Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pinball, 311, cystic fibrosis, Lost (unedited)

So much to blog about, so little time and energy.

There's more to write about pinball, but I'll wait. I am not a fan of 311, but they're connected to a hot topic here in the Twin Cities. I love watching Lost, but I don't dissect each episode and scene. I know little about cystic fibrosis.

I may know little about cystic fibrosis, but it's a topic that is sparking a tiny bit of controversy in my tiny corner of the Facebook universe.

I am connected to more than 30 people I know only because I have worked at a haunted house during the past four Halloween seasons. It was because of my co-workers that I opted to join Facebook. (It was inevitible, I know, but before everyone was on Facebook, I was among the holdouts. I hated Myspace so much I had deleted my account outright, and didn't think I'd join another social network, but wanting access to pictures taken in my haunted attraction was enough to get me to sign on.)

One of my co-workers has cystic fibrosis, evidently, and references it often on his Facebook status updates. He references a pen pal club and support group network he coordinates. During the past few months he has been selling T-shirts for his support group, or taking orders at least, and often pushes for new members to this network he appears to be the ringleader of.

In recent weeks he has posted several appeals for help paying his bills, from medical to utility. His medical needs, both in the hospital and at home, have created substantial debt, evidently. Such tales are unfortunate, and every dollar helps, I know, so even $20 from me should do some good. The drawback is that there are no shortage of charities and fundraising events seeking dollars every day, and plenty of people like me who try to raise money for charity every year. In my case I do so by biking on behalf of the multiple sclerosis society. I only raise the minimum to participate in the bike ride, $300, but I often do so without actually asking for donations. This year I'm hoping to scalp some concert tickets and offset much of that $300.

Since my co-worker Doug has taken to posting periodic appeals, I blocked his news feed from my Facebook page. I'm still connected to him, but I don't see his activities or status updates without going directly to his page.

Today another co-worker posted a strong indictment of Doug, questioning his motives and honesty. This co-worker, Mark, doesn't think Doug is being honest about his situation, and has questioned Doug about it through comments on his page, comments Doug has apparently deleted.

Mark's status update today prompted some curiosity and response from other co-workers and a woman I do not know. Mark's questioning and criticism if fair. How is it that Doug can smoke, work in a foggy haunted house and afford Mountain Dew, but can't afford to pay his bills? Fair questions, and the consensus of those who have posted is that they think Doug is being dishonest in his appeal for financial help.

I don't have any profound judgments about society or Facebook, I just find this morning's very open discussion to be fascinating, and wonder how life would have been different for all of us if there was no Internet keeping us connected 12 months a year. What will life be like 10 years from now?

Good question I just asked myself, here's how I'll try to answer it. In the coming weeks I'll detail my experiences with Facebook and attempt to track 20 people I'm connected to via Facebook. Every spring I will compare and contrast my Facebook experiences and the acquaintances I have made, assuming:
A. doesn't crash and burn, taking my blog postings with it
B. Facebook doesn't become as passe as Myspace
C I live another 10 years
D. I don't get so lazy I stop blogging

The thought of this blog in 10 years, and 10 years of incessant Facebook browsing, oy ve!

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