I recently watched a video shared by a friend on Facebook about how social media is distancing us from people and revealing only one side of us. “When we open our Windows, we close our doors.” I paraphrased a bit, but I like my descriptor.
His eloquent poem, spoken with a beautiful British accent (it’s still a rant though) might describe a few people, but I don’t think most people.
I share more about myself on social media with strangers and acquaintances than I would ever do in public, and use the platforms to ‘check-in’ with my close friends and family. I can catch up with them and see and comment on what they are sharing. But when I want to truly connect, I pick up the phone. We go for coffee, laugh over stories and pour out our hearts. I wish we had more time for the ‘real’ people in our lives; but that is just not an easily reachable goal, so until we do have more time (I assume when we are retired and our families have grown), I am happy to connect via Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. I am not sure social is cutting us off, but perhaps spreading us a little thin. We need to be better at prioritizing and choosing when and where to ‘socialize’. And we definitely need to set examples for our kids who have only us to teach them how to balance it all.
The internet, the social media multiverse, and blogging were introduced slowly to my generation. Politely encroaching on our lives so we could observe at a distance and dip our toes in once in a while, deciding whether or not we wanted to participate. The new generation has been thrown in the deep end, over their heads in a wash of technology and internet noise. It is the norm for them. They are all born with electronic umbilical cords. But, as parents of this techno-generation, do we have the knowledge and skills the help them navigate the waters? Or will they be able to develop the wisdom to teach the next generation based on mistakes they made?
We can choose to ‘Look Up’ a little more, but let’s not devalue the act of ‘Looking Down’. There are still wonderful, life-enriching connections to be made, and we have opportunities to meet people and learn things we would never have been able to do without our smart devices. We just need to use them more intelligently.
I just hope we won’t beat ourselves up too much when we disconnect from our real lives once in a while. It takes time to adapt and technology is advancing so rapidly. It is difficult to keep up. But I believe the human race will figure it out. We will find a balance, because that is what we do well…we learn, we adapt, and we are the masters of our social media multiverse.
Watch the vid (if you haven’t already!) and let me know what you think…