy (or perceived my life as being busy) and I have always had kids (since I started this blog) so there's really nothing different there.

Any my life is actually, finally, a bit more settled now that we've been in Richmond for not-quite-two years. We've met some great people and found a neighborhood we really like. I've got membership cards in my wallet for no less than seven local museums, parks and attractions. I'm volunteering for Nolan's school, I've got most of the playgrounds in town on my radar, and K and I are even having quasi-regular "date nights" and attending actual cultural events.

So what's different?

And I was, as I said, rationalizing to myself and thinking about my big writing project that I've currently got going and how maybe all my writing "urges" are being funneled into that. And my BFF 4-evah, Erica, and I are keeping a running document that, well, uh, documents our progress on our individual projects. (She's not writing, she's more of an artiste, but we're trying to hold ourselves accountable to each other and subvert our usual procrastinatory ways.) And that document has sort of morphed into a bit of an online diary where we tell each other what's going on and bitch about our husbands and also do a bit of, you know, documenting of our progress.

So maybe all of my writing "urges" are being funneled into that.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's Facebook. What with the status updates and the long-lost friends, the cute links and the political rants, the self-censoring (my mom's on there!) and the cyber-stalking and the frequent checking, I think Facebook has sort of obviated my need to connect with the world "out there" through this blog.

And I'm not saying Facebook is a bad thing, necessarily. Do I check it too often? Yes. Do I go through days of self-imposed exile to try to combat the checking-it-too-often-ness? Yes. Do I then fall off the wagon and compulsively check it 17 times in an hour? Yes.

But it's not all bad. I get a sense of connection there. I find out how my long-lost friends are doing and feel like I'm a teeny bit more involved in their lives. I find out about things my local friends are doing and invite myself along. It serves a definite purpose in my life.

But I was thinking about it, and feeling guilty for not posting more on this blog, and then chiding myself for feeling guilty and blah blah shame spiral blah and I realized - you know what Facebook can't do?

No, not toast your cheese sandwich.

It can't provide a forum for the lengthy examination of a particular thought.

Think about it:

You're limited by the format to a certain number of characters.
You can only really post in your status update, or in comments on your friends' status updates. (Sure, there's "notes," but who the hell uses those anyway?)
People sometimes have a little back-and-forth in the comments, but then you end up using a lot of "@" symbols and scrolling up and down to see who said what and it's so fragmented that it rarely makes sense.

There's no way to really, I don't know, DIG IN to a line of inquiry. There's no room for considered thought. You post, then you forget about it. Half the time when I get comments on my status update (and I can't for the life of me figure out how to get my phone to STOP SENDING THEM TO ME ALREADY) I've already forgotten what I posted and have to check my own status to make sense of the comments.

Some of it may be just a generational inability on my part to adjust to this new format. I grew up in the age of three-hour phone calls to my best friend to re-hash the day. With a corded phone, mind you, dragged all the way around the corner from the kitchen and into the bathroom so I could shut the door and have some friggin' privacy. I wrote all of my high school papers and research reports on a typewriter. When my grandfather gave me a computer to take to college, it was the size of microwave oven, and that's without the monitor.

So maybe some of it is just that I can't quite cram my thoughts down to Facebook size (don't even get me started on Twitter) because I'm Generation X and not a Millenial, or whatever they're called. Maybe I need to stretch out a bit and meander and have some virtual Tourette's in order to get my thoughts in order. I like to spell out the whole words "you" and "are" when I'm texting, God help me.

I'm not going to go cold turkey on Facebook or shut down my account completely, because I think there's definitely a place for it. What I am going to try to do is be a better blogger.

Heck, even once a month would be an improvement, right?

Thanks for reading.