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November 18, 2019
 

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Why I don't do Facebook

A mother's musings

By Liz Gordon-Hancock
Have you ever done an internet search on your name?

Apparently, I won a beauty contest in Omaha in 2005, and received a degree in Applied. Mathematics and Statistics from John Hopkins University in 2009, according to a Google search. (Note - this was not actually me, but someone with my name.)

Have you ever typed in your child's name and seen what an internet search yields about them? Go a step farther and look at the images associated with your child's name.

The sheer amount of data, readily available, via the internet, is astounding... and a little terrifying. 

I need to pause and note that I am not one of those fearful, paranoid people, who distrusts everything or thinks the worst is going to happen.  

I'm fine with my children having their pictures taken and posted online. In fact, both my daughters have been pictured in the Icon before, with their names attached to the photo.

Furthermore, my second daughter's birth story is published online, for all the world to see. Click here to read the story.  

However, I am what you might say a little cautious. Especially when it comes to my children, and what is posted about them online.

I do not have a Facebook account.  And it's not that I'm taking a break from social media. I've never even had an account. 

Why?

Let me tell you a story: one Christmas Day, when my kids were quite small, we went to a friend's house for dessert and games. The hostess happened to take a picture of my girls, sitting on her stair steps in their Christmas dresses. The next day at church, an older lady came up to me and said "Such cute Christmas dresses!" and walked away, without another word. I was a little taken aback by such a random comment, until I eventually realized she was referring to my daughters' photo, which had been posted on my friend's Facebook page, without my knowledge.

My issue with this occurrence is NOT that someone else posted a picture of my children online.  My biggest issue with this is the complete lack of interaction.

This dear old lady saw a picture on Facebook, and came up to me to "comment" about it: #socute. She didn't ask why we were at my friend's house, or how my evening went. We could have had an in-depth and engaging conversation about how our Christmas Day's were spent and what family traditions we have... but instead, she simply commented on a photo and moved on.

I don't do Facebook because it reduces what could be an amazing conversation to simple one-sided comments.

There's so much information shared now, yet we know far less about one another. And what interaction there is, via social media, is mostly surface level.

My issue with Facebook, and social media in general, is it reduces interactions to a superficial level. And it's not really interacting... but people think it is.

Liz Gordon-Hancock, daughter of Bob and Deb Beer, graduated from Bluffton High School in 2000. She attended Ohio Northern University, and received her bachelor's in English Literature in 2004.

As part of her studies, she spent her junior year in Wales, United Kingdom, at the University of Wales, Lampeter, where she met her future husband, Robert Gordon-Hancock.

After graduation, she married and moved to London, England. She could hear Big Ben chime the top of the hour from their studio apartment. She commuted on a red, double-decker bus, crossing the River Thames, every weekday for work.

But London was not ideal for raising children, so the Gordon-Hancocks bought a house in Witham, Essex, where they had two children (under free, national healthcare).

After 10 years in the UK, the Gordon-Hancocks moved back to Bluffton to raise their kids in small-town America. They now have three children, Alenah (age 7), Isla (age 6) and Elliot (age 2). She is a member of County Line Church of the Brethren. 

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