I don’t like friending. I don’t like following. I don’t like liking. I don’t like the faceless, fake culture of having loads and loads of super duper friends, patting each other on the back and saying how fantastic everyone is. I was on Facebook for a few years and today left. The reason was that I had joined a private list of people in my profession who share music, and I admit I really loved learning from the others and remembering my own favorites, and the cautious opening up that went with that was quite charming. It was almost like walking in on a group of colleagues you admire from afar in someone’s living room. But relationships online are two-dimensional, or even one-dimensional, and it is all too easy to feel a sense of communality where there isn’t one. The incident: I posted a Jiddish song performed by a German group, and unfortunately a Lebanese member of the group took offense and posted a disturbing video. It was not the first time things I felt a troubling disconnect. People have strange sides that come out in disconcerting ways and sting you when you wear your heart on your sleeve and don’t know how to cover yourself, and I suddenly felt very uncomfortable, vulnerable, out of place. Face-threatening Facebook. Not good for my emotional life. Goodbye, and good riddance.
Now, how to reorganize my online connections with other teaching professionals, my memberships and online services? How to keep up with my extended family, old neighbors, classmates? Onward, and upward.