Born Brazilian; 20 years in my country, 20 years abroad…My latest destination: Silicon Valley. Have been here for 2 years now.
London, Manchester, Durham, Upstate NY, California, Budapest, Veszprem, Santos, Sao Paulo, President Prudente…I’ve been around, a little.
Before Facebook and smart phones: I move in to a new place, meet my neighbours, get their advice on supermarkets, shops, parks, local pubs, church; you know, your hood 😉 Then, I eventually, find my way, meet people at the park (if you have kids, this is a given!), at school, at work, or at the many international groups formed in/or around town. Time goes by; I whine about the weather, I say I liked the previous place better (I always say that), these people are weird, I don’t know….But, I invite them over: dinners, outings, parties, and when I least expect I do have friends; I’m no longer a ‘Billy no mates’. We meet up when we can, we chat, laugh. We might take a few pictures, email a couple of them to each other. When we wanted to talk or to hang out, we just called and agreed on a time. Pretty stress-free human interaction.
After smart phones and Facebook: I move into a new place, I ask my neighbours about shops, and all of that; she not only points me to the right supermarket but already tells me I should definitely download that ‘app’ for discounts at Safeway, Target and Staples. She asks me to add her to ‘my’ Facebook (as everyone else I may meet will ask me to do so) because this way she can ‘connect’ me to her fantastic hairdresser, and that great friend who, by the way, loves ‘internationals’ and has a daughter the same age as mine!!! Then, I virtually meet this great friend of hers: a woman who asks me if my daughter has an Instagram account because her daughter does, and the girls could ‘meet’. It so happens I am Brazilian, and by chance meet another Brazilian at a park…I get introduced to a Brazilian group on Facebook! Yay! And this group of Brazilians leads me to another Facebook group, and yet to another one! Wow! All of a sudden, I have more than ‘500’ friends! In just a couple of weeks in this town! Now we are talking, huh?! Billy Who??
The thing is, as technology caught up with me, I wasn’t quite prepared yet. I cannot possibly have over 500 friends! And, 3 children, a cat, a husband, a house, a garden, a family in Brazil, another in Hungary, and another in England. Over 500 people ‘following’ me, knowing my whereabouts (yes, FB is a communications tool, so I do end up communicating tons of ‘things’) and expecting something from me…it feels like a lot to manage. Then, there are the ‘comments’ and side chats; all these little tools which in real time, face-to-face conversation you would not have available to you…when you ‘comment’ on something on FB, you cannot read the person. No visual contact, no body language, no cues. And this is tough, this is a blind date. It is so nice to be able to observe the way a conversation goes, to talk smoothly, being careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings or to go into an unpleasant ‘zone’.
I have made some friends, in and out of Facebook. And now, for me, it is time to opt out of it. To dedicate my ‘allotted’ time (I have kids!) to my true friends, not bothering about taking pictures with our phones to immediately post them on FB and get thousands likes. If popularity is what one needs one won’t genuinely find it on FB. FB is a tool to turn the already popular ones even more so.
Will I go back to facebook? Might. But, at the moment, I am truly enjoying my detox!
My name is Adri and I have been off Facebook for over a week!
Speaking of FB and smartphones…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8″ Watch this video by a young artist from San Jose! Show it to your teens 😉
Good week everyone!