Social media has become the largest and most popular way for friends and family to keep in contact with one another. It has even been viewed as a godsend to those who have loved ones who are miles away, helping them to stay connected. Even so, I wonder how many people have allowed electronic communication through Facebook, Twitter, and even email and text messaging to fully replace authentic one-on-one connections; thinking of it as being the same thing.
I did not realize that this was something that I had been doing myself until recently. A dear friend of mine who I communicate with very regularly on Facebook told me about an event that they were hosting in the area and suggested that I attend. It was not until that moment that we both realized that we had not seen each other in-person in well over five years.
That experience made it occur to me how heavily I rely on social media and other means of electronic communication to maintain the bulk of my relationships—and not just the ones where the other person lives in another state. I was guilty of doing it with everyone—even those who lived in the same city as I do.
Shame on me!!
Social media should serve as a means of supplementing personal communication—not totally replacing it.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful way to keep in touch, but when we neglect to spend quality, face-to-face time with the people we care about we allow the personal connection to lose its spark and can also miss the opportunity to discover what the other person may really be experiencing in their lives. True, their Facebook statues or latest tweets may imply that all is well, and their profile photos may display a smiling face, but keep in mind that people can type anything—the reality may be that they are going through something that may be much too troubling to mention on the internet.
Trust me when I say that I know more than anyone how hectic life can get sometimes, but never get so busy or so entranced with the convenience and speed of electronic communication that you forget to spend real time with the people that you treasure most. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant—grab a quick bite to eat or a cup of coffee. Make plans to meet up at an event or even schedule a visit to their home. They may be having a rough time or even depressed, and your smile and personal comfort may be just what they need to inspire them to feel better. But if you simply remain on the other side of the screen of your device, you will never know. And if you are experiencing something troubling yourself, it can help you, too.
I would like to challenge you to take one day this month and dedicate it to connecting in-person with at least two friends or family members that you have been communicating with solely through social media. Then make a commitment that you will do the same the following month, and every month hereafter, each time choosing two different people than before. You will soon discover how much you have been missing via the web.
Let’s dedicate ourselves to reigniting the torch of the personal connection and making it an eternal flame.
Do you find that you spend more time connecting with friends and family through electronic communication than in-person? What ways do you plan to reignite the personal connection in your life? Share with me below or tell me about it at: email@example.com.