Saturday, March 28, 2015

The world of chatter.

Would we be aware of our own world if we didn't have that  contorted mirror we call social media and its chatter twentyfour hours a day, and information/gossip being dissected until all the facts no longer exist in real life? What if we lived without the conveniences we rely on so heavily to feel connected? Our phone; our Facebook page; our blogs; our sewing circle...

Here is how I get my news daily as  I have my first cup of coffee:

1. I check my phone for text messages, emails, missed calls and respond to these.
2. I check and interact on my Facebook accounts. (Remember how I came to have more than one?)
3. I browse the New York Times starting with the daily news and visiting my favorite pages such as Opinions, Health, Science, Arts, Recipes and perhaps Home. If an article attracts my attention I share it on Facebook or email it to my self for further analysis.

I used to subscribe to other newspapers in the state and in this region, but I can browse for information quickly by going to Google and saving myself the cost of subscription. Yesterday, after my doctor's visit, I signed up to get weekly recipes from the American Diabetes Association. This morning, in my email account, a lovely recipe for chicken wraps I could have concocted myself, but I do like to get new ideas and new tastes in my household.

Midday, as I take my daily walk in the neighborhood, I will stop and talk to folks who are doing the same. Here is where I find out how the new restaurant is doing, what they serve, what plans they have in the future. I can get daily reports of who was seen where this way. I also notice if a neighbor has been absent for a while and for what reasons. We stop and talk to the workmen improving a vacant house; we get a sense of how the work is progressing, and they get a sense that someone is watching their efforts as well. Absent residents appreciate such intercourse.

Since most of us in town do our major shopping at bigger stores in the surrounding cities, we run into each other at these places and catch up with additional details. Yes, some of us, like Kathie Griffin will forever tease our friends with off-color jokes, and we have to skim the newsworthy tidbits on our dime, but usually, we do want to update our neighbors of our health, our plans for vacation, our plans for visiting or hosting relatives, even our plans for major changes.  Sharing in a small town is mandatory.

I have friends on Facebook I have never met. They share enough for me to get a glimpse of their lives,and their inclinations. If they are way too preachy or way too conservative in their views, I tend to skip their posts. I nod their way now and then, just to be polite. All and all, I am glad to know a bit of their world, even try to understand their point of view; but I do not spend much time delving deep into their principles.

Mostly, I find myself attracted to like minds, reading and sharing similar points of view. Refreshingly, since we live in a small town, we still tend to see and socialize across the divide, democrats and republicans improving the world together as they meet in Rotary or The Arts Council. We do share concerns about our town and are willing to come together to improve things.

 Sometimes though, it takes a long time to define what we mean by IMPROVEMENT.