I was a late adopter of Facebook, and I am relatively new to Instagram and the Twittersphere. It wasn't until I launched Chime in July of last year that I joined the big, wide, and unending world of social media. I was one of those people who adamantly resisted joining Facebook initially.
If there's someone I want to talk to, I will call them, I used to say. Or: I am in touch with everyone I need to be. I don't need hundreds of friends. Then at some point I got a shiny new phone and was taken with my toy and all it could do. I was sucked in and have been ever since.
I joke how anyone ever could have survived without cell phones and Target. Now I can't imagine the world without Facebook! My kids won't know a world without all three.
When I launched Chime, joining Twitter and Instagram were a natural next step in my evolution as a social media user. I am not very savvy (yet) with either, but hey, I am in the game!
I openly admit I'm a little too attached to my phone and digital devices these days, constantly checking my posts' engagement and keeping up with friends. Some days social media drives me positively mad, especially from the business side. At other times, particularly from the personal side, it's an enjoyable pastime, a way to stay connected to the people in my (expanding) world, and an excellent networking tool.
Still, one frustration that I experience is the notion that, in all of this "connection," there is literal disconnection. We can "talk" to dozens or even hundreds of people everyday without ever speaking, without ever hearing a word come out of our mouths. We "share" moments from our lives, but we do so without the assurance of a meaningful exchange with others.
Social media is both everywhere and nowhere. It's constantly available but removed from reality. So what happens when we are "somewhere" in "real life" and in walks a Facebook friend whom you never met before?
This is exactly what happened to me today at yoga! To my left was one of my Facebook friends. I am certain I have seen him at the yoga studio in the past, but up until this point we never exchanged a single word. We are "friends" because we are a part of the same yoga circle.
I have to make contact with this guy, I kept thinking to myself. A smile, a kind word, some recognition that we "know" each other. If we can scroll through each other's lives on social media, then we should be able to speak in real life, right?
We flowed through the standing series of practice and then finally lowered to our stomachs for backbends. We landed on the floor in sync, and in what felt like a split second, our eyes met and I blurted out, Hey! How's it going? In return I received a big bright smile and a: "Hey, good! How are you?"
Did he know who I was? Maybe. Does it matter? No. In that moment, I was "somewhere" with a Facebook friend in the flesh. We made real connection. I heard his voice and he heard mine.
Looking back on the moment, I think it's hysterical that I talked to another student in the middle of class, that I broke the silence of practice. He was sweating hard and breathing heavy, and here I am asking how he's doing. I chuckle just thinking about it.
For me, the takeaway from this split second of interaction is this: Social media is everywhere and nowhere, so when you find yourself "somewhere" with a "friend," take the opportunity to make true connection. Use your voice, say hello, acknowledge that this individual who you only know as a virtual being exists "somewhere" over the Facebook rainbow.