With social media in blogs, twitter tweets and facebook sharing, we can be closer with one another than ever dreamt before.
Or are all these streams of emails, twitter feeds, blogging or facebook sharing just distracts us from real face-to-face relationships in our lives? Sherry Turkle an academic and psychologist pleads her case in a 2012 TED talk, Connected, But Alone? that social media can create a barrier for some folks as means to avoid the messiness of human face to face communication.
Instead emails and social media, allows us to craft and edit our personae for the world. We can mull over and edit our virtual response. I urge you to watch her talk…it’s a compelling case of overdose on social media if one neglects face to face communication and indeed, nurturing our deepest relationships with family and loved ones. If nothing else, we have all experienced work meetings or classroom instruction, where some people are paying attention to their iPhone email but not the speaker for a full hour.
Social Media on Steroids Can Change Us
She cautions us relying on social media as your primary personal human communication. It can dullen your human capacity to develop patience and emotional intelligence in real conversations at the table, with people who may not always agree with you.
When confronted with a person sitting across the table (without any iPhone to distract you), you learn how to respond to the person fully without editing or having the luxury of time to craft a measured response. After all, reaching an agreement can take awhile, sometimes years.
Revealing Internet Vulnerability- Helps Whom?
A few months ago, wordpress.com offered a post to blogosphere that asked bloggers what their scariest blog post that they published that made them feel vulnerable. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/scariest-post-ever-published/
Uplifting, Mockery or Harrassment
I have mixed feelings about the whole business of revealing all sorts of personal stuff to the anonymous Internet. It’s like throwing a bucket of mixed up paint and pain out to the wide dark universe over the cliff. I adamantly support that writing is an empowering step towards greater self-truth and understanding, by first articulating the messiness of emotion, observation and
events. However the truth that I value so strong and true, could be someone else’s needle and mockery. So on the Internet and in social media, you must be prepared for that.
My harmless blog post on how a cycling lifestyle is a feminist expression for women cyclists, garnered several hundred views and virtual shares.
Negative responses were from some guy readers who seemed to make snarky remarks in English or foreign language. The latter I inferred this from their exclamation remarks. Their gravater or blog, were strange dark clouds of negative vibes.
Unpleasant cyber-bullying, harassment and mass crowd-shaming, spiral in a murky tsunami, because the virtual herd who’s taunting away, has no relationship accountability to their target victim. Absolutely none. Sometimes resulting in tragic consequences.
Can all this social media communication be humanizing? Sure it can be. A tweet has caught a criminal on camera (which helped the victim for a hit-run car driver), the photo smile of faraway favourite grandchild or a bouquet of gratitude for a backstage player in a production.
Happy Flights of Blogger-Bumblebees
I’m happy with light, pleasant interactions with other fellow bloggers and readers. Those who visit and comment here often on Cycle Write Blog, are genuine folks. They flit in and out of my blog, my life –like bumblebees in a garden.
I too, buzz over and hover briefly in their blog-garden. But how is that deeply meaningful vs. my partner, closest face-to-face friends and family? It’s one-sided and I’m in control. I’ve chosen to write on those blog topics and show photos, not what my family nor closest friends chose (not that I’ve shown any inappropriate stuff). That’s the rub.
So the choice of topics, I’ve cherry-picked to blog-write, gives a small glimpse of me without too much personal messiness. I’m afraid I have to write a whole book for you to understand my life story. At this time, it’s good enough for me that my family and closest friends know the fuller story.
No doubt, some people who live in isolated areas, are very shy or have very difficult or constrained personal situations, draw some positive human sustenance from blog visitors. I appreciate that. But they too, yearn for in-person humanity of a real, trusted friend or two, by their side to listen them, cry, laugh and grow with them.
Some Reading- Both Limitations and Benefits of Social Media
Mollman, Steve. A Photographer Edits Out Our Smartphones to Show Our Strange and Lonely New World. In The Quartz. Oct. 14, 2015.
Todd, Douglas. When Public Shaming Turns Dangerous. In Vancouver Sun, Aug. 3, 2015.
This deaf writer and blogger mentions the importance of online written participation via Facebook, Internet forums with other writers since attending regular writers’ conferences for hearing attendees posed some barriers for her to participate in discussion, etc.
Social media can be used effectively to mobilize many people for positive, non-violent protest as shown in the protest movement for Black Lives Matter, after Traynor Martin, an American black young man was shot to death.