Sunday, May 31, 2015
Are We Too Connected?
I’ve logged a lot of social media hours for the past several months as a bit of an experiment. I wanted to understand it from various perspectives and although I’m not finished yet, there are some definite impressions that I come away from it with so far.
First, it can be very fun but also a very all-consuming thing. There is so much information out there, so much to learn, so much to see and so many amazing people to meet and it’s all right at your fingertips. The ego must be totally thrilled with the instant gratification gained from wanting something and having it in seconds thanks to Google, Amazon and others! I know mine is.
Second, some of the relationships built are not false and fake as you think they might be just because they began electronically, so-to-speak. I cannot tell you how many truly good and wonderful souls I’ve met through social media. So many wonderful souls have been so willing to impart their knowledge and experience on any number of amazing topics. I’m so very grateful for every single one I’ve run across and I can tell you that they’ve made a lasting impact on my life in so many very good ways that I will always cherish.
Third, there is a dark side to the internet. You can’t tell me you are surprised at this. It is no different than the real world where darkness helps to contrast the light. There is no shortage of drama, bullying and manipulation or worse. But if you’re confident enough in yourself and who you really are, this isn’t a problem. Just be a wise user and do protect yourself or disconnect from the drama, bullying or any form of manipulation if it finds you. For those individuals already dealing with challenging malware running rampant in their human consciousness operating system (emotional trauma), this darker side can really be a detriment.
Realize that people have feelings whether they are here in front of you or on the other side of the screen. Let us remember this and choose if we can kindness, compassion or if nothing else be assertive with your boundary setting when necessary and don’t be afraid to say “No” or “I’m sorry” or whatever else an online situation calls for. Remember too, anything you say or post is available for all to see (governments, your boss, coworkers, family members, ex-friends, husbands, wives, etc.) and you can’t wipe it out or take it back. Conscious consideration is necessary for any time spent online engaged in internet or social media activities. Consider this, what you use it for, you will get back. If you use it for vengeance, guess what you're likely to find? If you use it for stalking, spying or otherwise causing harm to others, guess what you get right back in some way? Everything matters, never forget this and nothing truly goes unnoticed.
Last but by no means least, my impression overall is that we can become too connected. We are living breathing beings; an amazing and wondrous part of life. If we are stuck to our chairs, desks or couches surfing the internet all the time, it makes you a bit soul-weary and you may be missing out on other also very important opportunities. Be respectful of the connections made on the internet and use the internet wisely and considerately for your entertainment, research or business but please, please, please do not let it consume you. There are amazing skies to see, trees and flowers to commune with and birds outside to listen to. Take some time to connect with what is real so that you don’t get too caught up. It won’t be long, I think, until internet addiction is categorized outside of it’s current status as a connection with “compulsive disorders” of sorts. Want to know more? Hehehe Google it.
If you’re a social media maven or social savvy being, that is fabulous and I congratulate you. Just don’t forget that you are part of physical reality here too. We do sometimes also need down time, time to pause, consider and reflect on what we’ve taken in. Thich Nhat Hanh said in his book Peace is Every Step (I think it was) something to the effect of being mindful about what you fill your head with. This is important as well with social media time. Be good to yourself and considerate of those you encounter both online and in the real world. Have fun. That’s what life is for. Just don’t forget to be human, don’t forget to take time outs and reconnect you with you or your loved ones. Everything matters. You matter.
© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)