Ok, a gawdy title I know, but let’s just get down to the nuts and bolts. Social media, for as much as I can tell, has created a shift that has never been possible in human existence before, and one that has been so subtle that I don’t know how many people have noticed this. It’s shifted the intention behind a friendship from an active, bond-building one, to a passive, lurking one.
At one point in our lives, before we had these online highlight reels, and battlefields for political namecalling and unrest, and nests to bring about a dopamine reaction for every like you’ve ever gotten with what you’ve done with your life, we had a different way of approaching how a friendship was fostered. I’ll just be short and sweet with this, social media is doing more damage than good for our social lives.
Currently, if we want to see what’s up with someone, or what they’re up to, we can simply navigate to a social media platform they’re updating frequently, and satiate my desire to get nosey on their life, but we can do this passively without them even knowing we’re doing it. There’s no communication, and the intention of getting to know someone and what they’re up to, is a passive one.
Flat out, this is ruining our ability to connect to people. Before Facebook, twitter, instagram, and all the rest, if we wanted to know what was up with someones life, we didn’t have a repository for all the things they feel like sharing with their lives, I had to intentionally reach out and connect with them to get an update, and engage in a true social endeavor. It wasn’t likely considered strange, creepy, or as having an ulterior motive to reach out to someone to learn what they’ve been up to. But now, because we can just so easily see what people are up to by booting up their page but not ACTUALLY engaging with them, everything is backwards. People are more lonely than ever it appears, and I think it’s main factor is because of this unseen effect social media is creating.
So what do we do about it? Well…. the best solution, just get off all social media and go live life. If you want to stay in touch with someone, get their phone number, and their email, but make the friendship and intentional engagement, not a passive lurking. You will find you have better friends in the long run, because you’ve built that relationship actively. Just like anything else that’s worth working towards in life, a lifelong friendship means lots of active work. Go. Go make it happen.