Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's the point? Why not phone?

That was the question from my sister JoAnn, older than me and in her seventies, when I engaged her in her first “chat” on Facebook. We had chatted back and forth about how she came to be on Facebook: her daughter made her join. But then she to to her point : What’s the point of this chat thing? Why not just phone?

That’s not a bad question. I’m new to Facebook myself. I was instructed on how and why to join over Thanksgiving when I was visiting my son Nathan and his family in Williamsburg. Jacob, a first grader, was the one who insisted I join and stepped me through theprocess. His most immediate wish--to have another account to use to play games. He taught me how to bowl and we created a pet for me--Sadsack. He also instructed me in how to care for Sadsack. Also showed me how to create, send, and receive “flair.”

I discovered my husbands children already online and a goodly number my mom and dad’s descendants. I had three older siblings--10 to 14 years older than me. One younger sibling. A goodly number of their children and grandchildren are actively on Facebook. What fun. Even found my husband there--with no friends. So I’ve been adding friends--family and then friends via my old life in Utah and friends via my current life at Adobe.

I wasn’t surprised than my son and his family--Nathan, Heather, and Jacob--were on Facebook (Beth, not quite two, hasn’t yet developed her mouse and keyboard skills). Facebook did teach me something about Heather’s family (and now about Nate’s and Heather’s nuclear crowd) that I hadn’t quite understood: the extent to which games can organize family dynamics. I’ve never had the game gene myself: find it nigh impossible to make it through scrabble game, monopoly, a puzzle, a crossword, solitaire. Nate is has the game gene. (Don and his family mostly do.) Heather comes from a family that is nigh onto game obsessed. And Jacob is learning. He could definitely beat me in a game of Scrabble (with a few winks from his mom).

I’ve been following what happens with Nate, Heather, et al for years via the internet. Both are good writers and energetic bloggers: Nate's new blog Akrasia , Nate on Times and Seasons , Nate on Concurring Opinions , Heather on Mormon Mommy Wars and Segullah . Sometimes I stand back and realize that I haven’t talked to them on the phone for weeks and weeks. Yet I feel like I know what’s going on. I’ve been reading these wonderful blogs and commenting. Thinking about them.

Prety much every day, I read the wonderful blog of a friend of mine from graduate school (Lisa's Hightouchmegastore ).

I don’t much like the telephone. No longer even have a land line--only a cell phone. And I never use my minutes.

I’m having fun on Facebook. Something very satisfying about being a silent voyeur, a watcher on others lives. Sending out my feelers to find others. There is something very satisfying about this.

Where to begin. . . . Why not the phone indeed.

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