I think I am developing a bit of a love/hate relationship with social media. Which I realize is very ironic as I sit here and write a blog that I hope people will read, that I will use my social media to promote. (That is the love part of my relationship) I don’t know, I kinda miss the old days when I didn’t know every single thing about everyone’s life and where I had to make real life efforts in my relationships. (Again, ironic. I know you know about my openly shared social media life! I’ve drank green tea all week. I posted that for all of you who care, or don’t care)
Social media lets me be comfortable. I work in an extroverted job and environment and have to be outgoing for most of my professional responsibilities. However, I am an introvert by heart, and social media has made it really easy for me to communicate in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me or push me out of my comfort zone. (Again, the love side) I hate the telephone. And I basically never have to use it again if I don’t want to. (My mom still calls me. I’ll keep answering for her)
But here is what I worry about. As I look at my family. All on our devices. Unable to leave the room without our devices. Always checking our devices. Needing to upgrade our devices. Having full panic attacks when we can’t find our devices.
Has it all gone to far?
I told my kids last week that I was the first one on my floor in residence to have a computer. That seems absurd to even type. I mean, I am not 100 years old. The technology that we have seen over the last 20 years of my life is mind blowing. And I really worry sometimes about my kids and all the access that they have. We monitor it, but it’s hard. They know more than me, I can’t keep up. I don’t think anyone can keep up.
Take a look at this:
Astounding! But it did remind me of something. Our need to belong. We all want that. We all desire that. And social media has made it so easy for people to be part of something. Groups, Pages, Followers. Everyone can be someone. Everyone can find someone. And that is what everyone wants. To be part of something more. But here’s the thing, I don’t want my kids to think that relationships can only develop through their iPods. I want them to be out there, experiencing REAL life and living real life. I need to remind myself of that too and get back to living real life more myself. (I actually went out tonight on a Friday night, it was shocking – I haven’t done that in a long time!)
I know that genuine connection and interaction happens all the time through our computers. But in the middle of it all. Let’s not forget what is important. People are important. Real squishy (or not so squishy) people who you can hug when they need a hug. Who you can look into their eyes when you talk to them. Who you can smile at and encourage with your words. Social Media can’t replace that. A little winky face on a page can’t replace the sincerity of human interaction.
Can we find balance in this crazy tech world?
I think we can. But I think we have to try harder. I still love social media. I’m going to tweet this blog in a few minutes. I know important information is shared on social media all the time and that the way we are now connected is so significant to our world, our society and our relationships. But I have decided that I personally need to make a BIG effort to love real people more than I love their pictures. To be involved in their lives past their facebook status. So my new goal really is to do less typing and more living. More smiling. Less emote-ing. More real love, less virtual love.
Real connection in a real world that goes beyond the screen.