Tag Archives: Online Communities

Is anything “real” these days?

6 Sep

 

 

The internet has spawned an “International Attention Crisis” where people worldwide are addicted to constant (24×7) updates and instant gratification by social media, email, voice mail, and other “indirect” (i.e., non-face-to-face) contact with others.

 

Walk into any restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or even car, these days and you’ll seldom find anyone to talk to – in person that is – and you’ll find the same with everyone else.  It’s as if we’ve all become zombie slaves to our electronic connection tools.

 

Sometimes I wonder if there is really any communication happening in person today… except on reality TV shows where fantasy and reality blend seamlessly to convince us that non-communication in our homes and personal lives is okay.

 

Tell me what is real and what is fantasy in these situations:

 

– People sitting at the same table in a restaurant or bar (who are in-person friends) all texting others who are not there;

 

– Drivers in cars watching their smart phone screens instead of traffic all around them;

 

– Children who text their parents from their rooms instead of walking into the same room to talk;

 

– Facebook members who brag about having 5000+ “friends” when research proves that the human mind can accommodate a mere 150-or so friend relationships;

 

– People who call out or disrespect others using Facebook because they lack the guts to communicate directly;

 

– Unlimited texting is more popular than unlimited talk on cell phones;

 

– Twitter is replacing email systems as the preferred method for some corporate communications;

 

– When you meet someone they ask you if you are on Facebook or Twitter before they ask for your phone number or other contact information;

 

– People know you by your photo on social media and don’t recognize you in person;

 

– Interactive voice recognition (IVR) computer systems block access to real people when you need help desk support – sometimes there is no possible way to reach a live human being who can solve your problem;

 

– The only way to bypass circular menu systems and reach a live person at banks or cell phone providers is to say “Cancel service”;

 

– When people say “I’ll call you right back” it usually means they are bored of talking to you and will often text instead of calling back;

 

– “Events” from Facebook or social media fill out your social calendar where you mingle with mostly people you don’t care to meet again;

 

– Life becomes more isolated, more self-reliant, more independent, and less connected (even though it seems you are ultra-connected!)

 

Perhaps it is a sign that I am getting old, but I long for the days gone by when people went to restaurants and bars to meet and mingle rather than post photos and check-in on Facebook.  I’d like to go out “with” people who are not tethered, have a real date with a guy who isn’t constantly checking his email, and have good conversation with friends who are truly interested in my life and vice versa.

 

While it does happen from time to time, the reality is that nothing that was real yesterday (true communication, compassion, connection, and genuine interest) is real today.  Technology is supposed to be a communication “enabler” but I’m wondering just what kind of “enabling” it is really doing to our life today.

 

Is anything (or anyone) real these days or are we all living in the fantasy of virtual communication?

 

Wishing you genuine connections with real-life people!

 

Carol

 

 

One of the Greatest Mental Freedoms…

7 Aug

Do we REALLY not care what other people think?

In this internet age of text messaging, tweets, Facebook, and other social media, we are supposedly more connected to each other than at any other time in history.  Break-ups, romances, births, changes in status, and other life events are routinely shared with the internet public – often without a thought about the persistence and permanence of what was historically intimate information.

One would think that people today are independent, resilient, teflon-coated, and definitely confident in their own worth and well-being – at least that is the impression based on the volume of personal information shared in cyberspace – often with complete strangers! Yet, is this really the case?  Can generations of western children raised with the adage of “what will the neighbors think?” and “make us proud” overcome such indoctrination by chronicling their life on Facebook?

I believe that most people support and participate in social media because it helps us to feel connected with others – and hopefully enhance our existence on earth.  Yet, the cyber bullying and online fights seem to contradict the “approval ratings” and can even harm one’s well-being.

Our goal should be to gain our OWN acceptance and become the best ME that one can be.  One of the greatest mental freedoms is to not care about what other people think!  You know best for you – and you are the only one who can be the best YOU!

Thank you for reading and have a great week!

Carol

What the blog?

9 Dec

Why blog?  I do it to put my thoughts on paper (so to speak) and now, I’m really not sure that’s enough to keep doing it…

One reason I starting writing this blog many, many posts ago was to connect with people, gain some traction, get some comments, and just maybe even create some sort of community discussion of sorts on a topic of mutual interest.  Little of this has happened with any of my posts, yet I continue to pour out my thoughts to a massive non-listening, disinterested internet public.

Sure, it provides some sense of accomplishment for me when I can say “I blogged today” in answer to “Did you have  a productive day? … but increasingly that’s just not enough.

So in this last month of 2011,  I remember the Einstein adage (apparently while this saying is attributed to him, he didn’t actually say this, but nonetheless):

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In 2011, I tried different things with this blog:

1. I wrote about a variety of things to see if the results would be different – nope, same (non-)readership.

2. I started posting comments and links on other people’s blogs – no difference in readership or reciprocal links.

3. I promote the posts on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn – no different result, not a blip of difference.

4. I tried posting my views on a few “controversial” subjects to spur interest, but that made no discernible difference either.

I’m tempted to stop posting altogether, and I suspect the non-readership won’t notice.

If you are reading this, thank you for doing so.  If you take the time to comment, thank you even more.  If you care whether or not I continue writing, please say so, because my ‘invisible’ blog doesn’t give a boost to my productivity.

Maybe I’ve missed the boat altogether and blogging is like life, some people score hits and others aren’t even picked for a team. I’m beginning to think that my writing is mediocre at best (it’s okay to tell me so and save me the ongoing disillusionment!)

Meanwhile, today, in the ignorance of not knowing where I sit in the spectrum and feeling utterly invisible in the blogosphere, I can only mutter to myself, “What the blog?”

Have a great weekend!

Carol

%d bloggers like this: