When I thought there was nothing new to report… wrong! The lastest manifestation of not being online is how folks forget that I’m not online. They think I know things going on with them, because they’ve spoken about it publicly. Which is a common thing. I am also guilty of that, having lived so publicly for a while. It’s an awkward moment when you realize the person doesn’t know something that everyone knows, or vice-versa. It’s the knowing absence of small talk, namely, “So what is up with you?” With social networks, all the wind is taken out of that sail. You can launch right into the current things you haven’t posted online. In an offline world, you learn to synopsize quite well about the large things in your life.
Example 1: I was chatting almost every day with a close friend before she realized I didn’t know she was moving in with her boyfriend. Perhaps that’s my oversight that I didn’t ask her how things were going in her relationship.
Example 2: In figuring out Friday night plans with a friend, she took a few hours to realize I had no idea her basement had flooded and she was home with contractors all day. She’d posted photos of it on Facebook.
Part of it is that you can’t find an absence. It’s difficult to search for… nothing. So by being offline I’ve literally taken myself out of the equation. Still, the newness of news is more fresh when delivered by the person who created the news, in person. I’ll miss that when I go back on. I relished the photos of the flooded basement while sitting outside on a sunny day at a beer garden so much more than in front of a computer on Facebook.