When social media fails you
I just went through the biggest shame with my use of my social networks.
I am being careful, especially on Facebook, to have groups, so that I can easily see updates from close friends instead of just being negligentely browsing updates that pop in my stream – I am not using Facebook so that it gives me all social media broadcasts that I can see on Twitter for instance… but many of my friends chose to broadcast – probably automatically – to all their networks, and I confess, I get distracted from that primary intention.
A friend and neighbor in my town, whose sister had suddenly been sick with brain cancer last March was using her Facebook status to update on her sister’s condition and fight against the tumor. There were weeks without updates sometimes. And more recently, some alarming updates, not spelling out a dreaded outcome, but clear enough for me to pay more attention, and try to keep my prayers and thoughts as active as possible.
Not active enough were my thoughts of checking the updates daily. I checked on Wednesday for the last time, and then never caught the passing stream with my friend’s appearing in, while I would stroll in the flood. And Thursday morning, she posted that her sister had passed. I was available to go to services, I was available to go to the funeral and to the cemetary. I just didn’t see the announcement. Until today when I caught a recent update with a picture that immediately alerted me to what I had missed.
Of course I feel guilty. Guilty of what we all do on our shiny walls and love for the excitement of social networks. We have many friends, but do we hear when they tell us something that we need to hear? I will not tell my friend that I feel guilty, because I feel mostly sad that I failed showing up, even for a brief farewell and extending my condolences, in a different way than a comment below a picture, a letter in the mailbox and a basket of fruit – I am not even sure they are at their home or at their siblings’ and because of my own guilt calling on the phone won’t do me any good, because it is not about me, it is about their bereavement, and they have other things to care about than the guilt of a lame friend on facebook.
This will serve me as a lesson. A lesson in my usage of social network, which I pride myself in being using properly enough to teach others how to do so.
Remember why you friend someone on facebook. And if you are among those that make a lot of noise too.