Sunday, June 09, 2013

From Facebook to faces

Today I posted the following message on Facebook three times, with slight variations each time to keep from boring myself:

GM FB - I'm posting this 3-4 times today (Sunday 6/9) so that as many of my FB friends as possible will see it. In the last couple of days, I've concluded that I rely too much on FB, so I'm going pull WAY back in using it - during the remainder of June, you should only expect to see me post links to "Homewood Nation" or to "ReVisions," my personal blog. If you want to reach me online, please email elwin15208@gmail.com. Also this month, I will work at spending more time with people face to face - especially my neighbors in Homewood (we're in walking distance, for crying out loud). So, if you're in Homewood, and we know each other at all, expect a phone call. I want to get caught up.

I mentioned yesterday that I felt like I was starting to pay too much attention to pageviews and visits; but that was an understatement. What was really sinking in was the realization that Facebook was becoming my primary means of socializing - and that I was spending less time actually chatting with people than waiting for somebody to say something interesting, or browsing my news feed to see who has said something interesting, or worst of all - saying things and then waiting to see if anyone finds what I say interesting. And not just interesting, but interesting enough to reply to with an actual comment or question, rather than just a "Like."

(I don't like "Likes." In fact, I hate them. It amazes me that the term "social" is applied to a platform in which perhaps the majority of interaction may consist of people clicking "Like" and "Share" buttons without saying anything to each other. I consider that deeply unsocial.)

I realized yesterday that I was dying for conversation.

I spend enough time talking with people, but so much of that talk is so task-oriented and project-oriented that if I'm not careful I could have a loneliness attack right in the middle of it.

I find myself yearning for useless discourse - for jokes and stories, for memories and lies (that no one believes), for the kind of wide-ranging, freely-associative conversation that happens when friends hang out at night and they don't have to go to work in the morning. And if it becomes tutorial, because something comes up that is so interesting that I want to learn more about it right then, in that very moment, then so be it.

The conversations that I will seek from my neighbors when I call them this week will not be that free-ranging - part of what I mean by getting caught up is that I want to let them know what I am working on and to see if they want to be part of any of it in any way. After all, I would like for both Homewood Capital Partners and for Luminaria Productions to create some jobs by the end of the year. And I'd like to sign up some Legal Shield associates well before then.

But another part - and I want to make it the first part - is discovering more of what rests inside my fellow humans, within walking distance of my house. What dreams and what wisdom, what folly and what fears.

I think +Mani Saint Victor must have seen my Facebook post this morning; otherwise it is a striking coincidence that he recommended to me a Google+ community on "Conversation - as a skill, literacy, flow and art." I look forward to participating.

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This is kind of random; may as well record it here as anywhere: Good neighbors don't just mind their own business. They mind each other's, in good ways.
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