by Lindsay Joy · April 11, 2014
A couple of weeks ago Scott Hudson (from Ashland University and LAByrinth) sent me this link: http://www.mobiledia.com/news/189649.html. I watched the short video a few times...are we lonelier because of social media? I took a look at my friend tally on Facebook. I have 820 friends. I mean- not really. Sift through the web of indie theater, college folks, and high school people that have conveniently forgotten how shitty they were to me in my formative years and I'm left with a much smaller circle. So, why is my virtual circle that big? Why do we collect friends like postal stamps? Is it status? The power of connection? Or is it just clever marketing?
Looking over my profile, I start wondering if this is a good representation of who I really am. It's a catered and handpicked version of me. The me I want you to see. I pick the pictures where I look best (I'd love to say that I'm not vain but I am...I'm super vain) and I usually only share things that are playwriting specific. I do not tend to talk about the other ways I spend my week...because I don't want you to think of me as a waitress. I'm a writer- just look at my profile.
In the play- the character that never appears on stage is examined through what he has left behind. His virtual skeleton is picked apart by his "real" friends and family. As I sit at my laptop writing this, something popped up in my feed from a high school friend that passed away. My guess is that he doesn’t really want me to play candy crush, but the little pop-up did prompt me to look at his page. Prompted me to look at the version of himself that he wanted to leave behind…cool, good taste in music, and an interest in craft beers. But really, looking at his picture just reminds me of the shy and clever boy that loved the same science fiction books that I did in Blue Cluster English Class. He’s one of my 820. Did us linking up on Facebook really connect us? Maybe not. But it did connect me to who I used to be.
Connection is the point of all this social media BS, right? No matter how far away you are distance wise you can still link up with the people you care about. All 820 of them. When I think about the friends I would actually reach out to in my darkest of darks- it's a handful of people. My friends that have seen all of me. The bad, ugly, selfish me that I keep hidden away from social media. Having said that, I had one of the worst years of my adult life in 2013. A divorce that broke me down in ways I cannot aptly put into words. I felt like a failure, a fraud, and an oath breaker. I fell back into behavior I swore to myself I would never repeat. I was at my darkest of darks. I wasn’t even capable of reaching out to my handful of very good friends. I was thrown a rope from the most unlikely source- Facebook. Well, not exactly Facebook. For me- my rope throwers happened to be three women I went to high school with. We were thick as thieves in high school- smart and funny ladies that helped me navigate that difficult time. And then life happened. We lost touch. We moved away. We followed careers. We kept small tabs on one another through social media. Two of them had kids. The small tabs we kept starting getting more frequent. They noticed that I changed my status (or just removed the part that said I was married) and individually decided to check in on me. These ladies did something for me this past year- they reminded me that I would survive it. They reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
I’m still mulling over that little video, Scott. It’s got my gears working in terms of how I can incorporate the ideas of loneliness and isolation into the play via social media. Send more!! Get my brain clicking faster.