Thursday, April 02, 2009

Let's Face It

I consider myself relatively computer literate. I mean, I know how to create a blog and post and edit. I can work with and manipulate digital pictures. I work at home on a Mac and at the hospital on a PC. I send and receive e-mail and can pay bills online and shop online and order pictures to be printed off at my local Walgreen’s. But heaven help me - today I joined Facebook and I am drowning in technological awe. I bow down to those who can navigate that alien world.

My husband Ed was kind of scared of letting me put more personal information out there on the Internet - but, of course, Ed is scared of everything technological. I was so excited the day when he actually learned how to turn our computer on. I was doubly excited when he could click on the Safari icon, and triply excited when he could even look up a bookmark I had saved for him and go to his chosen site. Hmmm...I should probably never have shown him how to put items in a cart, but he still has to come get me in order to check out. There are some things he never needs to learn.

Anyway, under Rachel’s encouragement, I joined Facebook tonight. I thought that all I had to do was sign up and then I could look around. I was wrong. Facebook had me click on this, click on that, then gave me a list of people it figured I knew. Some were familiar - my kids and their spouses, a few friends - but some I never even heard of. I thought Facebook was asking me if I wanted to go see their profiles, so I started clicking away. Before I could say, “Yikes!” I realized that e-mails were being sent to all these people to confirm I was their “friend.” Afterward, I tried to remember on whom I had clicked. Would they even know who I was? Was there someone somewhere who gets this confirmation e-mail and thinks, “Who the heck is THAT?”

Next, I had to take a picture of myself. It’s not my favorite thing to do - in fact, I avoid it religiously - but that generic silhouette up at the top of my profile looked kind of weird. I have a built-in camera in my iMac, but my computer is in my messy sewing room/office and I don’t have good lighting, and the background is always cluttered. Enough excuses - I did some more clicking and got my photo up there.

Oh, look - I have a message on the screen! It says my daughter deigns to be my “friend.” Oh, the excitement! I must reply! But I have no idea how. I can’t see a “reply” button. I don’t know all these terms - what’s a wall? Wall-to-wall? It’s all so intimidating. And to think even kids in elementary school can do this.

It isn’t long before I realize that a person could spend HOURS on this site. I’m on a journey to simplicity - I don’t have HOURS to spend. I barely find the time to blog once a week or so. Fortunately, Facebook didn’t have me click on a button which made me promise to check in 30 times a day. At least I don’t think I clicked on that button. Who knows? I was pretty extravagant with that mouse trying to set all this stuff up.

Technology is the insidious beast on many a Road to Simplicity. First it pleasantly surprises you, then leaves for a bit and you get back to your other duties and relationships. The next thing you know, it starts walking with you more frequently until one day, you realize you’re palling around with technology so much on the Road that you have lost track of time and have missed some beautiful scenery.

Ed says every blessing has a curse, and every curse a blessing. That’s certainly true of technology. Joining Facebook? Intriguing and free. Being able to check my e-mail and see a picture of my precious granddaughters? Priceless! I think I’ll be thankful for technology, and I’ll accept it on my journey to simplicity. I just need to remember to use it as one of many tools to make my life richer and make the walk a little more pleasant. As long as it stays in its proper place, I will enjoy the company.

Now....what the heck is wall-to-wall????

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