My venture into this public sphere is characterized by long silent lapses. I post nothing, sometimes because I have nothing to say, or because I’m busy with life, or working on other writing.
I reflect on Facebook. A woman friended me last week, someone who knew others whom I know. I accepted, and then was inundated with her posts, which were mostly reposts of other people’s cute or reflective bon mots. These are the post-modern equivalent to the newspaper and magazine clippings that I once received from an ex-mother-in-law. They were the effort to connect, snippets of interest that revealed far more about the sender than the perceived interests of the recipient.
Occasionally an idea crosses my thoughts. I ponder that it could be transformed into a blog post. Then I think again. Some voice from the past pierces my consciousness. The brother-in-law who once interrupted me in conversation to say, “This isn’t about you” — his way to silence an outspoken woman. Or perhaps it was the mother who said, “Children should be seen and not heard,” or a family member, chastened by good Finnish Lutheran values, who inferred that to speak is to claim a place to which one is not entitled.
All those Facebook posts. They’re an effort to be seen and heard, to be affirmed. It seems that as the planet becomes ever more crowded with people we become simultaneously more lonely. The tiny flicker of “Like” is the star that emerges from a cloud, the twinkle of connection in an infinite night.