So, I blog...actually I have three blogs to be exact. Yes, I finally decided to see why everyone is so into Facebook. I still snicker whenever I get a "friend request." Especially when it is from a person from high school that I never talked to during the three years we roamed those hallowed halls together, but now we are "friends," and I know their daily thoughts and activities. Although I have to admit that I can't wait to see if anybody has any comments about my latest quip I posted, I find myself feeling more depleted, not fulfilled after such encounters. John Taylor Gatto explains the reason for this feeling of emptiness that occurs after spending time in these social networks perfectly in his book, Dumbing Us Down. What amazes me the most about this book, is that it was first published in 1992, before the Internet was widely used.
He states on page 48 that, "The fragmentation caused by excessive networking creates diminished humanity, a sense that our lives are out of control -- because they are... that when people in networks suffer, they suffer alone, unless they have a family or a community to suffer with them.... These thin human contacts give you the feelings that your 'friends' don't really care about you beyond what you can do for them, that they have no curiosity about the way you manage your life, no curiosity about your hopes, fears, victories, defeats."
In contrast, "A community is a place in which people face each other (not just in cyber space with a web-cam, but really face to face) over time in all their human variety: good parts, bad parts, and all the rest. Such places promote the highest quality of life possible -- lives of engagement and participation."
What is the antidote to the depletion we experience everyday from the numerous networks we belong to-- Service! We can start by serving. Get out and get your hands dirty. Take your kids along and get their hands dirty. Serve your family and friends. Serve strangers. Start rebuilding a community feeling wherever you are. Hopefully this will help build our families, instead of continuing to deplete them.