Is it bad to lurk?

Here’s a shout out for social networking.

Okay, so I know the drawbacks…texting and posting instead of meeting and talking; spilling information publicly that might be better kept private, being “outed” in all sorts of ways by friends, family and even yourself. Our lives are being lived in an open forum without really getting the concept of how many “friends of friends” are watching.

And I realize that my life is not that exciting to other people.  But I love to observe and occasionally “like”.  I’m a lurker.

As I look at my Facebook news feed I see:

Photos of great nieces and nephews I might never have known existed.

The goings on of my long-lost adopted brother’s family relayed by a wife who is obviously madly in love with him.

Sweet photo stories of the lives of my friends.

Poignant messages of life changes and adjustments in my greater family.

Crazy autobiographical videos from computer savvy grandchildren.

The constant movements of my friend’s daughter.

I know what songs are popular with the high school seniors.

I share happy moments in the days of the people I love; business successes, athletic feats, musical gigs and travels around the globe.

I can sit down at my computer and know when someone has an accident, checks into the hospital, wrecks their car or loses their job.

Oh sure, I get a ton of extraneous reports of who has new friends, new likes, new connections and locations.  The number of people who have time to explore games and expositions of faith on preset quotation pages sometimes astounds me.

And in return I see updates of profile photos, spontaneous postings of joy and sadness of those I love.   I have a connection to people whose lives would have only been relayed in confusing stories and occasional family reunions, if at all.

And text messaging?  Sometimes I wonder why it’s necessary to send elaborate messages when a short conversation would do the trick, but I always know I can press the button and get a voice when the message comes in.  And although it takes me a long time to type on a small phone keypad, I can send a message any time of the day to my grandchildren, knowing that their phones are not far from them at any time.  They will respond to me while hanging with friends when they would have ignored my phone call.  (As PC as it is NOT), I can send a quick message to my daughter at work and ask her to call later. I can send congratulations on a good game to my grandson or a loving, Grammy-like “hello” to my college granddaughter.

Everyone knows that I am slow…that it takes approximately five times as long for me to answer them as it did for them to send.

But I know when the plane lands in LA with my loved ones aboard.  I can let my family know I am safe in Italy or Mexico.

And I can send an update on any situation to as many people as I have in my contact list.

Really, what’s not to like?


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