Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reaching Out in the Facebook World: Stadium vs. House Party

This morning, before running out the door for school

Sometimes I forget just how many Facebook "friends" I have.  Each person's experience with Facebook can be tailored to exactly how they want it to be, and for me, it's like being in a huge stadium packed full of people, all walking and talking at the same time, a din, a cacophany of sound all around you.  As you drift past individuals, you can hear brief snippets of conversation and can either move through the sea catching bits of others as you go, or stop for an oh-so-brief moment to offer a nod of agreement, a hug of sympathy, or a few words of support, all the while surrounded by the white noise of the passing throngs. 

And then you move on. 

Sometimes I need to remember what that experience may be like for others.  For some, it may be more like a garden-variety house party, where you'll find plenty of noise and music, but you manage to visit and talk with each person in the room.  Where you'll feel pretty confident that you are now mostly caught up with the goings-on in the lives of all of your friends, whether you've actively participated in their conversations or not.

And sometimes I need to remember that for most of my non-Ds-family IRL (in-real-life) friends, the likelihood is that their experience is far more house party than football stadium, and that my own TMI/Advocacy/Incessant ramblings are heard loud and clear, being shouted across the room, unable to be missed (and certainly causing more than one to don ear plugs...).  I have certainly offended some with my views on right-to-life, have bored others with details of things that mean absolutely nothing to them, and, surprisingly, have touched others. 

I go through my life clueless, unaware of how my former classmates, former workmates, parents of Samantha's schoolmates, family members and long-time friends view our lives, unaware that they even had that wide-open-window view in.  Well duh, it is Facebook, after all... 

And every once in a while one of those non-DS-family, IRL friends, especially the more distant ones that I've had little direct contact with in a very long time, sends me a note to tell me how much they've enjoyed reading my blog, seeing Sammi's photos, following along with our lives, and it shakes me.  It really does.  It is so gratifying to know that in some way I've affected others outside the fold, who have learned something new, had their eyes opened to the worlds of disability and Down syndrome, have attained a new view of what it all means...

I'll continue on my merry way on Facebook, blissfully (semi) unaware of how my afforementioned incessant ramblings may affect others, reaching out to change more minds, ever grateful when they, in turn reach out to tell me they've been listening. 

10 comments:

Deanna said...

absolutely brilliant portrayal of Facebook. spot on.

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

Great post. The world, through the lens of my FB, looks like 'most everyone has a child with Down syndrome, lol. I was out of town last week at a work trip and saw several women I see every two years at the same trip. Every one of them commented on my FB, and how much they enjoy learning about and reading about Vi. It surprises me too - I always think I post too much on Down syndrome for the rest of the world to care. I wonder what they really think. Does my constant Ds chat - which is just a new wrinkle in the fabric of my life - appear to them to be cumbersome and heavy? Or do they sense the lightness and joy we have in our lives with that fabric? Hard to say...

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

I so get this...I am oblivious that Fb or blogging is so out there in a land of the uncontrollable...I am from a small town and live only an hour away and when old friends know about my life now I am always stunned that they read it or are interested or why my dad has been gossiping to much...the other day a gal that I offend on my blog said that she can't read me and that I am so different in reality...I said that is why I blog I can be be me...in person I have to be nice and pc...I like living in the land of oblivion! Smiles

Anna Theurer said...

Spot on!

Becca said...

I wonder the same thing, Melissa! That's why I love so much when someone actually tells me they've enjoyed reading along or that they've learned so much. I can't help wondering what their wall looks like to them every day. Probably a long stream of *junk* from me. :-)

I haven't had any *really* negative responses from anyone, and haven't been unfriended by any of them...yet...so I suppose that's as good a barometer as any. It makes me happy when they "like" a photo, or post. Guess I haven't annoyed anyone too much.

Lacey said...

There's been a few times that I've almost shut the blog down, thinking no one reads anyway. Then someone, either a relative I never see, or someone I don't even know, will email me or leave me a message saying how much they love the blog and admire our family! So crazy! I have to remember that even if there are no comments, people are reading, so we blog on!

Jen Currier said...

I have a feeling the general FB friends have mixed feelings about posts about Ds. I think many get enlightened, and that is the most important thing! I've had the experience with an acquaintance (and even a "friend") saying "Enough Already!" (about the Ds). But, in the end- it is part of our lives. Probably 1 in 20 of my posts is about Ds, and it doesn't seem to me that you overpost about it either. There's a handy "hide" button on FB for the people who don't want it. The ones who do are probably learning that having a kid with Down syndrome is very similar to having a kid without any syndrome...perhaps with just a few extra doctor appointments and therapy sessions...;)oxox

Rochelle said...

Keep rambling girl! We all love it!

JRS said...

Exactly! I'm sharing this post. I was seriously thinking about this very thing today.
---Jen

Cindy said...

I definitely understand this! I recently had a niece who lives in another state email me and tell me she reads my blog and it has helped her. Very humbling.