Social Networking and Ecclesiastes

If I admit that there are times when I would readily drop my relationships because they interfere with my life, would you call me antisocial?

I sometimes think  I would have no problem holing up in a cabin in the woods with no way out and no way in (especially if I could bring the internet with me).  I have little patience for others’ weaknesses, their folly; yet I have no tolerance for it if they point out mine.  I’d like to work on what I choose to work on, at my own pace, in my own time, thank you very much. 

I know there’s a part of me that relishes relationship, fellowship, intimacy.  It’s just, I guess, I find it terribly inconvenient when I can’t have it on my terms.  I guess that’s why I like email and blogging so much. 

I was doing a little LIGHT reading before bed the other night and I found myself in Ecclesiastes.  This spoke to me: 

Ecclesiastes 4: 7-12 – Then I looked again at vanity under the sun.  There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor.  Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?”  This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.  Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. 

Such a good reminder when permanent solitude looks so attractive.  Before I landed right in the middle of Blogville, I had serious concerns about where as a society we are heading where people spend more time investing in what I called pseudo-relationships (on-line) than they do in investing in people face to face.  I still have those concerns, but I also realize the value of on-line relationships, where the pool of friends is endless and the information and background is limitless.  Where else can you speak to (email) ten different parents of children with special needs and ask and answer the hard questions without going through weeks of small talk? 

I do think, though, that I probably need a little more balance in my life.  I notice as my iPad becomes more and more a part of my life that it is depriving me of moments of visiting with the waitress who serves me eggs every Saturday morning, the sweet family that shows up at the Y while my children are there swimming, even opportunities of visiting with the older members of my family at the end of the day.  Opportunities to connect (and I’m not talking about the internet) are few and far between, and I don’t want to miss them.  So I’m going to shoot for making sure I’m spending at least as much time on face-to-face communication every day as I spend on-line. 

And I don’t think, “Go clean your room,” “Now why did you just stick your tongue out at your sister” or “It’s time for spelling,” counts, do you?


5 thoughts on “Social Networking and Ecclesiastes”

  1. I make an effort to phone a different friend and a different family member each week. Realistically, I know fitting in time to see them in person is difficult, but a phone call I can fit in and maintain those relationships between face to face time. Or compromise and video conference 🙂 Face to face AND online.

  2. I’m certain after being a stay at home mom and a work from home employee (always on the laptop) that I could NOT survive without face to face relationships. It took 18 months but I know now I would sooner throw my laptop and cell phone away. Than hole up alone. That said, going off by myself to replenish sounds like heaven! … But maybe only for the weekend.

    1. You’re so right. Those ideas can sound great when it’s not reality, but the reality of being alone without friends and family would be miserable – except maybe for a day or two.


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