Confession: I’m terrible at keeping in touch

Confession: I’m incredibly lazy at keeping in touch with friends.

This is for a few reasons.

One, I’m just generally bad at being the first one to reach out. Part of this is because of laziness, but there’s another small part where I don’t want to be rejected or am afraid they won’t reply or any number of other things.

Most of my friends from high school and college use Facebook as their primary social network. I do not like Facebook, much preferring Twitter. My preference stems from several reasons that go beyond the scope of this post, but my dislike of Facebook goes as far as refusing to provide regular updates of my own, even avoiding the site unless absolutely necessary.

The problem is, a lot of my friends from years past are on Facebook and only Facebook. I’d still like to keep in touch with them, but I don’t want to use Facebook to do it. This presents a problem, and now I’m trying to think of solutions.

For me, keeping in touch becomes much easier when I like the interface.

I’ve pondered a few solutions to this problem.

1) Convince them to join Twitter. Problem: This isn’t something everyone wants to do.

2) Convince them to do NaNoWriMo. Again, not something everyone wants to do (even if I do think everyone has a story to tell).

It turns out convincing my friends to change their Internet habits isn’t the best way to go about doing this. How about changing my habits?

3) Make one feed for friends (as opposed to casual acquaintances I went to school with), then read just that feed. There are a couple of problems with this. The first is that Facebook doesn’t provide RSS feeds for groups of friends. The second is that even if it did, I’ve gotten worse at checking my feeds ever since Google Reader shut down. Side note: if you know of any feed readers that are software free and beer free, let me know. I’ve been using Commafeed and haven’t gotten into it.

So RSS is apparently out of the picture. But then I realized something. I’m already reading my email all the time, and my few Facebook notifications automatically go to the trash. This is my way of filtering through emails like “So-and-so’s birthday is this week!” and “So-and-so liked your post”. Since I already get these emails, why not use them better? I added more people to my email notification list and started checking the trash folder for Facebook messages. The problem is, I never replied to them even though they were showing up in my inbox, despite Facebook letting you reply to posts via email. Oops.

But then last week I found myself brushing my teeth and wondering what a couple of high school friends were up to. Since they’re not on Twitter and don’t do NaNo, Facebook was the primary message of keeping in touch. After a little bit of anxiety over whether they’d reply or even wanted to see me, I messaged both of them. It turned out they were both in Atlanta. Yay! We set a date and time to meet up, and the rest happened last night over pizza and drinks. (And a guy hitting on me at the bar we went to. But that’s another story.)

Since that turned out well, and since I do want to keep in touch with others more, I present an experiment. I’d call it the Facebook experiment, but that’s already taken.

The Rules:

1. Each day for the next seven days (today through 31 July), comment on the posts of three different people. Likes do not count for the purpose of this experiment. Also, commenting multiple times on one status (or multiple updates for one person) does not count multiple times. The idea is that at the end of seven days, I should have reached out to 21 distinct people.

2. Update my own Facebook at least once a day for the next seven days.

Will I find myself in the lives of more people? Will more impromptu social shenanigans happen? Stay tuned.

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