organic matter in a pixelated universe
me staring into my computer screen like Narcissus
I took a break from Facebook for a week. It was liberating. I was much more focused. I unraveled myself from other people’s energy systems and let myself create, write, think, feel and breathe. It was very, very good. I also missed sharing things and some of the interaction I have.
Part of why I did this is because I’m busy and just don’t have as much time. It also bores me sometimes. I’d rather be exploring the world than reading about it online.
Another reason is I’ve noticed that social media, and technology in general, creates a lot of assumptions and other odd behaviors. I need to process this so here goes:
I like to blog. I like Facebook. I like Twitter (sometimes). I like the convenience of email and texting. Here are some problems I’ve run into. I wonder if others find this to be true:
1.) People assume they know everything about me because of what I post online.
2.) People lurk. A lot. When I see them at parties or socially, they will mention stuff they know about me from Facebook or my blog. They will act like we’re close when I know very little about them. (I don’t lurk but I ask questions in person.)
3.) People assume that I check email or text with as much frequency as they do and get offended or “concerned” when I haven’t responded.
4.) People can be passive/aggressive and will try to state things on Facebook that annoy them rather than be clear and upfront. Mostly this isn’t directed at me personally but I notice it. I find it confusing.
5.) People have begun to use social media and friendships in general as a way to promote their businesses and events to the degree that I feel like I’m at an Amway meeting sometimes. Note the word “use” here.
6.) People judge others based on what they see people post or “like” without knowing much more about a person. That’s like assuming character based on what book someone is reading on the bus. It’s ridiculous. (I’ve totally done this.)
7.) I see people talking…er..ranting actually about things that make them feel powerless. While I understand why this happens, that energy is so draining. It’s also not helping. I’ve been asking myself, “How else can my time be spent?” instead of just hanging out waiting for the world to change as I watch it flip by on the FB newsfeed.
8.) Social media and technology seem to be a way for people to avoid human contact and sometimes conflict. Text messaging is a nice way to make some plans or say hi. It’s really not the best place to say, “I’m sorry” or talk about your feelings. Things go awry.
9.) I like to get attention. It’s why I perform. I like to give attention. I notice that others like attention too. How much is too much though? Lately, when I begin to feel a compulsion to post something on Facebook, I stop and myself about my intention. If the intention is attention, I have been looking at the deeper unmet need.
10.) People have begun to really, really isolate themselves. I don’t care as much about what you ate for breakfast or, quite frankly, your political views, as I do the look in your eyes when we see each other. Do we SEE each other? Lonely, introverted people are using social media as a way to make contact but it doesn’t seem to be working. People still seem so lonely to me and terribly sad. Real hugs are so much nicer than the word HUG on a screen. In fact, I wrote a play about this. (Yes, it’s based on a real life relationship.)
I’m not saying it’s all bad. There’s a lot to like but here’s why I ask questions and why all of this matters.
“Unless we expand our inner learning to match our technological learning, we are likely to exercise our magnified power unwisely, to the detriment of both man and nature…Our concsiousness must evolve if we are to become aware enough to flow with, rather than against, the gentle imperative of the Tao. Thus, the evolution of our consciousness (and supportive social forms) is not a peripheral concern; rather, it is of central important to the successful realization of our human agenda.” Elgin in Consciousness and Creativity (Staude, 1977)
What do you think? Is technology hard or confusing to you? Does it affect your relationships? Do you just roll with it and not give it any thought? Do you think about leaving for any reason(s)? I’m curious.