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thursday thought: loneliness in a time of connectivity

america-ferrera

Just the title of the platform ‘Social Media’ in and of itself lends to the notion that it’s social, that it’s engaging, a platform where we can interact socially using various forms of media. But when I read the quote above from America Ferrera something rang seriously true.

 

I work in Social Media and share much of my life (mostly the highlights) on it. I interact daily with people on Instagram, Twitter (and occasionally Facebook) and find myself constantly connecting. Constantly connecting, totally connected but many times feel a total disconnect.

 

I thought maybe it was just me. Being an introvert and shy by nature Social Media is a place for me to thrive because I don’t have to actually interact face to face that often. The barrier of the device allows me a comfortable buffer to keep my anxieties at bay. But I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Because I’m shy the barriers I hide behind make it easier for me to avoid interaction, but I need interaction. Humans need humans. At events I initially have a hard time (anxiety on 100) but once I’ve had a few chats and I’ve warmed up a bit I start to enjoy myself. I get home happy that I pushed myself to get out there and have some conversations in real time.

 

I asked some of my friends about what America Ferrera had to say and they had a few different perspectives. Many agree that Social Media and the age of information leaves them feeling like they know a lot about a bit of everything and everyone but not much past the surface. They also commented that tools like Instagram can be polarizing as the medium is used to show snippets of life which always end up looking pretty fantastic leaving the voyeur with feelings of inadequacy. Inadequacy that leads to polarizing feelings of not being good enough, pretty enough, connected enough, rich enough, traveled enough, liked enough….

 

So Social Media isn’t so, well, social? Or maybe we’re just coming at it the wrong way. Like anything on the interwebs it’s a tool, a tool to help facilitate our lives and make it easier, more accessible and/or more enriched. Maybe it’s not that the loneliness can’t be avoided it’s that we have to work at ensuring the loneliness is in check by using these tools as a springboard to more.

 

I know we’re all busy and feel totally consumed, but making time for Netflix is just as important as making time for friends and family. Flipping over the phone to actually use it for the use it was initially created – to CALL someone (so guilty!) Or better yet, putting down the device all together to make eye contact, to spark up some small talk that might lead to real talk is something we need to collectively work on. Or if I’ve overstepped, something I know I need to work on for sure because the only cure for loneliness is connection, real life, tangible connection with another living, breathing and engaged human.

 

Just some thoughts…

 

Do you ever find yourself feeling lonely in the midst of all of this connectivity?

8 comments

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  1. lonelyshoez says on

    Totally agree with this post.. I feel totally connected but lonely at times.. But agreee that yes I do need to have more face to face interactions and stop hiding behind my phone but thats a learning curve thing for me.. trying is what matters to me and hope to get better at talking to others in person and not being so shy..

    1. Well it’s good to know we’re not alone! Thanks so much for the comment and hope to run into you very soon!!

      xx

  2. Julie Thomas says on

    Great post Catriona, keep them coming. I’m making a conscious effort to disconnect on weekends. I’ve gotten so used to interacting with humans via social media, I need to “re-learn” how to be present in the moment. Not an easy task but going to do my best.

    1. Thanks Julie! It sure isn’t. Disconnecting on the weekend is a great idea.

      xx,

      C

  3. Habiba Abudu says on

    Having a relationship with Christ helps me with this existential void that we all combat. There must be more to life than lavish foods clothes or cars, it is all accounted for dung.

    1. I would agree that having a connection to something spiritual is important, whatever your faith may be, but I was speaking about the importance of a human connection because I also believe that is also important.

      Thanks for your comment Habiba

  4. Natasha says on

    Hello
    I related so much to your post? It’s funny because if I mentioned to family and friends that I am an introvert and feel anxious at events where i can not hide behind social media but I am forced to speak face to face with people they laugh and say you. But the truth be told is that people tend to look at the outer man and by the things we do I.e blogger, ambassador, business owners teachers or how we look/dress etc they feel that speaking face to face to others as suppose to using social media should come naturally. Thank you for being so candid it reminds me that I am not alone. I do aspire to tackle my fears and hide less behind social media cause truth be told its a wonderful feeling to have that human connection. Tasha