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Maybe we should turn to our children to learn something about simplification. Apparently fewer teens now are getting their driver’s license at 16. And Generation Y is tending to downplay owning a car.  A study analyzed discussions on social media to conclude that younger generations don’t see cars as a fundamental part of their culture. Okay. I’ve been shifting that direction for years, and even decided where to move based on the ability to give up a car, so I get that. It’s a great step in simplifying.

They go on to say,
“Online discussions by teens indicate shifts in perceptions regarding the necessity of and desire to have cars. Aware of the economic difficulties their parents may be currently facing, teens are less interested in incurring the costs involved with maintaining and fueling a vehicle. Also, with the advent of social media and other forms of electronic communities, teens perceive less of a need to physically congregate, and less of a need for a mode of transportation.”

I totally agree with eliminating the expense of a car. But…less of a need to physically congregate? Because of social media? I must be missing something. From what little I’ve experimented with social media, basically just Facebook, I can’t see how it makes up for face-to-face contact. Knowing what events, causes, groups, games, quizzes and lists people are into or reading nonsense statuses (state the color of your bra or read from a cue sheet and put together a crazy sentence based on your date of birth, color of hair or whatever) doesn’t really give me a sense of community.

Facebook has some distinct benefits, like better insight into the daily lives of my kids and a sense of their friends. And some definite drawbacks, like better insight into the daily lives of my kids and a sense of their friends. Yet, I found myself spending hours scrolling down through the latest “news” and updates throughout the week, addicted to checking it daily, sometimes multiple times a day.

And then I’d be frustrated with not having enough time for higher priorities (like sleep, exercise and friends I can actually see and talk with). So…I’ve put myself on a Facebook fast. The season of Lent was a good excuse. I just want to break the habit and rethink it’s purpose. Maybe I just don’t yet understand how social media can help me connect.  Or maybe I need to expand my definition of community.  Or maybe twenty-somethings are looking for something different than I am. I think I’ll ask a few and see what they say.