An Invitation

blank invitationInvites can be a funny thing in the age of technology and social media.  Invitations are supposed to be welcoming, celebratory, but given the nature of Facebook, they can be a signal to those who are invited, as well as to those who are not invited—and that can be hurtful. FB is a cool tool, to be sure, connecting people anywhere any time; the down side is that, well, it connects people anywhere any time.  That is, your “friends” on FB are often a wide array of people that would seldom meet in real life, but on FB they’re in your living room, so to speak, all at once.

You see photos you might never see in real life, because they’re posted, and you hear of events you would only hear of if you bumped into that person by chance in the flesh. I’ve been in touch, for example, with several former students, and it is a joy to see them adulting—pursuing careers, traveling, marrying and having families.  I like their posts all the time, they like mine—all is well.  Within the last year, one such student posted details of her upcoming wedding; we attended her graduation party, and have stayed in touch with her and her family over the years.  The wedding was out of state, and I planned ahead, marking it on my calendar as well as my husband’s.  “It’ll be such fun!” I told him last year.

But then . . . the weeks before the wedding rolled around, and I knew. There would be no invitation.

Ouch.

I’ve known Heidi (that’s what I’ll call her here) since she was nine, and my heart was broken.

What are the social conventions in a world where everyone seems to know everything about everyone else? With FB, guests and non-guests alike know all about any given event. So I didn’t get to go to Heidi’s wedding—should I like all her wedding posts? Awkward.  I would love to send a gift—more awkward.

Do my invitations or announcements invite some while “disinviting” others? If I am not including everyone and don’t want to cast a wide net, do I really need to post it on social media?

In the end this is an invitation to me to think about my own posts.

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