Welcome Back!

Well, that was an interesting time away from the Book of Faces!

After a 50 hour banishment, beginning Thanksgivukkah evening, the powers that be at Facebook re-enabled my account. There were a few of us “banished” folks that had found each other, grasping in the dark, on the Twitters. A faux movement, #FreeToddWaller, was begun; we had to cancel the t-shirt order last night.

My banishment from Facebook, although mostly a satire, was fun to write! Go figure, I have a few more thoughts. Mostly, these were ideas that were cemented as a result of the banishment.

Owning My Own Content

Being shut out of Facebook, while annoying, was a great reinforcement of an instinct I have had for some time, regarding social networks and “free” services. If you do not own/pay for your online services, you have very little reason to be upset when the service goes dark. This blog is a great stockpile of my life, my thoughts, my images; much of what defines and colors the online persona of Todd Waller is resident here.

Owning my content has always been a priority. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, they are all services that ease content creation, capture, and curation. While they will likely be around for quite some time, I should be sharing MY content on THEIR services. Not creating the bulk of my content on their services.

Connection Quality

Check out the first comment, from Gina, on this post:

While I have met, in real life, many of the folks in my Facebook friends list, I can admit to being caught off guard by Gina’s sentiment. And she wasn’t messing around, either. The number of folks reaching out via Twitter and Google+ was extraordinary!

The quality of your online connections is directly related to your ability to connect, communicate, and cement relationships. Often, this needs to be done with nothing more than the one-dimension of text on a monitor. Using emoticons, jpgs and gifs in the streams of communication only help to cement the intent of your words.

Of course, the strongest online connections are those that you are able to take offline, and meet in person. Too often, when I have met my online friends offline for the first time, there is no room for handshake. More often than not, I am greeted with hugs. Maintaining personal integrity across both mediums (online and offline) is key to strong connection quality.

Life is Terminal. No One Gets Out Alive. Lighten Up.

Look. There are some things in this world that we do need to be serious about. However, Facebook is not one of these items. Again, Facebook, or any social network, is simply a way to more easily facilitate content creation, capture, and curation.

Can business be had or made via Facebook? Heck, yes!

Can life’s rich pageant be “experienced” via Facebook? Yes! Almost to the point of absurdity, do we experience other’s lives.

Does Facebook allow me to be “present” in the lives of my sons? Nope. In fact, it distracts me from being mentally present. Not a great stance, for me, as their father…

Does Facebook allow me to show my Bride that I adore and love her? Not really. It does allow me to tell the world, but I think actions are more important to her, than silly words on a website.

After stumbling about other social networks, attempting to discern why I had been banished, I ran across many folks that behaved as though their lives were ending as a result of being shut out of Facebook. Perhaps I interpreted their words incorrectly. After all, we are talking about words on a monitor, not a chat over coffee. But the fact remains that being shut out of a social network should not be seen as anything close to the Apocalypse or the end of life as we know it.

So, my satire on discovering there were people, other than me, in my house, cuts both ways: I was attempting to poke fun at the addictiveness of social networks, while also poking fun at the importance we attach our social networking.

And, for the record, I get it. I get the irony of banging out my thoughts and posting them here. While I had fun the last couple days creating that post, there is a tinge of seriousness about all of this.

A little serious with a little humor.

I think that’s called tension.

I am learning to live with tension.

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