Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vicarious Living

Last week while visiting home I had the opportunity to visit with my childhood best friend's mom. Her name is Victoria. She was practically a second mother to me from elementary through high school years. He oldest daughter and I shared many days, nights, weeks and months attached at the hip coming up with various silly things to be involved in. We went to school together, took sewing lessons from the same lady and even swam on the same swim team for a season. We were mere additions to each others families. Needless to say, her family had a huge influence on my life and I will never able to divorce the ways that Victoria and her husband influenced my young impressionable character...for the better, of course.

As time passed I moved on and they stayed. Recently Victoria and her husband have become members of Facebook and located me on the massive network of people. Over Facebook's messaging systems we set up a time and place to "catch up" while I was in town. Victoria and I had such a sweet time of literally playing catch up with our lives as well as our families lives. I always appreciate talking with someone who has watched me grow up, someone who has witnessed my life from a young age. I think this is because I have only been in Los Angeles for less than five years. Yes, I am close to a few people here, but there's just something different about people who know my history. Victoria is one of them. I think you can relate.

In the midst of our conversation Victoria referred to--more than once--that she saw my family was doing well based on their postings or pictures on Facebook. She also made the comment that my own Facebook is "boring" and I don't have much "action" going on. I left our time together thinking about this. I have thought a LOT about the ramifications of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, et. all, having to do with interpersonal relationships. The more I think about how these networking tools have changed the face of relationships, the more I am weary of using them. There was a time that I dumped my Facebook account on these premises, but I reactivated it for other reasons. I will go into more detail later.

I titled this post, and perhaps this series, Vicarious Living because that's exactly what is going on. IF we so choose, we vicariously live through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogging, etc. I am not drawing any conclusions about the good and the bad of it all yet. I'm just thinking through it for now. 


Jason Beals said...

Interesting how it has impacted this generation and those generations coming up won't know life without web based relationships. With all of its pros of keeping in touch, it presents an issue of replacing the community with individual "pages" and "posts". I wonder what the impact will be in the church in five years?

mar13 said...

Thanks for the interesting observation. I am doing a workshop for our youth camp about Social Networking. One of the danger of living vicariously through facebook is that eventually it will take us out of actually living our lives. Instead of going to the mission field, we satisfies with being involved and follow their lives from afar. (But it could have the reverse effects, and challenge us to get in the field ourselves too :)

Still thinking about it