Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The electronic water cooler

I was so busy with (paid) editing work last week that I worked through Saturday and Sunday, into the evening. Yet, I still found the time to go on Facebook everyday.

In an earlier post, I described how I use Facebook as my online journal. But it was much more for me last week—it provided the same kind of chitchat I would have been able to engage in occasionally if I was working at a cubicle in an office. It was an electronic water cooler, then.

I posted: What does it say about me that of the 10 films just nominated for Best Picture, the only one I've seen is "Up"? And a friend of mine, who also works from home, posted a while later: It says that you're focused on your children! Either that or you're just too damn busy for the movies!

Of course, she and I could have just emailed one another and have been done with it, but another friend commented also and we all got engaged in a tiny discussion about parenting and movies. Neither of them knows the other, so this wouldn't have happened in just an email back-and-forth. It was more like having a conversation with a colleague that someone else at work casually joins in on.

Another post on another day, On to the second season of The Wire (and the next book in the Wrinkle in Time quartet)... led to a discussion of Madeline L'Engle's spiritual beliefs between two FB friends of mine.

Five to eight minutes a day, tops, I'm on-then-off Facebook. I suppose I could use those five to eight minutes for something more productive, but I can't keep working without some kind of human contact every so often; (yes, I realize the irony of describing human contact via a computer, as I type this).

It sometimes feels like I'm sending up a little flare out to the world when I post something there—maybe we all are. It certainly felt that way during the recent snowstorm in D.C., when FB friends trapped in their houses without electricity put up posts via their cell phones to let everyone know how they were faring.

Each post a flare, announcing: I am here, in this moment, in this world.

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