It’s so easy to lose our way and who we are through the so-called “miracle of technology”. Perhaps it’s because I spend so much time alone writing, but it seems to me that we create this bubble for ourselves which is a soapy mixture of apps like Facebook, Linked in Twitter and/or Instagram and texting.
It isn’t long before this comfort zone of connection turns into the yardstick for how effective we are as we move through our lives.
How many “likes” did I get? How many shares, retweets? How many “friends” do I have? Does anybody read my stuff? Listen to my music? Does anybody really give a shit? Or have these things become no more than a never ending discussion of who’s on first? And why wouldn’t they?
You may go through this life with cell phone or iPad always within an arm’s length, feeling as though you’re connected in some small way. Then one day someone comes through, unknown and unwanted who pops your little bubble and it occurs to you, this isn’t real! Not really.
Sharing a cup of coffee, tea or having a cocktail is real. Going to lunch, chatting on the phone, having dinner, going to a movie together. THAT’S REAL! The rest is no more than either a remembered, long lost connection, or the promise of one that likely won’t come to pass. Why? Because we are all content to subsist by connecting primarily through our various apps and digital devices.
Today I got a text from a total stranger in Texas who was quote persistent in telling me how he wanted to meet me. I have no idea who he is or how he got my number. He was not forthcoming with any of that information. I declined, not having a clue who he was and fearing that he may have found my number through my website. That did not discourage him, so I blocked him.
That’s when it occurred to me that there is wealth of information out there about me because of my attempts to build an online presence for professional reasons.
Most of us have two personas. Our tech persona (the one seen only through texts or online correspondence) and our real persona. The former being like the Cliff Notes version of ourselves, which (much like Cliff notes) require a level of discussion and an exchange of ideas to have a fuller understanding of the subject.
How has it come to this? It’s absurd. Not to mention the maintenance of it all! Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation, LinkedIn and Instagram just to name a few. Instead of actually interacting, it often becomes more about keeping score.
It’s not enough for me. It took some weirdo to make me realize, there must be a better way. I hope I find it. You can bet I won’t be looking for it online.
Just a suggestion. Instead of writing to a Facebook friend, pick up the phone and call them. It (no doubt) may be slightly awkward at first, particularly if you haven’t actually spoken in years. When I’ve had the chance to do this, I’ve been surprised to find myself incredibly shy at even the notion of it.
You may quietly ask yourself “What do I really have in common with this person other than our past etc.?” In truth, you won’t know unless you take the leap. But if there’s a connection, you’ll know. It might even be wonderful!
I had a FB friend from my University who I hadn’t seen in decades. We were never very close as students, but became FB friends. As time went on we discovered that while we have very different personalities (she’s far more demure than myself) we had a great deal in common in terms of our perspectives about life etc.
It blew me away when she decided to travel 6 hours to come to my CD Release party. I was tickled, but nervous as well. What if its awkward?
As it turns out she was a huge support at a time when I needed it and she ended up staying at my place for several days after checking out of her hotel. We had a blast staying up until all hours laughing and catching up on our respective life stories of the past 30 + years. We’ve become the best of pals talking regularly ever since. I believe my life is all the richer for it.
My point? I want more than just a goofy cyber-connection worth people. I’m going to give it a shot. If I fail? God knows there are new apps popping up everyday all designed to “make life easier”.
P.S. This is dedicated to my buddy, Beth