Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Reason #372 Why Facebook is the Devil

Reason #372 Why Facebook is the Devil just a story  iStock 000012743849XSmall 300x175My move is over.  Finally. The last of my stuff is out of my old place and into my new place. Now, for the next few weeks/months my life is all about unpacking. The disorder makes me crazy. Crazier than usual.

One of the things I came across, over the weekend, was an old decorative box full of letters. Real hand-written letters. From friends. And boyfriends. All of them from years ago. Some of them really long.

I started to read through them and then stopped.  It was too hard.  Too sad. A couple of the letters were from a friend who passed away 9 years ago. Most were from an ex I stopped speaking to in the late 90s. And some were from good friends who I hardly ever get to see, but who don’t send letters anymore.

Now we rely on to stay in touch.

As if facebook could ever take the place of the occasional long letter.

I don’t know about anyone else, but reading a friend’s (or boyfriend’s or exes, even) facebook updates just makes me miss them more. It’s an empty voyeurism. Watching a performance, but not interacting with that person on any meaningful level.  I can comment, or send a personal message and ask how they’re doing. But it’s rare to get a multi-paragraph reply. It’s the wrong medium.

I know that a lot of my readers are younger than me, so you’all can’t remember what it was like to have long distance relationships (romantic or otherwise) back before facebook or even email.  We’d speak rarely because long-distance calls were so expensive (seriously, I spoke to my parents once a month when I lived abroad in the early 90s, at most). Letters were THE way to communicate. And, in general, people really wrote. Long letters about what they were thinking, feeling, doing and planning for their future. It was meaningful .

Anyway, I guess it probably seems ridiculous for a social media consultant to be complaining about the lack of depth in communications via social media. But it’s true.  I get on Facebook, I see my friends’ updates, and it makes me ache for a real conversation over a long, delicious meal.

Or an airmail letter, with pages and pages of love written on impossibly thin paper.

But this is the end of 2010 and no one writes letters anymore.  Not even me.  Hell, I can’t even manage to keep up with my email. There is no going back.  Only forward.  Towards what, I don’t know.  

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18 to “Reason #372 Why Facebook is the Devil”

  1. jackie says:

    I still write love letters, on stationery, in fountain pen. An amazing test of friendship in the digital age: can you recognize your friends by their handwriting? How many of us even know what our friend’s handwriting looks like?

    Beautiful thoughts.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I can recognize the handwriting of all of my old friends. But, I must admit, it’s been a long time since I sat and wrote a long letter. Shame on me.

      Fountain pen? I’m deeply impressed, though not at all surprised.

  2. Grace says:

    I love this, facebook has taken a lot from personal relationships. I would love to get a (legible) hand written letter from a guy. It would mean so much more than a text or an e-mail.

  3. It sucks and we must adapt BUT I won’t ever substitute a real phone conversation for a textersation. I’m holding onto it!

  4. Terry says:

    Love fountain pens also- but it has been years since I wrote such a letter. Although many of those I wrote were just so full of it – pouring out such angst and years later I look back and think I was either full of myself (highly likely) or full of BS (even more likely) – or both (that’s it!).
    I met my wife on Twitter – not that I was looking to date anyone when I met her, and not that I thought she would be anything more than someone who I might flirt with. But I fell in love with her after meeting her in person. Nothing like meeting in person – and getting to know them.
    Then Facebook becomes an interesting place to keep up with some folks– and to quietly get rid of them as friends because you become tired of them saying nothing in particular (I want to unfriend myself sometimes)

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’ve also met some wonderful people on twitter (no husband yet). And would miss it terribly if it were to disappear. Just like I miss those letters :-(

  5. LildevilMama says:

    I too, have a box of letters I keep in my closet and found when I moved last January. It is truly sad when you stop feeling compelled to sit down and write someone a note about anything of value.

    My best friend and I still do this when he travels and we’re out of touch via phone, and it’s such a neat feeling to open the mailbox and see the surprise letter or postcard from someone who cares enough to do it.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I guess I have no one to blame but myself. If I wrote letters, I bet I’d get letters. Perhaps that should be my goal for the month. I’d love to get a surprise letter in the mailbox.

  6. missdtm says:

    A few months ago I realized how often I used to write letters so I joined a pen pal website to connect w/ other people who are interested in writing…but I also started writing my friends cards and letters. I miss the days of getting letters in the mail…and I too hate fb. It’s the devil. Thanks for this post! I am totally rt’ing on twitter…

  7. IntrigueMe says:

    I wish I had saved all of my old letters from my younger days, it would be nice to look back at them now. There was a chain of handwritten blog posts going around last year, I might do that again.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I didn’t save them all. In fact, the ones in the box seemed to be a rather random sampling (which is so like me). Hmm, what were the handwritten bog posts like?

      • IntrigueMe says:

        They were about anything. I can’t remember who started it but the purpose I think was to get a bit more personal… Its amazing what handwriting says about a person. Mine is terrible!

  8. LadyD says:

    I still have all my old love letters . . . I’ll never get rid of them. *sigh* To meet a man again who would write me a letter . . . who would take the time to stop EVERYTHING, focus, take out pen and paper, and write to me. Dayum. Thank you for the post, Simone.

    • Simone Grant says:

      At this point, I’d get excited about a guy who wanted to pick up the phone to call to make plans instead of texting. That’s how far we’ve fallen..

  9. So sad, and true. I almost think that facebook takes away a lot from face-to-face conversations. It’s like, well, if you follow my status updates you already know this and this, so what do we even talk about?