Outside the Matrix – Oh, Facebook

What did I do before I had a phone in my hands?  Or any screen in my face for that matter?

I first got a computer and dial-up Internet when my middle child was born, almost 16 years ago.  I’d be interested and horrified to calculate how many hours/days/months/years I’ve wasted since then. I’ve seen major differences in my older and middle child – differences I attribute to the different ways they were raised, differences in myself, technology, the world… but I know there were so many other variables, too. This could be an entirely separate post (and exhaustive research project).

While I started out majoring in CIS because of an interest in web development, the thought of somehow contributing to what seems like the latest disease of society kind of sickens me. That’s why I’ve turned more toward information systems in healthcare. I could probably come up with some good reasons why that’s a bad field too, but I think that tracking data that can help treat sick patients faster and more efficiently or prevent illnesses, would be the redeeming factor.

I just know it bothers me that I’m out of the loop if I don’t keep up on Facebook. Maybe it’s just me, but people don’t call each other anymore, there’s no call or get together to catch up because you already read everything that’s going on and on the rare occasion there is a get together, everyone is on their phones and talking about their phones. My husband occasionally calls people.  He says he doesn’t really get many calls anymore himself. When someone explains a lack of calls or visits with, ‘Well, we’re all busy – that’s why Facebook is so great. We can keep in touch there.” I’m like, no.

A long distance friend who lives several states away actually said to me once (by text) that they met a new friend who’s like a “real-life you”.  Sorry, what?  Did I read that right?  It was a slip of the thumbs, I know, but I took it very seriously.  No.  This is just wrong.  Long before I left Facebook, I unfriended former in-person friends I knew I would never see again at this point and wasn’t sure I had anything in common with anymore anyway. Some were friends from elementary or high school who I had been friends with on Facebook for years and never saw in person even though they’re only 10 to 25 minutes away. I just don’t want to keep in touch that way.  When someone cares more about being on your friends list than being in your real life, that’s a problem.

It’s terrifyingly like the Matrix. It’s like you only really exist anymore if you’re constantly posting memes, witty one-liners, starting debates or other life drama to keep yourself visible on people’s Newsfeeds. The scary thing is that online isn’t really a place. It’s not a real space to exist in. If some disaster happened and we were left in a blackout, everything we’ve ever done online that is saved on some server somewhere is lost.

I was thinking about this one day. What artifacts are we leaving behind for future archeologists to dig up and discover? What will they learn about us? All they will find are hunks of metal and plastic they won’t know what to do with.  Will there even be archeologists in the future? When people spend more time playing Trivia Crack, they’re not really learning anything useful. Who will imagine new things? What will be invented? Are we at the peak of technology now and are new apps the most that anyone is ever going to create from here on out?

I think about people with delays like Sarah and elderly who can’t or choose not to exist online and I worry they will be lost to the rest of the world. If everyone is constantly interacting in their electronic world, where does that leave Sarah someday? It’s like my husband’s stepbrother with schizophrenia who calls him once in awhile. He lives on his own and he’s not online so I don’t know how connected he is with everyone.

The thought of Sarah being cut off from family and the world when Ron and I are gone scares me. She loves people and needs interaction even though she herself can’t talk (yet).  I worry about her and how much more inattentive future society will be. Everyone already seems so connected to their devices and like they’re sleeping through real life. I guess if technology benefits Sarah someday – if she is able to learn to use it to communicate and it is her only option (thinking Carly Fleishman) – that wouldn’t be such a bad thing as long as a device is just a replacement for her voice and not for face to face interaction with people as it’s started to become for many.

4/30/15:  Reluctantly, I have recreated a Facebook account and a few days in, I am already beginning to regret it.

Here’s a post I read on the subject earlier:


This comment from HubPages user, Spirit Whisperer, sums it up nicely:

I agree with your sentiments. I deleted my Facebook account, not deactivated it, deleted it…I also had my children do the same. it means we are out of the loop and to be honest, the withdrawal symptoms weren’t that bad…I have reclaimed another chunk of time I used to freely give to something that did nothing to enhance the quality of my life… Social Networking is Man’s latest attempt to fix the problem of the emptiness He feels. The emptiness I speak of is a result of our choice to make material gain the purpose of our lives. Children no longer grow up with their parents because both parents work and to alleviate the resulting guilt that parents feel as a result they give their children “things”. Children now equate love with “things”. There are sacrifices to be made in order to put love and our children first but many of today’s people are not willing to let go of the luxuries they have now made their necessities.

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Laurie Frisbey

About Laurie Frisbey

Laurie Frisbey is the mom of a college graduate, a teenager and a preteen with special needs. She has been an administrative assistant, but is now a SAHM and full-time college student (third attempt) . She is about to embark on a brand new career in CIS at the age of 42.