This blog entry is written by Jeff Bean after his week-long Facebook fast. I take particular pride in posting this, as Jeff was my senior-year English teacher, the one who forced us to memorize part of the prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. Jeff, thanks for letting me post this, and thank you for being a caring, compassionate, and challenging teacher, one whose lessons are still fresh in my mind. Your post caused me to reflect and consider the role of Facebook in my life, which I will post on soon.
I spent a week away from Facebook and found out some things. First, like everything, it is a balanced instrument. Facebook isn’t bad or good, it is a tool. For some folks a hammer is used to build things, for others it is a weapon to destroy things. I found that I was on too often and let it detract me from more productive endeavors. But I also understand that I thrive on the relationships in my life. Those are most often cemented in the conversations and discussions I have with people. I need people who disagree with me just as much as I need folks who see the world as I do. So, what I learned is that I need to commit a certain time, or amount of time, per day to fostering those conversations. That, I think, will lead to better conversation and a greater degree of patience on my part (Something Anne says I could use some work on). But, it also seems pertinent, after this time of reflection, to let you all know how much I value our relationship, whether from High school more than a couple of years ago or from when you sat in my classroom and decided I had something of value for you or from whenever you and I ran into each other and started a dialog about hanging out on the planet, all of you are essential to who I am and what I can accomplish with the time I have left in the mortal coil. I also noticed that nothing ended while I was gone, you all seemed to be able to manage without me. I am essential only in my play. I need to remember Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
But I also remember that my father had a group he met with every day at McDonald’s. He made meeting a habit. I think that is what Facebook is for me, the habit place to meet with people. We can, realistically, make only so much time for people on an individual level. Those are special, important times, but I love the larger connection I have found here. I wrote a poem once about the weakness of love in Bronte’s Wuthering Heights compared to being in love on a world scale. I feel that even more deeply today. While each relationship is unique, be it Anne or Malcolm or Tom or whomever, together; they are what allows me to face the difficulty of living in a Post-Modern era with the hope of true refinement. Bless you and thank you for engaging me and letting me know in your own special way that I am, indeed, alive.