Thoughts about Social Media

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like) is a double edged sword. On one hand, we can have a chance to easily connect with others virtually, but on the other hand, many of our relationships can become superficial.

Are we becoming too impersonal by communicating via our electronic devices too much?

I have read several blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates on this very topic, and I have mixed feelings about the use of the different social media forums.

I do feel that we can’t—nor should we want to—go back to the times before social media became a considerable part of our lives. For many of us, it is the primary way to stay connected with faraway family and friends, and it is a useful way of obtaining information and personal recommendations. But… there is such a thing as too much virtual connection, and many of us who use social media on a daily basis recognize that. It’s nice to unplug completely, whether for one day or for forty days, like my friend Glennon (aka Momestary) and others have done.

I believe that as with everything in life, moderation is the key. But two very recent events prompted me to really appreciate the existence of Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a weekend trip to visit family in NYC, and immediately after I posted a check-in at Times Square, my wonderful friend of over twenty years who has been living in Atlanta sent me a text message that she was only two blocks away! Because of social networking, we had experienced the unexpected and amazing gift of face-to-face time together.

The other event was not nearly as fun. My older son accidentally sliced off the top of his finger on Monday evening with a sharp pair of scissors. Blood splashed everywhere, and we were scrambling to get him to the nearest ER. I put a quick post up on Facebook asking if anyone I know was working at Loudoun Hospital that night. Sure enough, one of my wonderful students, Michelle, made sure that the doctors and nurses took excellent care of Danny. They even changed the channel on TV for him to watch Shark Week while he got his seventeen stitches!

I believe that we are inherently social beings, and even though social media can allow us to cultivate closer relationships with each other, it can’t replace real face-to-face contact.