The harsh glow of this screen is straining my eyes as I try to think of the exact words that will explain how I feel this morning. In the next minute I drop everything to google a few hilarious birthday memes and put them on my brother’s wall. It’s his birthday and memes are life. What the hell did I use to do before the internet? Be forced to call someone on the phone on their birthday? Human interaction? Ew gross.
Ugh what kind of social media monster have I become? Time after time I have seen this magnificent thing called Facebook work wonders for my professional life. It has helped me advertise our current business virtually for free. It has given me the ability to write and be read by hundreds of people who would have never seen my work otherwise.
However for a time, it also alienated me. It tucked me into a place where social interaction was solely taken through screen time and conversation was rather typed than spoken. It made face to face interactions odd and unkemptly, as though somewhere in the back of my brain I was thinking this socializing thing might just be easier if I wasn’t here at all. The protection of a screen had become everything.
Then we opened a business where speaking to people became our way of earning money. Everyday different humans walk into our shop and I am forced to converse with them. It is actually the best thing that could have ever happened to me. While we all know that socialization is important, I think we sometimes forget how detrimental physical human interaction actually is to our mental health.
It can get very lonely sitting behind a screen simply feeding ones ego with “likes” and “shares”. It can become a hard habit to break. How easy it has become to feel as though we are living grandly in the imaginary frontier of the information superstation. How simple it is to believe that all of those friends and followers truly care about what and where and why and how we are living.
These sites that were crafted to connect us to each other have achieved to such an extent that they have disconnected us from everyday physical and emotional experiences. And although they create optimal and vast opportunities for professional growth they seem to be stifling our personal and emotional wellbeing. Simply put, those who cannot sort out the good and helpful aspects from the social media garbage are being left behind to wander aimlessly. They are searching for a false gratification that can never truly be achieved in that kind of a place, only hoped for under grossly false pretenses of grandeur and greatness.
I’ve come to enjoy talking and interacting with people again. I have learnt to appreciate different people’s foibles and intricacies. It is what makes us human and the main thing we try to hide when living behind a screen. In real life I seek these flaws out and remind myself to appreciate them in all of the people I meet because it means we are living, it means we are still trying to connect.
At times I still have to remind myself that there is nothing opulent about my social media sites. They are not there to make me rich nor famous but to simply allow me to stay in touch with those I do not see every day. These sites are not a substitution for connection but instead an extension for when there is no other option.
With that said, I’ll be signing off for now. I think it’s about time I call my brother and wish him a happy birthday.