Forging Ahead With Social Networking: Is it Healthy for Us?


What affect does social networking have on us as individuals and a society?

The majority of people participating in social networking online fall between the ages of 25 to 54, according to a new study done by the folks at pingdom.com. If you take the numbers flaunted by the most popular of these online social networks, it’s easy enough to imagine that social networking now plays a significant role in our culture and our lives. Based on the chart above, it appears that each social networking service attracts certain age groups that may cater to specific developmental life stages as well:


Like a Hungry Pack of Wolves

blackeyeI rarely see black eyes in my office, so when the young man came in with one, I asked about what happened.

“I was at the car wash across from the grocery store,” he began. My eyes widened. That was the car wash and grocery store that I always go to.

“I was vacuuming out my truck and had both doors open. This man gets in and sits in the passenger seat. I thought maybe he wanted a ride or something. Then he punched me in the face. He broke my nose and blood was going all over the place. Then, he took my wallet, cash and cell phone and ran off. I drove myself to the hospital.”

I asked him what time of day this happened, and he said at about 10:30 in the morning.


When Bedroom Eyes Won’t Work

david cassidy “Hey, hippy!”

When I saw the man that stood up when I called his name, I really couldn't stop myself from greeting him this way. That was my first impression when I saw the black leather jacket, the shag haircut and the attempt at bedroom eyes. Well over 6 feet tall, he folded himself into the chair in my office.

At first, there wasn’t much for him to say, and that gave him time to work the silk into voice when I did ask for his story.

Trying to hide the surprise from my voice, and not quite succeeding, I asked him, “You haven’t worked since May of 2009?” I also couldn’t keep my eyebrows out of my hairline. I kept facing my computer screen until I could regain control. I kicked myself for losing it in the first place, but I couldn't help but wonder what he could have been doing all that time. That was all the opening that he needed.


Holes to Pump Hope Into

man2 His was a face unmarred by laugh lines. Small, deep-set eyes peered out from behind bifocals held by bent, crooked frames sitting on a hawkish nose. The scraggly thick and gray moustache helped to hide his horse-long teeth slanting in to fill the gap left by the missing front two, but not quite enough. The baseball cap failed to hide the tufts of unbrushed gray hair in sad need of a cut.

He waited expressionless, though not quite patiently, sitting in a waiting room chair in direct view of my office doorway. When I called his name with a smile and a “Hi!” he rose from the chair and shuffled his bow-legged way toward me, his face still without expression.

Sitting down, he said he wanted to see where he stood. Since he had done the same not two weeks before, I waited for him to work himself around to the real reason why he had come. He asked a lot of questions before he dove deeper.

“I’m told I spend too much time in bed,” he said.


Arkansas, Buried in Snow!


As usual, I woke up this morning. Yep, I did. What wasn’t usual is that I could see my truck out the window before I turned the kitchen light on, and it was piled high with snow. Rain was forecast, not snow! A big, massive snow creature peeked in through the back door, and when I flicked on the outside light, there was Odin with his own pile of snow covering him. One good head shake, and the snow flew everywhere.

I went through my morning routine, got ready for work as usual, and waited for the sun to come up so that I could see what all was out there. To my surprise, there was already close to a half foot of snow, and it was still falling from the sky. I looked out at Odin and his winter coat was doing its job funneling the water off of him, but he looked drenched to the skin. I bundled up, threw his blanket over my arm, and as soon as he saw me, he came right up to me and stood still for me to put the thing on him. I knew it was bad then. Odin hates wearing his blanket!

The state went on its inclement weather policy, and I had the day off. I’ve watched the snow fall all day, and it’s still falling.


Responsibility’s Reach, Irresponsibility's Toll

thewonderHe was short, muscular, and on a mission. He had long since cleared his mind of the emotions of his situation and was now checking his facts before making a huge decision. It's a scenario I see over and over in my job, but with endless variations on just how clearly options are identified and weighed at an extremely stressful time. This man, however, had months to work through his circumstances and was now at a critical turning point. He confirmed the facts and his options with me and seemed set on which way he'd decide, then he stopped.

"Can I bring my wife in?  This affects her too and I'd like to see what she thinks."

In a snap of a finger, what I had thought was cocky bravado became confidence instead. What I had observed up to that  point seemed to be the self-centeredness of being single. Perhaps he knew that in order to be of value to another, he had to be true to himself first. But what came to the forefront above all else was his sense of responsibility to another person.