Okay y’all, hang onto your seats for my rant on social media/technology and how it is quite literally killing our human connection.
Let me start with a personal story that has prompted this blog… I will make it as short as I can.
Three weeks ago, while visiting my family in CO, I was sitting at my mom’s kitchen table overlooking Mount Sopris. It hit me then, that people like to see things. We are visual creatures who create dreams, memories and realities based on the experiences our eyes take in. With this thought, I decided that day to change my email newsletter to pictures of what was inside. Rather than flooding your inbox with words upon words that most likely get skipped over, it is now more of a “pick what you want to read” newsletter, with images linked to different topics (Jenesis Fitness, The WILD Women, my blog, recipes, exercises, etc).
This last Wednesday, 2.5 weeks later, I finally finished what I had started weeks prior. With excitement and anticipation of how you all would like it, I hit send.
Not even 3 minutes later I got an email and a text from a “friend” in the online fitness world that I have truly admired. She was accusing me of copying her newsletter layout she had sent the previous week. Stunned and not knowing what she was talking about, I immediately called her on the phone to have a conversation. Texts and emails are read the way they want to be heard, so this was a time for a phone call. She didn’t pick up, so I left a voicemail. I then received a text saying that she didn’t have “time or energy” to deal with this. The floodgates opened and tears started pouring. How could she say the mean things she said in her original text message, but not have the “time or energy” to talk about it?
With no ability to actually speak with her, I did what I hated to do and sent her a text trying to explain this coincidence. A few passive aggressive text messages later with a contradictory “nothing but love” signature, she unfollowed my newsletter and radio silence on the phone front.
I was in tears… granted I am terribly emotional with the unfathomable things that are going on in our life right now. But this just seemed like teenage girl bullshit to me. If you don’t have “time or energy” to discuss a conflict that you brought up, then DO NOT start the conversation. But more importantly DO NOT start the conversation via texting.
Sooo… that’s the story in a nutshell. I know it sounds so childish and petty, because IT IS. But it also hit my heart like a ton of bricks. I don’t have the emotional strength to handle this right now. I have cried multiple times and my heart hurts knowing that someone could be so cold. Someone that I admired. With no time to have a conversation, she still had time to send texts and was incredibly active on social media all day. Benefit of the doubt, it is a HUGE part of her job to be active on social media, but really?
It was then that I realized that social media is literally taking away any human connection we have. I mean I have known it and studies show it, but this time I felt it. We are more wrapped up in how many “likes” or “friends” we have, than concerned about how our actions make others feel. Our heads are buried too deep in our scrolling frenzy to realize what is actually happening in the world around us.
I say “we” and “our” because I have been guilty of it too. We all have. Don’t deny it. But, after this interaction with someone that I thought was a real friend… someone that wouldn’t take the time away from her busy schedule to listen… someone that hid behind her typed words… someone that is an entirely different person than she portrays herself to be on social media. I am done with it. I am calling people out, including myself. I am done with the facades. I am done with people hiding behind their screens. I am done with people not having “time or energy”. Speaking of… the time and energy that is sucked away from our lives on a daily basis with social media is terrifying. The human connection is being lost and I am going to try my damndest to not let it happen to me.
I am not getting rid of social media and texting (although I want to). It is a part of my work as well. When used with some sense of control, it also can be a great tool for staying in touch, educating and even inspiring others. But I am making a pact to you all today to use it for my work and to use it sparingly.
On a positive note, today before writing this lengthy blog, I called four of my good friends. I try to do that every Sunday anyways. Usually, it goes straight to voicemail. But today, all four people picked up and we had great conversations. A bit of my faith in human connection was restored. So, all hope is not lost, we just have to be more aware of being humans and not robots.