Social Media and Communication

So I posted something on my Facebook wall about this awhile back but I think it bears repeating… I find it very ironic that as we ‘advance’ technologically and create new ways to communicate with each other, we seem to take steps backward in how we actually relate to each other.  These days we email, we text, we post messages on Facebook, we tweet (I don’t…  I refuse to use an application that requires that I ‘tweet’ 🙂 ) … and we seem to struggle anymore with the concept of face to face communication.

It boggles my mind when I see a group of teenagers come into a restaurant (4 of them) and sit down at a table.  They don’t really ever speak to each other, other than by facial expression, as they enthusiastically text each other.  And if the lack of verbal communication were not enough, they use language shortcuts and acronyms to speak.  Face to face communication seems to be a dying art…and people wonder why relationships are so hard to manage and divorce rates are soaring.

Recently my father passed away.  I was sent a few boxes of his personal effects.  It was special for me to be able to walk down memory lane as the boxes contained multitudes of pictures and letters that my father wrote as a young man.  Several things about this struck me as interesting.  The first was the strange sense that I only knew a fraction of the man my father was.  His prose and even poetry in his letters spoke to a simpler time where someone could clearly and beautifully express their thoughts in an unhurried and truly caring fashion.  That was a time where it took time and effort to put your thoughts down on paper and send them off into the world where someone would have to work to deliver them and someone on the other end could thoughtfully reply.  There was no email or texting and the instant gratification that accompany them.  There was no implied tone or slight taken at the lack of an immediate response.  Sometimes I wish we all weren’t in such a hurry… I think it hurts our relationships.

Facebook is it’s own crazy animal… The politics of ‘friending’ and ‘de-friending’.  What should I post on someone’s wall vs. sending them a message directly?  If I break up with someone, can we still be Facebook friends?  Who do I add to my friends list?  True friends?  Acquaintances?  Someone I admire?  One of the greatest strengths of Facebook is that it provides a window into someone else’s life….this is also one of its greatest drawbacks (or at least it can be).

Bottom line… I hope that we all remember as we rush around in our daily lives that there is no substitute for face to face communication when it comes to relating to our fellow human beings.  In addition, this year I am going to try to write more letters…before the postal service closes up shop.

Thoughts?

Have a blessed day,

Wil

 

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