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Social contracts.

Yesterday, I decided to break up with Facebook. I don’t even want to be “just FB friends.” I didn’t totally disable my account, but did venture there. The fine borgs at Facebook presented me with a survey of reasons why I was considering this move. The questions were a bit loaded and self-serving, in my opinion.

These should be considered as possible reasons why:

  • Because others misunderstand your posts
  • Because the political views of strangers and family members gives you panic attacks at the level of willful ignorance and inflexibility in thought
  • If you get one more request to work on the collective kibbutz of Farmville you will go insane
  • Your body language, smile, big brown eyes, laugh, and nuances are lost in the bandwidth, and have become irrelevant here.

I also found out this morning that “it is strongly suggested” that we educators do not include a certain group amongst our contacts. If anything, this “group” should be encouraged most of all to have proper Internet interactions modeled: courtesy, kindness, and knowing when NOT to post an opinion or every passing thought. Are we furthering distancing ourselves from helping each other? Is this the paradox of a ‘social’ network? I realize blaming Facebook is like blaming a grocery store for selling cookies and ice cream along with apples and grapes: they’re just providing a (commercialized) service. It’s not Facebook, but how others, and myself, use it. If I’ve abused the power of distancing myself between conflict, collaboration, or conceit via a social network then shame on me.

I will go back on Facebook soon to do two things:

1. Write each of the “friends” I must drop why I need to do this

2. Send myself an email list of those I need to know and cherish – some of these old friends are too important and wonderful to lose in the noise and steam

And then we’ll take a break.

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WIHWT: the beginning of The Graveyard Book

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The Graveyard Book  by Neil Gaiman Copyright 2008

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WIHWT: The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg

Witches’ brooms don’t last forever. They grow old, and even the best of them, one day, lose the power of flight.

Fortunately, this does not happen in an instant. A witch can feel the strength slowly leaving her broom. The sudden burst of energy that once carried her quickly into the sky become weak. Long and longer running starts are needed for takeoff. Speedy brooms that, in their youth, outraced hawks are passed by slow flying geese. When these things happen, a witch knows it’s time to put her old broom aside and have a new one made.

On very rare occasions, however, a broom can lose its power without warning, and fall, with its passenger, to the earth below…which is just what happened one cold autumn night many years ago.

The Widow’s Broomby Chris Van Allsburg