Right now, as I write this, I’m down at my local coffee shop.
On my own.
The coffee has come out accompanied with a napkin. Written upon this napkin are the words…
“Typing LOL isn’t nearly as good as hearing a friend laugh out loud.”
As I look around at the tables around me, I wonder if we’ve lost the art of being social.
At a table with two adults and three kids, the kids are playing with individual tablets. At another table two women are talking over their coffee, while the two men at the same table are reading newspapers. At yet another table, two men sit, both engrossed, individually, on their phones. But all is not lost. I count seven tables where their occupants are actually engaged and conversing with each other. And yes, the irony is not lost that I make these observations, alone at a table…writing.
It makes me think on social interaction verses social media.
Social media is great as a communication tool between friends who live in a different town or country – when you can work out different time zones that is. These are not friends you can easily arrange a visit with.
Social media has convenience. I see that ‘Elizabeth’ is online so I shoot her a quick message. But social media is also hit and miss; a lot of scrolling the feed on the off chance that someone you want to communicate with, has posted something informative about their life. In my experience, I find mostly misses. I continue to scroll in hope, but it can easily become depressing. It’s not satisfying and certainly not fulfilling.
Social interaction on the other hand is fulfilling. Spending time with someone you want to spend time with. Conversation, facial expression, tone of voice. But I think of all the times I say to someone ‘yes, we must catch up’ only to realise that six months have passed and we still haven’t caught up.
You can’t just say ‘must catch up’, or at least I can’t, you have to actually do something about it.
I find that the only way for me to catch up with someone is to book it into my schedule. At the moment I say ‘must catch up’ I have to work out a time and place with them, then and there. Otherwise it doesn’t happen. Social interaction takes more effort, more involvement, and more longevity. You can’t just post LOL and move on. But I think, that might be why it offers more fulfilment.
There’s no great epiphany to this blog post. Just an observation…and I wonder what your thoughts on the topic are.