Our epiphany as individuals and as parents has been brewing for some time now – and we finally sat down (offline) and talked about it. Since we work & volunteer online, use and consume social media, have blogs, etc., we’ve become horrible at unplugging when necessary. No structure. No boundaries. Constantly connected, staring at glowing screens, large and small.
The same social media tools that brought so many interesting new people into our lives, are the same tools that are in effect taking time away from family. Our digital life has been interfering with our analog life, so we needed to refocus on what’s (and who’s) important & make certain we don’t neglect those priorities.
It’s not you. It’s us!
Many people were ‘un-friended’ (what a horrible word, eh?) from our individual FB accounts, close to 200 between both accounts, but we’re NOT trying to literally lose friends we’ve made in recent years through social media. In other words, it is not an act of war. Especially the travel bloggers (you know who you are), we are following your pages via our page.
We realize that the “FB unfriending” thing is NOT the most popular decision. People’s feelings may have been hurt and perhaps even some misunderstandings. Truth is, we still want to keep our friendships and association, but, preferably, in-person. Our decision was based on what’s best for our family.
If you find yourself in Chiang Mai (intentionally or otherwise), and see us on the streets, please don’t throw rotten fruit at us. Please don’t take ‘un-friending’ (really don’t like this word) literally, as there are other means of communication that still exist. Also, neither one of us has ever intentionally ‘blocked’ anyone (only spammers as well as rude & disrespectful people) on our FB accounts.
We like the fact that we can still maintain FB friendships via groups and pages on FB.
FB has been a real struggle for A in the recent months and reduced her individual FB contacts merely as an attempt to restore her sanity. It was not an easy process by any means. She is focusing more on her role as a Mother to M and her responsibilities (nearly all online) managing 6 FB pages, 2 FB groups, 5 Twitter accounts and 2 Sparked.com accounts, in addition to assisting with fundraising for one organization, recruiting volunteers for others and raising awareness for these real and important needs.
It is a fact that we are not hosting meet-ups here in Chiang Mai as we did last year. We are still very much open to meeting existing and new friends in person for delicious food and a good time. Honest!
Here’s one way to look at all this: 10 years from now, what will matter more? That we made an effort to remain friends in-person whenever possible despite the “unfriended status on FB” or that we remain” unfriended” in person also? How will we come out on the other side? Only time will tell.
It’s sad, but true. We’ve become undisciplined by not placing limits on our time online, thereby not giving M and ourselves the quality face-to -ace time we need. We need to unplug and pay attention to the real people around us.
This weekend we managed to stay unplugged long enough to enjoy Chiang Mai, such as spending time at markets, indoor playground with M’s Korean friends, test driving bicycles and keyboards for M, shopping for appliances for the future house, and spent this afternoon at the park, feeding the pigeons.
We (just now) decided NOT to add a photo or cute video of M being mobbed by pigeons, because it will keep us plugged in longer, which means we’re likely to browse FB, tweet a bit, read up on G+ and Google Reader, check email (but not respond because too much is going on) — and it’s 10:30pm on a Sunday night, and we’d like to put away J’s laptop by 11:00pm, so we can get enough rest to take care of important things on Monday.
A few ways to stay connected with us and we sincerely hope that you do:
GotPassport (at) Gmail.com
Photo Credit: CMSWire.com
Message to M: We are sorry for keeping one eye on our glowing screens, and one eye on you, when we should be unplugged, to give you our undivided attention.