The Company We Keep

Butch Dalisay wrote a post a week or so ago about his not being a fan of the rampant social networking on the web. What a relief. I thought I was the only cranky old man around. And while I do have Facebook account, it was only at the insistent prodding of those near and dear to me. I hardly visit my Facebook page and I’m afraid I may come across as cold and distant to my many well-meaning friends who have poked me and keep sending me this and that invitation to join a cause. It seems I don’t respond well to being nudged, whether electronically or physically, and tend to keep my distance.

Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate what an amazing platform for connectivity Facebook and its ilk are. People I haven’t seen or heard from in decades are now my Facebook buddies. And I know why it’s such a hit for us Pinoys. It’s rooted deep in our national psyche, the need to be part of a community and to interact constantly.

But a good friend has observed that I can be antisocial. He may be right to some extent. I can be misanthropic. Or I may just be a very reserved person. Shy even.

I don’t chat online. There are times when I don’t even answer my email unless they’re work-related. I neglect my blog and don’t respond to comments, which I’m told a good blogger should always do. I log out of the internet for weeks at a time. Which, at this time and age, makes me a rather odd duck.

My problem is the whole idea that we seem to be expected to now establish “relationships” with everyone we come across. Not in the romantic sense but in the marketing sense. We have to sell our online and offline personas and to do this we have to practice “relationship marketing” . But like Butch, my friends are the ones I enjoy libations with, argue passionately about everything and nothing and who I may not be in touch with for months (even years) at a time but who won’t mind and will embrace me just as warmly the next time we meet. Because “ things get too busy or life yanks us in unexpected directions”. And these relationships are built over time. It’s a process that can’t be rushed, like the aging of fine wine.

Or maybe I’m only trying to justify my crabbiness. In any case, I’m not about metamorphose from a worm to a social butterfly anytime soon.

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