Friday, August 16, 2013

Loneliness & Social Media

So I was sitting here on Monday scratching my head for a new blog post to share with the world & it kinda fell in my lap via my son.  He has recently joined the blogging fray--he writes about his religious views or rather, his lack of religion.  Which is ok--we are not a religious family by any stretch of the imagination but I would say that we ascribe to a "culturally Jewish" mindset & I think my son would agree with that statement.  But his blog or his religious views are not the point of this post but rather a video that he posted on his blog.  If any are interested here is a link to his blog:

Anyway, my son posted this video from vimeo regarding the new "loneliness" that has been brought about by all of our electronics & social media addictions. Here is a link:
To some degree I agree with the video but I also dissent.  I happen to love social media & utilize it readily--blogging anyone?  I have found that while yes, 320 of my nearest & dearest are my friends on facebook, it doesn't stop me from having real social interactions with those who count the most (I just insulted half of my friends on FB).  In some ways I feel that social media enhances my relationships. For example, if I posted some beach pics from instagram on facebook, checked in on foursquare at Surf Bagel, etc., invariably when I see a friend they say something like, "I saw your vacay pics on facebook & it looks like you guys had a good time.  I've been meaning to go to Surf Bagel when I'm in Lewes. Is it really that good?"  (btw, Surf Bagel really IS that good) So, a lot of times my posts help create a face-to-face conversation. Additionally, social media has brought me back in touch with some folk that I haven't seen in years--just recently a visit from one of my college friends from Michigan--inspiring a real conversation & interaction. We went to Boordy Vineyards to enjoy a wine tasting of great Maryland Wines, & yeah, I checked in on foursquare, & took a pic for instagram, but again, without my electronics, all of that may not have happened. And, truth be told, I tend to use facebook as picture storage & organization--it is a great place to put pictures & they are organized in a handy-dandy timeline!  Honestly, like everything else, I feel there is a middle ground.  

Very good points are to be made in the video.  Sometimes, during the course of our vacation at the beach, I would look around & EVERYONE was on some sort of electronic device.  People may have been sitting next to one another on the couch, but each person was in their own little world: I was watching old Merry Melodies on my ipad, my kid was playing a video game on his laptop across from me, his best friend was reading a book on his kindle, & one of my stepdaughters was watching netflix on her iphone.  It didn't happen often, & at one point all 10 of us crammed around the cocktail table in the living room to play Cards Against Humanity--very interactive, as well as Snorta!, & Cranium, so it wasn't ALL I said--a happy medium.  

One final thought--as the video points out, texts, tweets, emails, blog posts, etc., can most definitely be edited before posting them while a real conversation cannot.  I think that online dating suffers from this phenomenon. (Yup, gotta bring this back to the overarching theme of this blog) Your online profile is not the real you & while I think online dating has helped so many people connect that probably would not have, I am very happy that Xing Fu & I actually connected the old fashioned way--he knew the real me & not some hyped up profile of what I wanted others to believe was me.  My advice to online daters is this: Be wary of the profiles that you see--don't allow ongoing back & forth emails, insist on having that real conversation in person very quickly--it really is like meeting someone in a bar for the first time--you never emailed or texted for hours before you met that dude at the grocery store--it was a totally random occurrence. If the guy is willing to meet you very soon after a few emails or a phone conversation at a Starbucks for a "mini-date", then that is a good thing.  Do it!  I did a lot of that for my 50 first dates.  I recently read that what I encountered as an online dater is not as rare as had I thought--many people have 1 or 2 first dates & move on--social media & online dating sites can eventually help you to find the right guy. But don't allow the search or the long drawn out online courtship that eventually goes nowhere create the loneliness & isolation that the video discusses.  Go out & live! I'm also very interested in what others think of the video--comments please!

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