More and more it seems to me that what it means to be human and connected to people is simply to be a collector of stories. As this “Facebook: A Spiritual Experience article indicates, for those of us who use Facebook, Facebook has changed the way in which we collect some of those narratives.

For example, it’s kind of ironic that, as my oldest daughter is on the verge of high school graduation, and #2 daughter has begun her first year of high school, I’ve become reacquainted with some high school classmates through Facebook and forced to think about my own high school experiences anew.

Prior to Facebook,  I was so Done with that part of life, hadn’t attended any reunions, and wasn’t in contact with anyone from high school anymore anyway so what was the point.

But, as I’ve started to notice now that I’m middle-aged, and am on Facebook, I realize that even though I may think I’m severed from my high school past (and other parts of my past), I’m still connected to the people – especially the ones I disliked or was close to but am estranged from or drifted apart from. I’m connected to them because I still know some of their stories and secrets.

As actor Vincent Kartheiser (who plays Pete Campbell in the TV show Mad Men) once said:

I mean, there’s people in the world I hate and they know things about me that the people I love the most in life don’t know, and because of that, there’s a more special bond between me and them, even though I really do dislike them.

Yep. Funny how that happens.

In the Facebook: A Spiritual Experience article, the writer says that Facebook demands honesty, which is why she says it can be a tool for spiritual growth.

On Facebook you have so many of your worlds colliding in one place – colleagues, neighbors, old classmates, close  friends, church acquaintances, family members, etc.  Because of that there have been many times I’ve posted something on Facebook but blocked the post from some individuals/sets of friends, not because the post would offend them, but because it would either bore them or perhaps make them uncomfortable. I’m tempted not to do that anymore, even though there have been countless times I’ve read someone else’s posts and been so disappointed to find out their viewpoint on something or found it to be TMI (Too Much Information):

Slogging through old hurts is one thing, but Facebook elicits a communal shadow reaction that many don’t foresee. A hyper-distilled family reunion, digital social display leaves many users feeling forced to confront old demons, not just face the demon, but do so with the demon’s posse looking on. Also, where many have enjoyed the anonymity of a raucous Internet social life, for Facebook to work as intended, you have to be honest in the personal data you feed it. To that end, some have pioneered into lifestyles and experiences that are upsetting to those still at the old stomping grounds, or to employers or potential clients. And then there’s the base embarrassment in friending Aunt Bee, who’s scanned your adorable fifth grade yearbook picture for the world to see…

There’s been plenty of fun and even therapeutic storytelling via Facebook too, however. A few weeks ago an old high school classmate friended me on Facebook and we messaged at length about many things from the high school past and swapped stories. It was therapeutic and a way to recycle some of the stories in my closet of stories that I normally don’t have opportunities to bring out and add new ones.

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Filed under: Stories/Storytelling

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