Over time, the focus of our interactions with each other has slowly moved from genuine connections that we make with each other in person, face-to-face, to connecting via social media. Social media has many awesome benefits like allowing us to communicate instantly and across great distances. However, some of the other effects are less than desirable – and can downright ruin our lives.
In recent years, we’ve started replacing something we really shouldn’t be so quick to lose like in-person connections with virtual reality.
To be honest, social media is detrimental when it comes to making human connections. One of the unintended consequences of prolific social media use is the fact that it has become a way for us to get instant reactions to the highs and lows of our lives. We used to crave meeting in person—seeing eyes light up when we share good news or watching eyes roll when we share something so completely cringeworthy— now we get reactions or likes on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the plethora of other websites and apps. On the surface, this seems amazing that our civilization has reached this point, but the unintended consequence is that many of us have become addicted to getting outside approval and reactions.
We are trading actual, genuine, in-person reactions for the quick endorphin rush of receiving a ton of likes all at once on the internet. The sad thing is we don’t even realize that this is becoming a major source of our loneliness and even depression for some. The younger generation may not even realize that part of the connection they’re craving is being in the presence of real people – friends and family and interacting with them without screens separating us. We are lonelier and more depressed than ever, and it’s a wonder why situation. How many people actually know the real ‘us’ anymore, wounds and all?
Social media has allowed us to curate the moments of our lives to be seen in the light and from the perspective that we want. We can only present the good things and gloss over the bad with the swipe of a finger or a simple tap. We wonder then when an actual issue comes up, and we tell people, and they still don’t seem to ‘get’ it. It’s maddening. There is such a simple solution to the problem.
We need to put down the screens.
Close the laptops.
Shut off the tablets.
Turn the phones face down.
Let the battery run down.
Make eye contact with the people around us.
Imagine THAT… a world in which we have a real, human-to-human connection.
Exposure is what we crave, but we are giving ourselves the wrong kind. We miss being in the company of each other. Humans, by nature, are social beings, and we love to be in groups and share those times. The sure-fire fix is to put down the screens and have a conversation with someone who is sharing our physical space – as often as possible. It will make a world of difference if we can live in the real world around us, rather than spending so much time in the virtual one we’ve created that allows us to hide away from each other (and even ourselves).