Friday, October 26, 2012

Facebook Breakup

I admire those of you who have figured out how to Facebook like a champ.  Those who have successfully integrated it into your lives and thought "How did I ever live without this?"  Sadly, I am not one of those.  

A little over a year ago, I quit Facebook.  I unliked.  We broke up.  Why?  I was becoming less of a friend than I wanted to be.  Seeing everyone's photos and posts was great...for awhile.  Reconnecting with people that I grew up with was actually pretty cool.  But then, ironically, it seemed (to me) that when face-to-face, everyone had less and less to talk about.  I didn't feel like I needed to "check in" as often because if I wanted to know something about someone, I could probably find it on Facebook.  Phone calls had been replaced by posting quick congratulatory or other messages on a Facebook wall rather than having a real conversation. When I sat back, I realized that for me, by being too connected I had become unconnected.  
So I unplugged.  
I broke up with Facebook.

What followed was more than just un-liking Facebook.  It has been an attempt to reconnect with "my connections" in a more meaningful way. I needed time to try and figure out what that meant for me.  And I'm still figuring it out.  Mostly, it's an ongoing effort to be more present.  Paint it Forward is my way of journaling, figuring out my path, what works, what doesn't, and learning how I can do better. 

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to help a friend.  After the loss of her best friend, Beth began painting.  But painting hardly describes it.  Beth has a way of telling a story, both through her paintings and the amazing "words of art" that she sometimes shares with me.  She needed a way to post her growing portfolio online and update it without hassling with HTML and extensive website knowledge. In just a few evenings, we setup an easy to maintain blog and designed a business card together.  But it was more than just helping someone accomplish a few things on their business to do list.  When we spend time together, we really spend time.  And I love that.

What I received when painting it forward in this way far exceeded what I gave.  There is a common theme here.  When giving, I still end up on the receiving end.  It's funny how that works.

In all fairness, Facebook wasn't my nemesis.  I'm not telling anyone to quit.  It just didn't work for me.  I've learned that being unconnected gives me more opportunity to connect in ways that are meaningful for me.  And I'm okay with that.

Check out Beth's work at

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