I’m home for the holidays. Stephen and I are staying with my parents in Atlanta for 2 weeks. If you live in a different area from where you grew up, then you, too, are probably familiar with this ‘home for the holidays’ scenario: everyone… seriously, EVERYONE, who finds out you will be back in town for a few days, wants to see you.
[Please note, if you are reading this post from Atlanta, I’m not talking about you… so don’t be offended.]
We have been waiting for weeks for a little downtime, so we face a dilemma. Do we run around visiting with everyone who invites us to lunch, even though we haven’t spoken in years and probably won’t keep in touch until the next time we’re in town… or do we turn down the invitations and try to relax. We’ve picked the latter. Yes, it usually involves a tiny fib, but haven’t you done it? Don’t you sometimes chose sitting in front of the TV in your PJs over attending yet another holiday party? (so sorry to miss it, we already have plans that night!) Sometimes, you just. can’t. do it. Which would be fine… if social media didn’t exist.
Problem #1: Thanks to Facebook, a lot more people know that we are in Atlanta for the holidays. In years past, I would not be calling every high school friend and former co-worker to herald our arrival. But since they are my Facebook friends, now they know.
Problem #2: Because we’re avoiding getting together with some of these friends while in town, I live in fear of my own social network.
“You’re not checking in on Foursquare, are you?!” I practically tackle Stephen when he reaches for his phone outside the movie theater. “I don’t want them to know we had free time!”
I was working this morning when a message from one of my friends popped up on Facebook chat:
“Do you have time to talk?”
“Yes, give me 15 minutes and I will call you.”
When I got her on the phone, she was giggling.
“I’m glad you said you had time, because I was watching your updates appear on Twitter and Facebook, so I knew you weren’t busy.”
I have often said that what I love most about social media is the transparency it forces upon us. Hard to lie about getting that big promotion or exaggerate how cute your new boyfriend is, when everyone can check out your Linked In profile and Facebook photo albums and get the truth. But it also forces me to realize that transparency is not always the most polite option.
I really do love sharing my life with those around me through text messages, Facebook and Twitter updates, FourSquare checkins, Yelp reviews, YouTube videos… but sometimes I miss the days when the phone was tied to the wall in the other room, and no one expected me to have it in my pocket at all times. If we were watching a movie when it rang, no one jumped up to get it. The blinds were drawn… and the machine would pick up.
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