In a digital and virtual world in which we are connected to individuals all over the globe on a 24/7 basis , wherever we are, it appears we are more disconnected with life than ever.
Those that follow my various social media threads will know that connection and reconnection have been weighing on my mind recently. Initially it was a self interest in which I noticed that we spent many hours connected to machines which connected us to others, but that sharing of personal connections did not seem to be apparent. Everything was taking place in the virtual world – to the extent where whole families ( mine included ) could be sitting in the same room , with the TV on and all on different devices having 10 different conversations – but none were with the people they were actually sharing space and air with.
Conversations take place in bite size chunks whether on text or whether totally condensed by the rules of the virtual world, in which you can only share 140 characters in which to have your say, or send an image or thought only for it to be deleted from existence a matter of moments later. We are sharing more and more of our lives – and yet it is a filtered life where we filter not only the information to show ,mainly the best bits of our fabulous lives but also the actual image – the food needs to be at the right angle, the selfie the right tone , the body shape altered to appeal to the masses.
We walk along the street with headphones in having conversations with invisible people or we scroll through page after page of someone else’s news… but what is happening around us?
I also noticed that direct communication is filtering out. In a recent post ( and yes I am a frequent poster on numerous sites so I aim these thoughts at myself also as a good therapist should) I spoke of no longer phoning someone. The invention and wonder of the landline was so short lived. Could those people only 30 years ago even imagine we had grown bored of the phone in the house? When being able to phone your friends was a luxury and a thing to be treasured, when everyone would rush to answer the phone eager to see who was connecting and when you sat on the stairs -because for those younger readers – phones had cords and normally had to be wired into the hallway near the door – you stretched the cord and you chatted with your friends until someone shouted about the bill. Now we worry we will disturb and so we text first and often the text will do- no need now to talk and chat. Actually ringing someone seems so invasive and for my children’s generation it seems almost bizarre and scary that you would ring some one and wait for a real person to speak.
Even when ordering coffee and food people are speaking but looking into their phones.
It made me think about the way we interact in the virtual world – the way it is OK for many people to be so angry , so hurtful , so cruel in their comments regarding matters and people which have no impact on them and they have no reason to be so offensive over. Yes it could be said it is easy to hide behind the virtual world but could we also be losing touch of the fact that there is a real person behind that profile who has feelings? Could it be because we share so much and have so much insight into another’s life we feel we have a right to make such personal comments and there is no consequence in this celebrity driven universe we inhabit? Perhaps made even harder to keep in context when many have avatars to represent them bearing no resemblance to a real person.
This curiosity became more a focused item when only recently a very dear friend of mine passed away suddenly. As is the way in this modern world the news was filtered through a friend of a friends social media post – to which my daughter woke up to just hours after the event…. the insight into someone else’s world which we have come to accept as normal highlighted the often forgotten impact of news on others outside of the virtual world bubble. Ironically we had lost touch because she was one of my few friends that I actually needed to speak to in person and call – she did not really text and she had no on line life in which we shared.. I had more actual connection in that friendship than in many others and I realise now how much that will be missed.
And so I will be launching soon my reconnection project in which you are encouraged to connect with those around you and yourself , to come out of the online world and take notice of the what is happening within the reality space. To look to make connections with real people and to spend time connecting back with the real you.
My thoughts today are not meant to be saying it is all bad- social media keeps us in touch with people we would struggle to do so with – I have friends in other countries and I enjoy seeing all my virtual world news updates and pictures and of course my business is reliant in many ways on these media outlets .. I just want to highlight that there is a world out there , a real world with real people .. look up and reconnect with each other and see how amazing it can be.