I think the title says it all.
I’ve been pondering and ruminating about Social Media for some time. How do we connect and what does it mean? The most recent events in the life of my familial unit throw into stark relief this digital age in which we live.
It is just… strange.
I’m trying quite hard to banish further judgement or opinions on life choices, but there are the facts: my brother got married last and I found out about it via Facebook.
A wedding brought to you by instagram
“Were you invited to our brother’s wedding BBQ?”
“Yeah, I got a Facebook invite to a Wedding BBQ on Saturday.”
This was last Friday from my youngest brother who is studying abroad here in Florence. It has been wonderful having him here and getting to better know the incredible man he has become in the 10+ years since we last lived under the same roof (not to mention in the same town).
Having family here in person to talk over and, eventually, toast the events of the last week has been especially soothing and helpful.
The picture is my NYC-Aussie couple friends wedding invite which I recived via snail-mail last week and just adore. Again the contrast: My middle sibling and his fiancé of a year had, apparently, decided to visit a justice of the peace and throw the aforementioned soiree the following day – and announced their intentions via Facebook invite.
Our families are wide spread: my parents in one corner of Florida, the couple in another corner, my sister in Georgia, brother and I here in Florence and my new sister-in-law’s mother in Afghanistan. There was talk of a family gathering sometime over the summer when we had all at least returned to the same continent to celebrate a tying-of-hands.
A week’s notice fete, however, was a little bit of a shock — all the more odd for the invite via the social network. I am not being critical of my brother’s choices in bride or marriage here. I just am rather incredulous and reeling from how it all played out.
Over the last week we finnally communicated (by email) and I then watched as posts and pictures popped up of the couple tying the knot. On Facebook.
Again, refer to title. Little strange, no?
I confess I have not always been especially close to my family. They have struggled to understand some of my life choices and, strong willed and self-protective, I haven’t always been the most forthcoming and explanatory.
I even joked with some friends over beers last night that of any of my siblings I would have pegged myself as the one to send an emailed picture from some far off corner of the world of me smiling under a wildflower garland, hands entwined with a tall-dark-handsome, with shaman and mountains in the background, saying “Guess what I just did? Can’t wait for you to meet him!”
So why am I so flummoxed by my this event?
After much reflection, my inner spinnings are not for the event itself, but the way it was communicated. While it amuses me to no end to think of what Emily Post might say, I just never quite expected such a story would come from my family.
I shared a house, meals, shouting matches, laughter, tears, and parental exasperation with my brother. I took it for granted that sharing of major life events would happen… well… differently.
Facebook is how you hear about your far-flung cousins or friends… not your siblings. Right?
Ah, those pesky Expectations, always the harbingers of inner disquiet.
Is this is how digitally dependent — connected but disconnected — we are?
I spend a great deal of time in the online space. Here I sit, spilling my thoughts and feelings onto a blog to be shared with readers far and wide… and unknown. The latest post from Nial Doherty on what he shares on his blog versus not has added further fuel to my ponderings.
Know I cast not the first stone.
My friends and life supports — some of which I consider quite close and important to my life — I have only met once or twice in person and communication began and exists primarily via email, Facebook, twitter, blogs and GChat (that includes many of you my dear readers).
What I a trying to reconcile is how I feel connected to these acquaintance-digital–friends, yet I feel so disconnected to my brother’s marriage through shared via the same methods.
Is the Facebook invite any different then the communications of yore? Is it so different then a phone call? A telegram? A post card or letter? A engraved invitation?
Am I being a big ole hypocrite in my incredulousness?
We, as a family unit, have never wanted for abiding love for and support for each other. Through various skirmishes and distances, that has not changed. Maybe that is all that is important.
I wish I had been able to attend the BBQ celebration. I’ll toast my brother and his bride in person, as I have overseas, as soon as life allows. In my MSIT geekyness I’ll continue to ruminate on social media and the information age.
In the meantime, according to Facebook and instagram, the couple is in wedded bliss.
In the end, I’m happy to see those pictures and have that much participation in their new life together. At least our modern technologies allow me that much. Better than getting a post card or telegram weeks after the event. It is not what I expected mayhaps but is enough for this foreign corespondent.