Thursday, August 2, 2012

Breaking the Bondage of Social Media... Take on the Challenge!


I have been thinking about writing this blog entry for a while now. Has anyone noticed the increase in social media lately (and lately I mean the last couple of years)? I know I have. I know that I totally vowed NEVER to get a Twitter account. But guess what, I just got one. Why did I get one? Well, for a few reasons. I got one because I wanted one for my business Lindsey Portugal Photography. I also wanted to have a way to get special offers and deals that are only available via Twitter. A few weeks ago when I was at this Photography conference, the speaker asked for people to “tweet” their questions. Well… I didn’t have twitter, so I couldn’t tweet my questions. My only other option was to wait in a long line during the breaks if I had a question. That is when I decided I needed to get one. 
Anyway, there is a bit of a problem with social media though. I find that sometimes, it “increases” our social media friends, but it also “decreases” our true friends. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all over social media. You can find me on Facebook, Blogger (clearly!), Twitter, Polyvore, Pinterest, etc (I don’t have Instagram because my phone’s camera isn’t even worth it!). However, I have found that many times, I don’t actually get together with these “friends”. I don’t see them face to face very often if ever. It seems that keeping up with each other on Facebook, Blogs, etc is enough. But is it really enough? 

Recently, most of you probably know that my Uncle died. This was a very sad thing for my family, and all of my family found out via the phone or in person (which is how it should be, especially for family). Then 99% of my friends found out about his passing via Facebook and Blogger. Although, I am grateful for all of the sweet responses that my friends provided on Facebook regarding this tragedy, not one friend called me. I don’t know if this is because they didn’t feel comfortable calling or what. But I am not blaming anyone either. This just doesn’t seem to be a popular thing in this social media generation. I don’t call people either who announce bad news or even good news on Facebook. Heck, I don’t even call for birthdays anymore unless they are immediate family! Now, let’s compare this to my Aunt (in her late 60s) and my dad (in his 50s). Both of them got multiple calls from friends expressing their sentiments over my Uncle’s passing. Now, they definitely got a lot of responses on Facebook too…. But their close friends called. 

The difference here is clearly generational. My generation is one surrounded with social media. However, social media is a weird double edged sword. On one hand, it provides a way to find out more than you would ever want to know about people… and on the other hand, it distances people. Social media should “encourage” more social interaction, not discourage it. If I was to go into the hospital tomorrow, I think I would feel utterly alone. This is sad, but true. Of course my family would come and be around me, but I don’t know many friends I could call. I have maybe 2 female friends (one in Houston, and one in Florida) who I can say I would call. Other than that, I guess I would have to post something on Facebook. I still don’t think many people would even come. But this  holds true for me too.. I guess I would feel uncomfortable visiting someone in the hospital because I would feel like “maybe” I am not a “close” enough friend to elicit my presence.  Maybe this is just me, but how is it possible to have over 100 “friends” on Facebook, but have no one to call up on a rainy day and say “let’s go get coffee” or “let’s go to a movie”. Now, I know this is not the case for everyone. But, I think many people can relate to this. 

I was even thinking the other day (and I am sad to admit this)… but... what do friends do?” Isn’t that a weird thought? I was thinking, other than going for food or to a movie,... what do friends do? Well back before we put every ounce of our lives on Facebook for the world to see, friends used to hang out and talk about what was going on in their lives. But now, due to social media, I think many people feel like they already “keep up” with their friends. This is a positive thing… but I think we are still missing something. We are missing that face-to-face or even telephone piece. There is something different about hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face. We don’t seem to “live life together” anymore. But isn’t that what friends are for…to live life together?

So I propose a challenge. Let’s break this. Look through your phone or your email… or even your Facebook, and find 5 friends. These should be 5 friends that you don’t see or call regularly. These are friends that you consider to be “friends” not acquaintances… but they haven’t crossed that line to being someone who you could just call up when you are having a bad day (or vice versa). 

Then… do something completely bizarre….. CALL THEM! Do not email… that is cheating. Call them… and get together… go to the mall, sit down for coffee, just invite them over to hang out. Let’s go all old-fashioned/low-tech. Connect with them. 

Now, for my Christian friends reading this… this does NOT mean you have to have a spiritual/accountability session. Sometimes I feel like Christians (women especially) feel the need to ALWAYS discuss the Bible, their walk with Christ, their prayer life, etc when with other Christian women. This is NOT a bad thing. We need this as Christian women... DEFINITELY! But, sometimes we are missing the “living life together” part of being “friends”. Have fun together, and don’t be so serious! 

Ok… If you are up for the challenge and you plan to do it (I hope you do!)... keep yourself accountable. Write just a simple comment below… saying “I’m In” … Lets do this!

3 comments:

  1. Ok, I think I might give it a try.

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  2. Lindsey this is so true and I am in!!
    2 thoughts,

    1. We are totally losing our face to face with the ones we love (and that's why I love the getting in contact with 5 friends, even a couple people popped into my mind). We can also go way passed the time limit on hugs. We need those too. Jesus did call us to fellowship one with another. So I am with you...I love them, couldn't live w/o them but our priority has to be in "contact" with our loved ones.

    2. People like my mom wouldn't be able to see their great grandkids. With my kids all over the place they don't take the time to go see her. She is far away and not able to go to them. And would she if she could? But to make your vacation to go see someone like YOUR grandma is not really the place you want to spend your time and money for your one week off a year. So facebook is a wonderful way to see those you love but would not normally see. Also, I feel closer to my children/grandchildren by seeing them someway everyday.

    Love u Linds

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