Yesterday afternoon, I started to panic. Jonah's stomach bus wouldn't quit. After six days of fluids shooting out of both ends, he was very weak. I worried that he was dehydrated or that he had picked up malaria during our vacation to tropical Cape Cod. I took him to the emergency room.
The doctor took blood and urine samples. After an hour, he returned to say that Jonah was fine. He had a super bad stomach virus. And, by the way, he has a heart murmur.
What???? I did a little googling on my iPhone and learned that 30-50% of kids have benign heart murmurs. No big deal. We just need to do a couple of tests to monitor the situation, but it shouldn't affect him at all.
So, I guess I was moderately alarmed at the news, but not all out freaking out. After I talked to my mom and Steve about the situation, I tweeted this information.
Later, I thought about it. Was that really bizarre? I took a snippet of personal information and put it out on the web. I didn't even put it on Facebook, because many of my Facebook friends have my home phone number and I didn't feel like having hour long conversations about it. I wanted to talk about it, but very briefly, so I put it on Twitter.
The New Yorker profiled Jaron Lanier in the July 11th edition. Lanier, who has written a number of popular video games, says that social networking harms real friendships. I know. Not ground-breaking. You know, there is a very low threshhold for technology gurus, aka "visionaries." Honestly, computer programmers should not be giving anyone advice on social interactions with friends and community.
There may be people who have substituted social networking for real friendships, but they are very small in number and were never the sharpest tools in the drawer any way.
Most people aren't confusing social networking with traditional friendships. They use Twitter and Facebook for branding, bursts of communication, a cathartic release, work-style networking. Maybe they use it to reconnect with old friends or for distributing kiddie pictures.
I have almost stopped using Facebook entirely, because I can't write a status that is appropriate for my mother-in-law, the guy who sat next to me in sophomore English class, and my sarcastic neighbor. There are too many worlds colliding on Facebook, so I walk away exhausted. Twitter is simpler, because it's mostly my blog friends. (Hi everyone!) I don't have to filter myself.
While I don't think that anyone has substituted real friends for fake friends on Twitter and Facebook, blogs are a different story. I have developed real friendships with people that I've met through the blogs. I have playdates with their kids. We have drinks. We meet up at conferences. Just got an invitation to a barbecue in Montclair with a friend that I've met through blogging. And, sadly, had to back out of plans for drinks with another blog friend a couple of weeks ago.
Perhaps, blogging is the ultimate social network.