Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Much of today's "social networking" is about not having to feel lonely. Simple, no? I hadn't really realised this, but last night I was thinking back to the days of our youth, when the world was young and blogging was the very thing. It was lovely to be at home (alone!) in your own peace and quiet and yet feel connected to others, perhaps far away and only known to one by their words, humour, thoughts, style of writing. To feel that tingling anticipation of awaiting someone's reply, or the lovely surprise of someone coming over to your "house" and speaking their unique stuff.

It was nice, wasn't it? I am a committed non-facebooker – don't ask, it just seems the very right thing to do and I am not about to change. But I can see why it is addictive. I'd forgotten. But now I remember, and hereby give my blessing to those who need the reassurance of people "liking" the picture of their lunch, or recycled joke, or funny web find, or whatever. (Not like I've got any preconceived notions, no. Whatever gave you that idea?)

Okay, perhaps not "blessing", that may be a bit strong. But some auntly understanding.


Reading the Signs said...

Oh you non-Facebookers! Y'all make pronouncements about something you don't really know because you can't really unless you do it. It can be addictive (so can blogging, so can some relationships) but it ain't necessarily so. It can be all kinds of things - depends on how you want to use it. The 'liking' thing is not just about liking or giving strokes (to use a T.A. term). It is a way of sharing something because when you 'like' it then shows up as an activity so your 'friends' can see. But this also depends on how one's various privacy settings etc are arranged. it's actually very much more individual that peeps who don't do it might guess.

But hei - thanks for the blessing. And I went out to lunch with E yesterday as it happens, and she took a picture of our sandwich and kir royale on white table cloth in a beam of sunlight and posted it to F/B, and also to mine (she tagged me). And there *was* something warm, convivial and celebratory about it - and what peeps were 'liking' was all this, and the end of a long and unforgiving winter.

For some people with M.E. (particularly the severe kind) or other chronic illness it's a lifeline. Yes, definitely about not having to feel as lonely as they would otherwise be.

G'night auntie x

Reading the Signs said...

Well say something, innit. You know what I think about you not being on F/B - or Twitter. Well ok, never mind about that, but re the commitment to being a non-facebooker: I am sure there must be some Authority that I can report you to for this non-compliance. You are depriving the world (me) of your social-networking presence, and how can that be right? Hmph!

'tis I said...

Well I haven't been able to say anything coz I've been out on the piss, innit. Now, however, I am both at home and sober, hurrah, so here I am, saying stuff.

Admittedly pronouncements about stuff one doesn't know about are annoying – and I hope I didn't annoy you for real? I don't really know what it is with facebook that it doesn't draw me at all, quite the opposite. I certainly don't feel like I need it (I can, and of course, do, give you my social-networking presence here, innit, so I see no real case for suing me for deprivation of the world (you)).

I really did feel an epiphanous revelation regarding the loneliness versus conviviality and warmth, though; and I remembered very strongly what it was like over here (and elsewhere in the blogosphere) in the days of yore when the world was still new and we were young and easy under the apple boughs, about the lilting house and happy as the grass was green. Ubi sunt the neige of yesteryear, as I said to young trousers of housut the other day in a comment thread a bit further down.


Reading the Signs said...

- but did you feel the need, as such, for blogging when you first began to do it? Come to think of it, I think I actually did. I had been reading other people's blogs and began to feel as though I needed to have a go at doing this myself. Hmm, thanks for highlighting this for me. (I have also been out - not on the piss exactly unless you count a bottle of Budweiser, but on the Brighton Fringe, utterly fabulous play about Anorexia, followed - appropriately - by meal out at Arabic restaurant).

I can't actually remember why I began f/b - probably to keep up with my kids, but now I do it more than they do. A lot of people begin by wanting to use it to promote themselves (their book, poetry readings, projects etc) but unless they engage at some other level this doesn't tend to get very far because it's the most boring way of using f/b.

Yes, I think we do, now as ever, need the warmth and conviviality of a hearth. Online is where we now often go to build it - the new hearth. There is something decidedly chilling about this - something decidedly hopeful too, perhaps. And odd. The thing that is partly responsible for making us increasingly insular also brings us together. It can take up too much time, of course. But time away from what? Before online etc we were all watching too much TV - well not me of course, being a Steinery parent and covering the TV with a shawl and knitted gnomes, but you know.

I don't think I could now do the keeping up with blogs thing that I used to. Doing that properly could take huge amounts of time. I think f/b makes it easier to be connected with several things all at once - without it necessarily cutting such a swathe into one's time and energy resources. Though of course it could do that.

To be young and easy under the apple trees is, I think, a renewable state. We just have to be open to doing different things - and to reinventing ourselves. I feel a need to do this on a regular basis. I have the sneaky feeling that if I began to analyse this it might not stand up to scrutiny. So I won't.
Schwestahly greetings to you this bright and sunny bank holiday Monday.

I don't know if blogging counts as social networking. Does it? Will need to check with the Authorities. (Psychotic - moi?) Mwah! x

Anna MR said...

Of course it does (blogging. Count as social networking), because it's the only form of social networking that I do, really (emails and such personal stuff don't count. They are not social networking; you can ask The Authorities, if you are in doubt). And we can't have me totally without a social network. That wouldn't be fair.

But yes, absolutely; I felt the need to blog. I think there was a combination of reasons behind it: I was in Hawai'i, and whilst I wanted to write down my impressions somewhere and share them with the people back home (although initially I was horrendously shy about giving the addie to anyone i knew), I know I also carried within me a deep sense of loneliness. The marriage was new but i was finding out that it left me psychologically alone. So I was hoping for kindred spirits and a hearth, even if I couldn't [bring myself to] articulate it in so many words.

And as a bonus, I slowly rediscovered myself as someone who enjoys writing, even though I still have no drive to write fiction or anything, really, apart from blog posts, this undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns…

(…obviously, i am prone to taking on the odd writing challenge-charge or punishment. Just saying)

I spent years not really watching any telly at all (apart from very gruesome, depressing and horrible documentaries about the various evils men (as in people) inflict upon their fellow men. I would record them and watch them in great swathes, sometimes until six in the morning. Cheerful business, to be sure). However, just as of late I've started to follow various series: The Wire, Treme, Silent Witness (praise be, it has returned with a new series), Midsomer Murders (yes, I know, I know). It is, i think, incredibly wonderful and (as I try to tell myself) totally deserved after all the Very Brainy Stuff I [try to] get up to otherwise. (Quite often, these brilliant telly soirées are accompanied with a glass or three (I have very small and very beloved and beautiful crystal wine glasses, so back off, I'm not strictly speaking boozing) of red wine. Ah, domestic bliss, to be sure.)

To be young and easy under the apple boughs is perhaps a state of mind rather than an age condition, yes. It is time to try and bring playing back into life – if it ever really went. i fear it might've. High time for its return.

No scrutiny needed, you're a brilliantly multi-faceted human critter, Scwesterleinchen, on all your various facets. So just watch it.