Connection in the Age of Social Media

Connection is a topic that I talk about frequently. It’s key in life, to feel connected. What does that mean?

I’ll start with a brief story. I bumped into my lovely friend Yollanda last month. we met through a business group years ago, and eventually saw each other regularly through a monthly salon for artists of all kinds. It was nice, spending time around poets, visual artists, musicians, etc in a lovely environment that included food and lot’s of laughter. Great connection. The salon went away for a while, and now, we see each other on social media. It’s a different kind of connection, or so people say.

Yollanda and I made a pact, an agreement that we would get together and break bread in person. We did just that. I got my tea together, I’m definitely the tea person, baked some gluten-free cornbread, and walked over to my visit with her.

To my surprise, I walked into her home to the smell of homemade chicken soup. Real soup! Plus some of her gluten-free cornbread.

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We of course ate some of my cornbread too.

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We chatted about the salon, life, and the gifts it brings. We mostly talked about connection, and how it seems lost now. We drank our tea and continued to chat.

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Yollanda asked if I wanted to visit a neighbor and continue our conversation upstairs. I said yes, and we went upstairs. On our way up we saw a very handsome gentleman and giggled like two girlfriends, flirting with the cute boy on the block.We arrived to our destination and a lovely gentleman greeted us with hugs. He fixed a lovely plate of cheese, crackers, and grapes. He then poured us all a delightful wine. It turns out that he’s a tea lover so I gifted him a small jar of tea, and he made me a cup of a delightful blend of black tea with sage. Yum!

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We all chatted and then it was time for me to pick up my son. I hugged my new acquaintance and Yollanda walked me downstairs. We hugged and promised we would do this again.

Connection, what’s connection to you? In this age where people spend a significant amount of time scrolling to see the next picture, the next story, the next, whatever. As we have progressed in this technology age, we as a society seemed to have pulled away from life connections.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to reconnect with those old friends you haven’t seen in years. How awesome is it to post a picture of your new baby, and/or latest accomplishment to people who may live too far away for regular check-ins. Social media has it’s positives.

Has it taken the place of real relationships is what I ask? I love to eat and I notice when I’m out, people spend more time taking pictures and posting them on social media, than taking with their meal companions. I’ve actually seen couples who look like they are on a date more engaged with their phones than each other.

My son’s school had a park playdate last year and as I was walking, I saw three girls under the age of 10, playing with their cell phones as they walked. We were in a park. When I was that age, of course we didn’t have cell phones, but when we went to the park, we played. We invented games, climbed trees, and if we were too old for the play structure, we played anyway. We sat and chatted.

The social media scroll serves it’s purpose. Does it really allow for genuine connection? When was the last time you called and talked to a friend, a relative? When was the last time you walked on a trail, with your cell tucked away? When was the last time you visited a friend, and talked about everything or nothing? When was the last time you personally shared a hug and laughter, rather than an emoji?

Real, genuine connection has tremendous value. We as humans are naturally social beings, even we introverted ones thrive with occasional connection as well. I feel like some important statistical quote belongs here and though I’m sure it exists, it will have to wait a few moments.

I’m not saying that social media doesn’t have it’s value. I’m just saying it’s time to stretch ourselves and connect in a different way. Call a friend, go on a walk, have a meal, together minus the phones.

Even though during those quiet times when you don’t feel like being bothered with other human beings, try connecting with a pet. I love my cats and they are the best company at times.

Last but not least, nature. I personally love nature and even 10 minutes with a tree, or on the beach adds to my own personal connection.

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I urge you to pull away from the scroll for a few moments today and connect in a different way. Friend, family, pet, spiritual practice, nature, a meal, whatever feeds your soul. I urge you to take a few moments to connect to something other than technology, and see how that makes you feel. Try it, you just may tap into something new that you love.

I pray this serves you well.

Blessings!
Tara

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