It's Not Real Connection: On Social Media

The power of perception is immeasurable. It has everything to do with anything and this is especially true when so many of us are not only present and active on social media but are also forming relationships solely based on the interactions we have with certain people in direct messages, emails and texting apps.

I have deactivated and reactivated my public Twitter account so many times over this summer. I get completely overwhelmed by the noise, the personas, the anger-- it makes my anxiety become even harder to deal with. But I keep reactivating because I think that it's a place I need in order to fully express my creativity & other thoughts that mostly have to be swallowed during my pretty crazy days as a mother of 4. But, when you think about it-- it's completely stupid. It's a mind control program, obviously. I can PAINT. I can do what I'm doing right now and WRITE something more than a quick tweet. I can work on longer works of writing, like the movie script, 5 novels, 1 memoir, 2 poetry books and other random essays that are sitting on my computer UNFINISHED.

When I step away and get a moment of clarity, I realize that social media, especially Twitter, is actually KEEPING ME from expressing myself and my creative energy. It's a hindrance. A distraction. And it's even emotionally draining me. It is quite literally an energy suck. Which makes me think of tentacles and being drained of my literal life force. (Dramatic, I know. But it's what comes to me and I know there is a reason!)

Whenever I begin to think about social media, I always find myself returning to The Innovation of Loneliness (below). It's a video I stumbled upon during my Blogger days (Blogger was an early 2000's blogging platform powered by Google that was SO AWESOME for those of you not familiar). To summarize, the video explains social dynamics and how the invention of social media has created a more connected, yet highly disconnected generation of people, who, despite having hundreds of "friends" have never felt lonelier.

Intimacy is not gained over a digital platform or through having a 'following' because regardless of how instantaneous a connection is-- true connection is built over time through shared experiences and love. As much as the web has allowed us to come together with people we wouldn't have met otherwise (note: I have formed true, lasting friendships with people I have met through online communities, I see value in these tools BUT!!!) we have to recognize that we aren't fully seeing the entirety of anyone if we only interact with them online. We are getting a curated image and we are sending one out ourselves, regardless of our intentions. We aren't seeing gestures, or facial expressions-- we are unable to feel the energy that pulsates in the atmosphere when physical bodies share a space. These small nuances make a huge difference in the authenticity of an interaction and the building of true, sustaining intimate relationship.

On the other hand, when it's easy to edit and curate an image, it's also even easier to misread or misunderstand one another. We've all been there-- that moment of disillusionment when you feel your words or actions have been misinterpreted. It's not a fun feeling. You experience anxiety, panic, anger, frustration; the list goes on and on. Almost instantly, we feel threatened and want to "defend" ourselves when really we should take a moment, put the gadget down and pull back our energy.

Calling in space during these moments of miscommunication is not only important, it is absolutely crucial. It is in the allowance of space that we are able to sort out whether whatever transpired was a minor infraction, something that possibly got lost in translation because the energy just wasn't right or if there were more malicious energies at play. We need space to hear and think and feel into what actually transpired in order to be certain of our perception. It's not always easy to know right away because we naturally want to protect ourselves, which means, it is hard to see ourselves in the moment as anyone but the person in the right.

Twitter is a BREEDING ground for this. I see people fighting, claiming to be THE TRUTH, arguing semantics, sharing misinformation, sometimes even just straight up lying constantly. And, if any of us had any true community, we wouldn't be online mindlessly typing into the void. And yet, Twitter, and the mirage of online communities, keep us from actually going out into the world and anchoring physical communities. Do you see the circle of madness? Do you see what an emotional DRAIN this can be? Can you see the tentacle siphoning your energy?

So, when I consider all of this + my innate experience as a creator and a mother: it's like, why the hell am I exposing myself to platforms that really aren't doing anything for me? I'm completely reevaluating the way I am engaging others and what I am making publicly available. I want to FINISH my projects. I want to be fully present to the amazing people in my life. I want to anchor REAL, tangible communities-- I want to share Amish friendship bread and coffee and I want to go on walks and look people IN THE EYES and truly intimately connect. I don't want to be a quick meal for the social media machine. I don't want a quick fix. I don't want anything artificial.

I want the real and the raw and the powerful human experience that I came here for.

I'll be coming back to this topic as the words come to me. I know there is a lot more to say and explore. But, for now? I'm going to go spend time with my kids and get some fresh air. This is enough for now.


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