Before facestalk ever came along i was the most out going , full of fun girl you could come across.
My idea night would be filling my car with a full tank of fuel.. Picking up some special friends.. packing a few burnt disc's of our fave tunes and driving around laughing. Stopping for a bite to eat then pulling over somewhere quietly chatting for hours and hours.
When i was blessed with Master 6 i had no internet access, no email address for that matter.
No online forums or social networking sites.
So i went to this little old thing called 'Play group' some of you may have heard of this before. Its what people do when they arent consumed by the online world.
We tried a few different groups around the Gold Coast, but as i was 'then' a young mum, i found it hard to hold a conversation with a married mothers of 3 about buying homes and new cars. When i was a single mum of 1 scraping by in a tiny unit. I needed somewhere i felt like i 'fit' in. So i phoned playgroups Australia and asked when i needed to do to be a group leader. After scouting some locations i finally set my own little group up at the Southport library. It was such a great turn out! I arranged games and singers and story tellers and brought along in expensive crafts and met some wonderful ladies. We made snakes out of stockings and plastic bags.. Ah, the simple things.
As the kids grew older and the internet and forums became more available our group dwindled away. People exchanging email addresses rather then phone numbers. Talking (bitching) about Bub Hub instead of gloating about babies.
And then there were 5. So we packed up our crafts, took the babies to the park and before we knew it we had lost touch.
I enquired about connecting the internet for my home. And 3 days later the realness of life ended. I began searching for fourum to join, registed with some dating sites, some gastric banding blogs and chat sites, parenting groups and before i knew it my desk top was full of icons that i would check in on 3 or 4 times a day.
I gained over 35kg in a matter of months but had not a care in the world, I was on one side of the computer.. They were on the other.
I set up a play corner in my teeny tiny lounge room and wasted my days away on the internet. Searching, googling, chatting..
And i guess ive never stopped.
Through those parenting groups i have met great friends, near and far. The far i talk to more then the near.
And i am 150% certain if we had no other contact then the initial meet on line then kept our friendships real, I would still have a extra hand full of good friends.
Eating out together, Playing in the park together, baking cakes together.
Not checking in at the park, status updating where your at for lunch and uploading photos of cakes you baked.. Doing things for real.
Now this leaves me and a really bad place. I am scared shitless to socialise!
Absolutely scared out of my whits.
I am scared my kids will turn feral on me forcing us to leave the park red faced and full of tears.
I wont have that split second like i do on chat or private message to think of my reply to questions and i have totally lost my ability to talk shit.
To ramble about anything and everything.. To 'blog' in real time pretty much.
I become a nervous wreck thinking about group gatherings and only just seem to pull it together for the sake of my job when we hold Pre Market meetings at our local shopping center.
I have a couple of close friends i like to get together with, but we do the usually play with the kids or hour catch up.
But long gone are the days you could ring a bundle of friends and say 'Be here at 11am'
And that sucks!
I envy those who dont use face book (and have an immaculate home) That dont feel social networking sites help their business succeed. That dont actually need a small at home business to help support their growing family. And are happy to potter around the home spending time with family and friends. I have Buttons Dior, My blog, Birthography, Spreading random acts of kindness, Cuddly butts and i am admin on god knows how many friends pages. I am finding it awfully hard to find a happy medium!
I envy parents who have a weekly or fortnightly catch up with friends at an actual cafe - not cafe world. (BTW- I hate cafe world)
I would make the time. I would give it all up. The business, the facebook, the parenting forums.. If i had the courage and faith in myself that i would be able to keep friends in real life. Keep them interested in me. Not my exciting facebook life.
So my ramblings bring me to my question.. Do you feel online socialising has taken you far far away from the real world?