life

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?

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