What you’re looking for you aren’t going to find on Facebook

IMG_0597.JPG Because of my community work, I seem to know a lot of people and run into acquaintances at the grocery store all of the time.

Social media seems like the “go to” way to connect with each other in an increasingly busy society. But sometimes it just feels soulless to me. I “like” a lot of positive sites so that my news feed is filled mostly with inspiration. I am able to stay connected with friends all over the world, but I don’t really because there are just too many people.

I like the photos of my friend’s kids and then when we run into each other, we say you look great on Facebook, hug and move on to our next activity. It’s funny how being surrounded by people can actually be lonely and how social media can shortcut true, connective relationships. I want to know how my friends REALLY are, not just the edited version for Facebook.

I’ve hosted gatherings at my house, helped create Mother Daughter groups, started conversations about community matters over bowls of soup and yet they all seem to fizzle. People’s lives are so busy and there are so many people, events, school activities that the social fabric I am trying to weave doesn’t seem to stay together.

Does it really have to be that way? Are we all really ok with this socially connected but ultimately disconnected way of being? The anthropologist in me wants to study how life, connection and communities have changed over the last 20 years. A lot of people used to go to church but these days, a lot of “spiritual but not religious” folks would rather not be involved in organized religion.

Maybe the social media phenomena isn’t the issue. It’s that we are trying to find connection and meaning in something that is ultimately not for that purpose. Maybe we have to meaning make in our lives and not post it on Facebook because then we would be authentically in that experience instead of making sure we look cute in our selfie.

I watched this great video (on Facebook) the other night and it was very thought provoking. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/11/if-youre-feeling-lonely-youre-not-alone-powerful-video-on-you-social-media/

So my suggestion is that we learn to appreciate the benefits of social media and then get off of it often and create the connection and meaning you we looking for in our lives with real 3-D with actual people. Sustained connections with people we love are what really weaves the tapestry of connectedness. Happy weaving!

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