So many ways to communicate and such little communication.
Have you ever thought about how the tools we use to communicate may influence who we stay in contact with? And, who we keep up with on a regular basis?
Due to endless scrolling on social media there are times when I have known more about friends in Pennsylvania and Tennessee who I have never actually met in person than I do about my own neighbors and family.
What tools do you use to communication?
- Old fashioned telephone (land line)
- Smart phone
- Facebook / FB Messenger
- Twitter / Twitter DMs
- Whats App
- Instagram posts, stories, private messages
- Marco Polo
- Google Chat
- Others I have never heard of or don’t use: SnapChat, TikTok, Pinterest, etc…
There was a point in my life when one old friend who I had a complicated friendship with told me he doesn’t really use social media so if I wanted to talk with him I needed to call or email him. I responded with, “well that’s unfortunate because I don’t really use email or the phone…” Needless to say, we didn’t communicate for awhile.
Then there were the hay day years of Twitter when I was organizing and attending TweetUps. My Twitter friends and I knew everything about each other’s lives. If you want a minute to minute update on our lives go to Twitter and scroll back about 10-12 years. During that time I pretty much only communicated with my Twitter friends. One pre-Twitter friend told me she felt like she had lost me to Twitter. My family also grumbled. A few pre-Twitter friends joined Twitter and they are still in my life today. A few others were casualties of my social media addiction.
Fast forward to today, I am still connected to all those communication tools listed above, on a daily basis! I check them all at least once a day, sometimes hundreds of times a day. I run the social media accounts for the nonprofit organization I work with. The lines of business and personal are completely blurred. My colleagues and many of the thousands of educators I work with know they can find me everywhere! I do my best to respond to every one. Those that know me well know my personal email is the LAST place to find me. Sometimes weeks pass before I check that email.
Recently, I’ve started a morning routine where I don’t touch my phone or any screen for at least 1 hour after I wake up. During that hour I spend at least 10 minutes in silent meditation. This quiet time reminds me of certain people who I love very much that I have not communicated with in awhile.
I think social media gives us a false sense of connection. We may read a personal post someone writes, feel the emotions around what they shared, share their news with our spouse and friends and not even think or take the time to click LIKE on their post or to acknowledge what they said or what they are going through. You could feel totally connected to them and they may not know it and be feeling alone and thinking nobody cares. This is how social media can create a feeling of social isolation.
I don’t know what the answer is but I know a phrase I hear myself saying too often is, “I am exhausted!”
I am not yet ready to select just one form of communication and expect everyone to conform to that. I’ve seen what has happened to some of my friends who are not on social media. Many of them feel left out and forgotten.
What I am ready for is to stop mindlessly scrolling. Instead, I plan to be more mindful with whom I do spend my few precious moments with.
Ironically while I was writing this post, one of my old pre-social-media friends texted and asked me if I wanted to meet her for tea. I said yes and went right over to her backyard. We shared a wonderful, connecting conversation in her garden. It was a beautiful day.
What is your preferred communication tool?