Musings: A Little Less (Digital) Conversation


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Sometimes I feel like we no longer exist like we used to — in flesh and bone.

Our warm, soft faces have morphed into the cold, digital squares of filtered pictures on Instagram, the stories of our lives reduced to the one-liners and emoticons on a status update on Facebook or Twitter.

We live spectacular and wide-eyed on cameras, ‘platforms’ and social networks — but our eyes glaze over in real life, reflecting the glare of our phone and computer screens. Dead men walking.

Honestly, I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to succumbing to the lure of online networks and social media sometimes. The validation is comforting. It tells us “we exist!” and “we matter!” But the irony is, the reason we’re losing ourselves is because we’re so busy seeking approval we’ve stopped actually living.

We’ve fashioned ways to live larger than life for all the world to see, but feel smaller about ourselves in endless social comparison. The popularity of the ‘selfie’ illustrates perfectly how much we’ve turned our lenses away from the wonders of the outside world to being preoccupied with the swollen, distorted reflections on our mobile mirrors.

It’s easy to see social media as the enemy, something external, when really, we are the perpetrators. We’re solely responsible for killing the very meaning of what it means to be present with someone, to truly savour a moment, to live not perform.

We lose our ability to listen as carefully as we used to, we’re more easily distracted by the bing! of the message alerts on our phones, and find it difficult to hold anyone’s attention for a long time. Are we becoming less interesting? Or less interested in others? My hunch is it might be both.

It’s worrying, but all hope is not lost. For those of us who long to experience the beauty of real, warm conversations again, all we have to do is be the kind of person worth having a conversation with. That could mean being great listeners, being completely present, being genuinely interested and positive, etc. It all starts with the individual. One beautiful conversation at a time.

I’m done typing. Let’s talk.

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6 thoughts on “Musings: A Little Less (Digital) Conversation

  1. A study found most people leave Facebook more depressed than when they logged on. I’m internet phobic! I don’t feel more connected, I feel anxious by the way people treat each other, I joke cyberspace is a bad neighborhood. Being chronically ill with Lyme disease and multiple chemical sensitivity and thus in solitary confinement, it seems like the Internet would open the world for me. But it’s fake. At best it makes me grieve what i lost, travel, food, sex, ACTION, outdoors, etc. At its worst as my only contact with humans it causes me to become misanthropic, very frightened and defensive. What it does most though is cause me to miss TALKING and HANGING OUT. Basic things. But oddly even people well enough to have human contact miss TALKING and HANGING OUT. people are so much much more lonely. I miss eyes. Seeing someone’s eyes. I can’t have an animal companion anymore so I see no eyes, there’s no nonwritten communication. I miss sensory experience beyond sight/reading. I wonder if we’ll lose peripheral and long distance vision LOL (kinda). So I’m really happy you wrote this. If you the photographer of the food, you’re very good! I can only eat 5 things now due to Lyme disease, but your photos made me feel like I was there with you! That’s cool. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hi Heather, thank you for stopping by. It’s wonderful to hear your thoughts. I’m sorry to hear about the things you miss that we all take for granted because of your condition, but know that you’re not alone in feeling the way you do and I’m really glad we see eye-to-eye on these things even halfway across the world. (: your friend, Angela.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s easy to see social media as the enemy, something external, when really, we are the perpetrators. We’re solely responsible for killing the very meaning of what it means to be present with someone, to truly savour a moment, to live not perform. –> TRUTH.

    Like

  3. Perhaps the saddest aspect of social media is the refuge of anonymity some people hid behind from which they practice bad manners. Unfortunately, it too often goes way beyond bad manners and far too often enters the realm of mean and nasty behavior. The things people are willing to say face-to-face remain far more civil and respectful than much of the online ‘conversation’ where people too easily cast ASCII weapons of mass destruction, leaving behind a scorched digital landscape, feeling smug and satisfied, without consideration of the consequences of thoughtless and hateful words.

    Like

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