We’ve been blinded. All of us. Me included. We see things in headlines now. Everything is sped up and has been reduced to click-bait, including our relationships.
It makes sense though, doesn’t it? It started with the news, maybe? All of the major stations started trying to out-sensationalize each other until it was no longer news. It’s what the people wanted. Bite sized morsels, rich in sugar, low in sustenance. Gotta hit that pleasure center.
Then came Myspace. But what really set it off was Facebook. We started seeing each other through news feeds. Two and three sentence summaries about how awesome everything is. Either that or it’s the friend with the cryptic drama. You know what I mean, “Some people don’t know what they’ve got till it’s too late.” Then in come the drama seekers. Commenting on it with their, “It’s all good girl, you’re better than that anyway!” And all they’ve got is some distilled one line piece of information that has no business hanging out there in public anyway. But they’re involved because it tastes good. It’s drama. It’s sugar. Nothing more. Hits that pleasure center. It feeds the primal (and believe it or not, gossip is an evolutionary trait developed to encourage survival through communication…but that’s a different blog).
My point is that we know less about each other than ever. Our primary source of communication with the ones we love, and I’m betting this is true with most people, comes from our interaction with them on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. We see click bait. We see filtered pictures. Sensational statuses that give no real reading on what’s really going on. And it’s true for me too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the ass drop out of someone’s life and have been like, “Whoa! I had no idea things were that bad.” Then I realize that I haven’t had a real conversation with them in months, I’ve just been looking in on their lives through a computer screen.
This isn’t a rant against social media. I think there are far more (potential) benefits than there are negative factors. But there are negative factors, make no mistake. The lack of real communication, the liberty it’s given people to just be trolls and complete assholes without any real repercussions come to mind immediately.
It’s easy to look at someone through the window of social media and think that you know them.
I understand the allure of social media as well. I’m someone that doesn’t especially enjoy human contact. I tend to live my life like a bit of a mad man, and if it wasn’t for my wife and a few close friends that constantly reel me in, I’d be a full on mad man. I’d keep my curtains pulled, the caffeine on full blast, and I’d pace my apartment scribbling in notebooks and rattling away behind the keyboard. There’s no off switch for me, so writing a book is all consuming. The voices keep going, even after I’ve stepped away from the keyboard. 18 hours in, without sleep, and I’ll jump out of bed to write something on my computer or I’ll start writing it out in the notes app on my phone. People just take away from my routine, they interrupt the flow, which in turn makes me anxious. There are too many times when I’ll be out, at a function, away from my computer, just gritting my teeth, fists clenched, dying to get back into my routine…into my flow. It’s completely unhealthy.
I’d live like that every day and only see people on social media, if I had that option. BUT I don’t have that option. I got a dog to force me to go outside (wife’s idea). I have a support system that checks in on me. I talk to a therapist (everyone should have a therapist, in my opinion). Why? Because it’s not healthy to not have people in your life. It’s not healthy to not have real interaction. It’s not healthy to store away all the shit that’s bothering you. We weren’t meant to be alone. We evolved out of community. Our species flourished, not because we worked alone, but because we worked/conquered in packs.
So stop hiding behind filtered pictures and fluffed up Facebook statuses. Have some real, authentic communication today. Really talk to someone. And when they ask how you’re doing, be honest.
Isolation is overrated.