I'm pretty sure social media has made me a shitty listener.
Perhaps even a little socially awkward.
I am in the business of oversharing, though quite tempered (contrary to popular belief). And I spend my days pumping out information at a fairly rapid pace because it's my job. And I like it.
I take in other peoples' business as well, in small snippets thanks to a limited group of people I follow on Twitter and my now "open-for-business" Facebook friend list because I'm nosy.
I'm a nosy, information junkie.
But now when I'm around people, real live people that are not talking to me in 140 characters or less, and don't need to tag their location because they are right next to me, it's weird.
Is it weird that it's weird? I think so.
I've always been a fairly social person and enjoy the company of actual people, not just virtual people, or even actual virtual people, but lately I find myself doing what I do on social media outlets in real life.
Flip, scroll, slide, refresh, repeat.
I understand that at many levels, sharing helps connect us with other people, but at what point do you end up sounding like a little kid who's all "Look Mommy, see Mommy, LOOK AT ME MOMMY DID YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID?"
And you nod and look past the kid (don't lie because you totally do this) and you're like "that's so cool, dear" but you have no idea what they actually did only you hope it wasn't dusting your entire living room with gold bond powder.
That actually happened though for the record I was not given the privilege of the "LOOK MOMMY" before the powdering occurred.
Social media is a conversation, at least, the perceived value is conversation, some of which is completely fabricated, forced, and faked, not necessarily by me but by sponsors, and brands, and Q1 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO CLIP YOUR TOENAILS?
No we don't really want to talk about our toe nails but Prizes! and R/Ts = followers! And followers mean that I get to put the "MY KID HAS MORE FOLLOWERS THAN YOUR KID ON TWITTER" bumper sticker on my car.
And some of it is authentic, though the lines are blurry these days.
Do you ever look at what you post and tweet and pin? Do you wonder if people really give a shit? Do you ponder what sort of need it fulfills for you to tell all your how-many followers that you can't find the milk for your cereal?
WILL THEY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU FIND IT?
I'm trying to remember what it was like to listen. As in really listen. To myself, my friends, my kids.
I don't deny that social media outlets can help foster real, legitimate relationships. It also pays my bills.
But much of it is a series of inconsequential, meaningless interactions that we wouldn't otherwise engage in.
We're funny and quippy. We LOL! Or so we type.
But then in real life, not IRL because we don't have to type and we're not limited to characters, it's different.
The names, faces, conversations, and interactions are what drive us as human beings. And if we're just stuck at the surface, pushing our own blather out over a loudspeaker, we might just be missing out.
Or in the least, we might end up looking like the annoying "look at me" kid. And our kids, our spouses, our friends aka the really awesome cool people in our lives who have wonderful things to share.
They're moving on to someone who'll actually take the time to engage in a two-way conversation.
No retweets, likes, or stumbles required.