Follow Me! Like Me! Friend Me!

Happy new year! I have joined the world of social networking!

Does my butt look big in this blog?

Check out my Facebook page and my Twitter feed! (@haikubob). There will be exciting updates! Stimulating information! Thoughtful messaging!

Thanks to everyone who has supported Autism Dad and my other work in 2011. Lots of exciting things planned for 2012. Joining the ranks of social networking is just the beginning!

In the meantime,enjoy this column from August 2010 about how much Facebook, MySpace and Twitter suck. and why I’ll never use them. Ha-ha, I’m a douche bag! But I’m learning to be a better douche bag!

Anti-Social Networking: Off-Line and Out-Of-Line

I was at a bar recently, watching an old friend’s band play, when I ran into a bunch of other old friends, people I hadn’t seen in nearly a decade.

There were well wishes and fond-remembrances all around. But then some of my old chums chided me for my reclusive lifestyle.

“Why aren’t you on Facebook?” one friend asked. “Are you, like, morally against it?”

No…not really. Well, maybe a little.  I see the benefit of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. It’d be nice to keep in touch with friends, share info, photos, video, etc. But I have some reservations. Here are a few:

Time Sucker – Like anything worthwhile, social networking sites are only as rewarding as the effort you put into them. That takes time, and who has that to spare? If I had an extra hour a day, I’d spend it working on projects I already don’t have enough time for. I wouldn’t spend it sending messages to an old grade-school chum, filling him/her in on everything that’s happened in my life since kindergarten. Sorry if that makes me a bad person, but time is precious. I’ll catch up with old classmates at the next reunion, or the next time a friend’s band comes to town.

What if you don’t respond to an old chum’s request to be added to your buddy list? Then you’re a big jerk. Suddenly you’re saddled with a social responsibility you didn’t ask for, and if you’re not careful you can turn an old friend into a new enemy.

False Friends – What is a friend, anyway? Social networking sites produce a new kind of friend, the “cyber-friend.” A main goal of social networking seems to be amassing a sizable friend-list, and getting “added” to the friend-lists of others.

It’s cool having “hundreds of friends” on your page, but if you never interact with these people beyond a few text exchanges are they really friends? A friend is someone you spend time with, share experiences with. Good friends are often those you’ve shared a particularly bad experience with. A friend is someone who helps you, whom you support in return. It’s more than clicking “Add A Friend”.

I worry young computer users have a different definition of “friend,” and may find themselves lacking the social skills to form rewarding relationships with real people. I’m old school. I made friends the old fashioned way, pre-Internet, when you had talk to people, look, listen and form a bond. You had to make friends. It took effort, but it was worth it because you found people who liked you for you, not because you lengthened their buddy list. Computers make our lives easier in so many ways, but I’m not sure making friends is one of them.

The Many Faces of Rob Errera – Like most people, I’m a different person at different times. I’m an Editor-In-Chief sometimes, a columnist others. Sometimes I’m a property manager, landscaper, Ebay reseller, musician, writer. My kids see Daddy, their teachers see Mr. Errera. In the privacy of our bedroom my wife calls me The Gangster of Love (and, on occasion, The Space Cowboy).

Who gets represented on my Facebook or MySpace page?  And do I really want all those various facets of my life commingling? We’ve all been to weddings, funerals, or some another big event that produces an awkward moment, like your poker buddies chatting with your boss, wife or mother. A social networking page creates this powder-keg of awkwardness 24/7.

I have friends who shut down their Facebook/MySpace accounts after a few months for one or more of the reasons listed above. It’s easy to join a social networking site, but difficult to un-join, from what I’m told – yet another reason I’m hesitant to enter the social networking fray.

Starting a blog is on the to-do list, however, since, unlike most bloggers, I’ve got plenty of rich content to share. More than two decades of TODAY columns await worldwide exposure. It’ll be an awesome blog.

Of course, I’ll need a FaceSpace page to promote it…

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originally published in Wayne TODAY, August 2010

Comments

  1. Dude… I hope to call you a friend for a long time and hope that we get some time to hang out, grab a beer, play a song (or a set), etc. Hope you’re well old friend…

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