Got a call from my mom and girlfriend today. We just talked about a few things, I won’t go into details, but the important thing is that they called. It’s wonderful to hear their voices and get to have a meaningful conversation with them, which I think is lost a lot these days.
I’ve highlighted my woes towards technology in my Christmas Blogs, but just so I don’t sound like too much of a backwards “Puritan”, let me say that all technology is not inherently evil. I write a lot, and not just my blogs, and if it weren’t for the Internet I would have never discovered Avatar, Warhammer 40K or many other things I have grown to like. I think my life has improved from these things, and it has certainly helped my creativity.
That being said, all the Element Bending and Super Soldiers in the world cannot replace interactions with real, physical people. I might be introverted at times, but I enjoy talking to people and getting to know them. And there is quite a lot that can be learned just by listening to someone talk; you can learn their emotional makeup, their verbal tics and personality just through their voice and the conversation you have with them.
It’s a lot harder to learn anything through social media.
As a writer I’m good as channeling character emotions through conversation and dialogue, but when I’m speaking to someone on Facebook or texting I cannot make motions to emphasize my words or change the inflections of my voice to hint at worry or sarcasm. For people who know me well it’s easier, but suppose it was someone I didn’t know? How would they know when I’m just joking or when I’m being serious? The answer is, most often they don’t, and thus I have a very good chance at offending someone when I try to be funny or sympathetic. And that’s terrible… Superman references aside, it really is. How many friendships were wrecked because someone tried to break up with someone else over Facebook or text?
Also, one of the biggest problems of social media is that you have to spend a lot of time staring at a screen. I’ve already displayed my distaste for people spending too much time on their electronic devices and not enough time talking, so I won’t repeat my rant, but it’s still a relevant issue. Screens and isolation are bad, and you need to spend time less isolated from other people and getting to know them, face to face.
Social media can be helpful, but not for use all the time. Nothing beats genuine human interaction, as it reminds us that there are still people out there and we still have to have human emotions with one another. So I encourage you all to go out and talk to someone face-to-face, be they friend or relative; you’ll feel much better and more connected to the world.