Sunday, January 29, 2012

Facebook and Friends

It is my current opinion that Facebook does as much to destroy friendships as it does to build them.  Today I unfriended 18 people on Facebook that I did not field really were friends any more.  Friendship should be two-way.  Many friends I've had over the years left me feeling that the whole relationship was one-sided.  I would do my best to encourage getting together and stuff, but I was doing all the work.  There was no give and take.  I gave and they took, probably begrudgingly.

Now I know that there has always been the possibility of this regardless of the medium for maintaining the friendship,  either in person, over the phone, snail-mail, email, chat, twitter, blogging, forums, and social networks such as Facebook.  In all of these examples, the relationship can become one-sided and merely by ignoring the other's communications, the friendship becomes stale until it ends altogether.

My concern is that Facebook contributes to this almost without us realizing it.  One of the latest introductions was the concept of "subscribing" to friend's feeds.  In other words, almost without us knowing, they took all of our friends (except the ones that THEY thought we wanted to be most in contact with) out of our news feeds and forced us to then subscribe to them.

They didn't give us a mechanism by which we could just subscribe to all of our friends and fix the problem (and also allow us to check a box when we get new friends to automatically subscribe).  This causes a problem.  If you do not choose to subscribe to all of your friends, unless they actually directly reply to posts or leave you messages on Facebook, it's as if they dropped off the earth.

I've seen a few where I had not heard from them and look at their wall only to find that they've been posting for a while, but I never saw them because I was not subscribed to their feed.  So frustrating.

However, I then have to wonder if they see my posts.  Am I being subscribed to by all of my friends?  Probably not.  In fact, they can easily ignore me and I am never the wiser (but then again, that's always a danger when friendships sour or go stale).

In the end, I have to assume that their lack of response to messages from me must be solid proof that the friendship is no longer alive.  However, was it because of something I did, or was it because Facebook killed the friendship by the changes it has made.

I consider the possibility that I must do my best to include and engage each and every one of my friends on a regular basis in order to more accurately ascertain the expiration date of the friendship.  However, who has time to contact over 100 friends (or more depending on your list) regularly?  Wasn't that what the news feed was supposed to allow us to do?

Ah well, I've cleaned up my list... now it's time to go in and make sure I've subscribed to everyone.  Perhaps you better do the same.

However, if you wish to no longer see my stuff, don't just hide it in your news feed.  PLEASE unfriend me.  At least I'll know where we stand again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Temporary Freedom

I was born in Dallas, TX in 1969.  That officially makes me a United States Citizen... a.k.a. American.  I have been blessed to be raised in a country that does not make the search for scriptural truth a crime.  My Creator knew the best environment available for me to grow and mature and come to know and understand Him (even just a little bit).

Some time in my late 20's, I applied for citizenship in another country.  A future one.  I am now working on learning what it means to be a citizen of that new country currently authored in heaven to be implemented on this earth.

Part of the application involves my behavior as a tentative citizen of that future country living in this current one.  Much of what I learn involves giving up that which most Americans cling.  In some ways, I give up the freedoms that many Americans believe I should not.  They claim the Savior gave them the freedom to do as they please for they say they are guaranteed citizenship.

I, and scripture, say otherwise.  The papers have been filed, but the seal of approval will not be applied until our Savior returns to this earth to setup His Kingdom on THIS earth.  I have the freedom to choose which country I wish to maintain citizenship.  I choose the one coming.  Thus, I give up certain freedoms granted to me in the United States to gain freedom from this physical body in the coming Kingdom.  For me, the answer is obvious when the question is "Bacon or Spirit?" or "Christmas or Passover?".

I hope to be reborn when my Savior returns.   If successful, I will be a citizen of the only true Kingdom from Heaven.  I will have no need of any claim to being an American as it will mean nothing then.  I will have no need of anything physical for I will have become one of His children.

Enjoy your freedoms as Americans, for a Kingdom is coming in which they will be taken away.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Of Books, Audiobooks and eBooks

I have a personal preference for physical books. I have not had much interest in reading eBooks or listening to audiobooks despite a few pitiful attempts at both.

However, in the last few weeks, that opinion has been somewhat modified. I had a very good friend loan me Catching Fire (sequel to The Hunger Games) through his Kindle which I could access through my iPhone app. I had no intention of buying the hardcover books to finish reading the trilogy (I have a softcover copy of the first book). I discovered quickly in waiting rooms and during work breaks, anywhere where I had a good 10 minute window or more, that I could quickly open up the Kindle eBook and take up where I left off. I read that eBook in just a few days and, in a few more days, I finished the third book, Mockingjay, which he also loaned to me. I am hooked on the ability to read whenever and wherever I want. The Nook app takes much longer to load and I have not yet started on one of the eBooks I already have on my Nook iPhone app.

As for audiobooks, the situation was changed by my change in transportation and job location. I now have a straight 30 min highway drive to and from work and my Jeep Patriot has a six disc CD player. So I just loaded up a copy of Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway that was loaned to me by a coworker (it just happened to be 6 CDs) and in just one week I finished the audiobook (finished this afternoon on the way home). This method was also enjoyable in that I found my drives to be less stressful and actually seem to be too short.

I still miss having the physical books as I cannot now loan them to friends and family I know who might enjoy them as well. While I will not be buying the rest of The Hunger Games trilogy, I may look for Hemingway's book to add to my personal collection.

Who knows? Maybe one day I will give in and get an eBook reader, but, for now, my iPhone and Mac apps will do.