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My Face Revisited : The Story of My Journey Onto Facebook

When I forget what I’ve been up and how much I appreciate my writing, I end up reading something and remembering.

I felt very privileged to have written this piece entitled My Face for the Talbotspy.org here. In honor of its three-year anniversary, I’m republishing it on my blog. Enjoy the fun read.

If you met me at a party, you’d notice my laugh is the loudest. I’m extremely social. Yet this fun time Charlotte has had a whole lotta nada for the social networking. I figured Twittling and My-facing were perfect ways of busily avoiding intimacy like the plague. I wanted no part of that universe made of desperate ego maniacs with short attention spans. The over reaction gave away the doubt beneath.

Like so many people of a certain age, I defensively declared I had no need for this Facebook phenomenon. Perhaps this was a knee jerk reaction to new-fangled technology making me feel stupid. Both fear of the unknown or of assimilation by the Borg are still fears. I have heard many fearful declarations to this specific anti-alliance. And sometimes we encounter our destiny on the way to avoiding it.

I was writing and publishing articles online and chose to rise to a new terrifying challenge of creating my blog. I fully understood I needed to socially network for this cause. And I was anxious. This was the ego-maniacal unnecessary and unacceptable activity. And my precious privacy was hard-earned. But I was seduced by the ability to pontificate to an enraptured audience. My ego “liked” this. Therein lay the carrot.

I asked my (very popular on Facebook) friend to convince me to join Facebook. She said flatly, “Three years from now, Social networking will be a given and this conversation would be ludicrous.” Just do it. Everybody’s doing it. She reassured me no one could see or speak with me there without my permission. Vampires need an invitation to come in.

So my angst and I joined the Facebook extravaganza on Friday May 20th, 2011, at around 2PM. I was typing away about my fab self in my profile when, Wham! , I get a friend request… from an ex-boyfriend?  One of these search buttons must be for all the people you’ve schtooped.  I don’t hate this guy but I had no plans to ‘party hardy’ ever again in a tavern of his choice. I rode out the panic and nausea and you know what I did then? I “friended” him. Because that was what this exercise in mass marketing and conquering fears was all about.

I returned to the FB flame on Saturday, finally found the link back in my spam folder, and, Wham! , it happened again. My all-time biggest crush ever from long ago and far away was requesting my friendship. My present husband was the long awaited exception to this boy who gave me hope when I wanted to give up on men altogether. I felt guilty for even reading the benign message from crush-man. In a ten minute span, I went from stunned to giddy to devastated. Of course he was married and had two beautiful children. I shut the computer down. Either these Facebook people were a specific kind of crazy or I was missing something.

I queried fellow members about the true meaning of the Facebook “friend”. Die hard FBers were bewildered by my bewilderment. It was a true friend who said she too had been freaked out initially when she joined. Now it’s her nighttime ritual. She kindly added that, in an ideal world, I would be allowed my fantasy crush forever. So it’s still me, I thought. I endeavored to try again and to pursue this friend-making thing with zeal.

After a month, crush-man became a human being. As his real life continually popped up on my news feed, I was able to release him from my heart to his happiness. Simultaneously and slowly, I sent “friend requests” to people from schools, social gatherings, neighborhoods, and workplaces of my past and present. As I connected with more people, I began to see my real deal.

This precious privacy I’d clung to and coddled was also known as isolation with a capital ‘I’.  I‘d chosen to hide my life, ashamed for growing old and fat because, you know, I was the only one getting old and fat. Who’s crazy enough to deliver themselves on a silver platter for the judgment of the free world? Apparently me.

I had worried about dredging up past resentments with this reconnection with people from my past. Instead, I found myself cheered by them. Our lives connected in unexpected ways. I caught important news I would have missed, like the birth of one friend’s twins and the loss of a beloved old cat for another. Snail mail cards went out immediately. I saw that Facebook is friendship “light”, a safe way of sharing without having to invest much. Showing up outside of this medium is how you solidify the “real” friendships.

As similar pieces of a larger machine, we need to connect to fellow human beings. I recognized how it’s not always about me as the interconnected web of humanity was scrolling up my screen. This online community cleverly coaxes people out of dark corners, away from the whisper of past shames, to a place where they are empowered to speak and be heard. I was blown away by the hope this deceivingly simplistic medium brought into my life.

Gratefully, I reconnected with the used-to-be-me, one person at a time in a memory lane parade of where I’ve been and who I’ve become. I missed the girl these people seemed to still think well of, or at least didn’t dislike. Today, I’m still timid at requesting the friendships of complete strangers but I’m gaining courage. Remember, I have a baby blog I have to feed.

When the next ex-boyfriend found me, I was ready. I asked why he had friended me and he professed he wanted to see if I was doing well. I sensed he also wanted to show me how well he was doing. Maybe, when they put my name in that search box, my ex-boyfriends sought the closure and self-forgiveness I had yet to seek. Or maybe I was a good schtooper. I am good with either possibility.

Facebook Shennanigans : Address Change

As with all computer activities, Facebook has become annoying and necessary. A really good read was my piece called My Face about my initiation by fire into the realms of Facebook. I am more in touch with so many people and find many read my work there. My Shalavee FB address was a really long string of letters and numbers. Once you have 25 followers, you are allowed to change the address to actual words. Except Shalavee or Shalavee.com wasn’t available. Seems there’s someone else on Facebook with this name? Slalavee Oneofakind Smith lives in Florida. The only reason my blog is even called Shalavee is because a French restaurant in some vacation spot in Harrogate, England had grabbed Chez La Vie. So in the end, I chose my Facebook page address as Shalagh blogs at Shalavee or ShalaghblogsatShalavee. So anyway.

Flowers in the kitchen from Shalavee.com

While I don’t seem to have come face to face with as many of the problems as my friend Jane has using Facebook, I remained perplexed about how I could see my liked pages in my feed. I feel lame if I forget to check in on other bloggers’ pages. I recently read something that suggested making your own lists of the pages you like on the left column of your home page. Do unto others. But this technological stuff will be the death of me. I can see why you don’t want to even muddle your brain with this stuff dear reader. I know who you are.

Kitchen attack from Shalavee.com

If you haven’t liked me on the Shalavee Facebook page, would you please do so? I am publishing 3 times weekly, Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Guarantee you’ll not miss my posts by subscribing and have them sent to your mailbox. I adore watching the subscriber number go up.  When I first drafted this post in March, it was only 58. After a recent beg-athon, it rose to 79 ! Would that it would just go to 80.

Again, thanks to all y’all that made that number climb. And as always, I am eternally grateful for you being here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thank you for your visit. My wee fairy friends that live in the hollow tree in my back yard told me to tell you they will move to your house and keep an eye on you.

Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care

My problem is that I never liked a popularity contest. I wasn’t popular nor did I care to be. I find it hard to care whether anyone “likes” me. Jimmy Crack Corn. I’m stubborn and figure, either you like me and you get me or you don’t. And this little attitude would be fine if the social media was about just being in touch friends and acquaintances.

But this attitude is not amassing me likes on my Shalavee Facebook page or upping my analytics or getting me more readership. Yet the social media statistics legitimize your on line existence. Surely the social media mavens would cluck their tongues at my flippant attitude. I want to believe that my authentic voice and my honest content should matter more than my SEO.

My fellow blogger / bloggess Sandra at Rainforest Cottage, wrote a post here on The Pursuit of Like. Her priority is the creativity. I suddenly felt humbled. Getting caught up in numbers takes you away from the reason to blog in the first place.

She commented ,“It’s not the pursuit of “likes” that’s a problem but rather the blurring of objectives as a creative who also blogs. The strategies needed to improve your art-making can be at cross purposes with growing your blog audience. If you do end up blurring the two, suddenly your art-making becomes more about recognition by others rather than about your own creative objectives.”

She’s translated this equation in terms of creativity. Because this blogging endeavor really is about inspiring a platform for creativity. The opposite of the divine spirit of creativity is the screaming internal three-year old wanting to be paid attention to. And I get the feeling that is what the society has morphed into online. Like me, friend me, and pay attention to me NOW.

My journey then is to find and feel some sort of entitlement around asking for your support without feeling like a beggar or a bossy three year old. There’s a way. And it stems from what my readers value and get the most from. The puzzle is :
What am I to my readership? vs.
What I think you want me to be? vs.
What I think I should be?
Opinions, if kind, are most welcome.
And I may have to do a survey, Ackk.

New Fiddle Phones

 

We got new fiddle phones recently. You call them what you want but that’s what I call them because the touch screens require lots of fiddling. Due for upgrades as we were, we paid a little more for getting two android systems and the data stuff that goes with them. But I maintain that I’ll be well served when baby bound with the ability to keep up with my blog and communication traffic. When in Rome.

When home however, we felt jarred by these new mechanical toys.  As we endured and attempted to figure out how to set our communications notifications, very loud and weird sounds would suddenly erupt from our phones nearby and scare all of us. The scariest was the preset Android noises like the mechanical voice saying DROID!

There’s one rule I insist you must remember when getting new devices that manage your communication. It’s born from the same experience that established the “wear makeup and smile constantly at the DMV because she’ll snap the picture just when you don’t” rule.

When you get a new phone make sure to check the volume, frequency, and type of sound notifications for all of your different communication types. Calls, texts, voice mails, and missed calls all have different settings.Touch each one and test it or you will be sorry.

Sure enough, I have missed important messages from people who were only text messagers (they expect you to get the message because that’s how they communicate). I was waiting for the communication. But when I missed the one time beep, my phone was silent afterwards. And I never “checked” my phone. Oops. Too bad so sad.

We have our settings pretty much under control now. Except I do wonder if I need to be notified every loving time people post to Facebook. And why am I unable to set any sound to notify me when I’ve missed a call. Mark says there’s videos to watch. If you’re not Googling, you’re U-tubing.

Fiddling with the fiddle phones is what’s required when you have them and what I plan to eventually do as I feed my new baby after that “staring at my child for hours on end” thing has worn off. How long can that really last? I’ll just keep it to myself what’s happening with my breast while I text you. K? Text you later.

My 2012 Gratitudinal Post

As of a year and a half ago, I still couldn’t see why I should join Facebook or communicate with people I hadn’t seen in a long while. I was living in a lonely dull shell that I was used to.   I thought, “What could I say that they’d want to hear?  So long and far away from our pasts, what did I have to offer them that they would want? And why would I want to make friends with people I couldn’t see? Worse, maybe they’ll all scorn my advances.”

This would be the deafening roar of low self-esteem. As I started to turn the volume down and began to reach out to people everywhere, I connected with old friends and made new ones too. And suddenly, where I was used to being a little cold and lonely, I’m now hanging out in a warm shiny happy room with a mutual appreciation club full of people. Community is there in that room that you create in your hearts. You furnish it with well wishes and compassion and care. And it nurtures the creative.

I am so extraordinarily grateful for this growing group of people in my life and I thought my New Year’s Eve shout out would be to everyone I’ve reconnected and befriended this year. To Sarah, Nalisa, Melissa, Sian, Gwen, and Dig, you all have been in my heart for a long long time. And to my new blogging and online friends and acquaintances Kathy, Amy, Amanda, Tania, Amy, Jane, Maria, Sandra, Jennifer, Wendy, Sheryl, and the kind people on Twitter who address me like I’ve got something to say worth acknowledging ( and anyone who I’m forgetting, you’ll pardon my brain), I am truly grateful for all your well wishes and wonderful support. I never knew what I was missing and you have crafted my definition of gratitude.

And thank you to the powers that be for gifting me with a belly baby to share with my family, friends, and the world. Hope is a mighty powerful thing.

Love and Happiness for the new Year,

Shalagh

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