The Perils and Pitfalls of Social Networking: This First Mother’s Perspective


Over the past couple of days I have been wrestling with an internal dilemma: to follow or not to follow.

You have an account with twitter (open to the public), with tumblr (open to the public), formspring.me (open to the public), Facebook (not so open to the public but a savvy user can make an end run around some of the privacy settings), and with myspace (not open to the public).  They are under your real name and easy to find. I assume that since you are (a) an adult,  (b) a fairly intelligent human being, and (c) a tech-savvy digital native that you would not have any of these accounts open to the public if you didn’t intend them to be available for public consumption.

So while I don’t technically “follow” you or “friend” you on any of those sites I do drop by on occasion to find out what you have been up to. Recently, it dawned on me that I can log on to my school’s VPN and it will mask my IP address,  providing me with a handy and extremely anonymous way to follow your social networking updates. I have even toyed with the idea of asking you piles and piles of anonymous questions over on your formspring account buuuuuuuuuuut……

I can’t do it.

Oh, it isn’t that I am not dying to do it or that I lack the technical ability to do it, I just won’t and there in lies the dilemma. I want but I won’t.

If there ever comes a time when we are able to forge some type of reunion between us, I want it to be a relationship built on trust and respect. Maybe it’s just me, but I have the feeling that if you were to ever discover that I had been asking you anonymous questions on formspring.me, you wouldn’t find it too amusing, trustworthy, or respectful. At all. In fact, I would imagine you would be totally pissed off, with every right to feel that way, too. I know I would feel that way!!!! (Plus, it really crosses the line, in my opinion, from looking at open social networks out of curiosity to prying in a really creepy way into your life, you know? And I am SO not into creepy. For any reason. Ever.)

I have a rare and valuable gift that many first mothers never get: I know where you are, I know you are OK, I know you are doing as well as you can in life. I know you are beautiful, talented, articulate, lovely, and witty. And you know how to find me.

As a person of faith, I just need to remember to trust God’s timing. He always has a better plan than I do. Always.

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