Wednesday, January 16, 2013

" De da da da, is all I want to say to you.."

“Information is just bits of data. Knowledge is putting them together. Wisdom is transcending them.” ― Ram Dass

     The paradox of social media is this: it has inspired and united an entire generation of activists and advocates but still allows millions to feel isolated, alone and incredibly shallow. It's like eating chips and salsa before dinner. Inevitably, you have to order a Quesidilla Grande to make the hollow hunger pangs go away. Twitter following is like scarfing down an entire package of Oreo cookies. You know you will fall into a sugar induced sleep coma and want to rinse out your mouth. (practicing my metaphors this evening) Generally, I believe most people are honest with the information they reveal on social media. Who would doubt I worked at Vandelay Industries for two years? Who wasn't convinced the profile picture of me and Christian Bale at a movie premiere was photo shopped? Privacy matters. What benefit is there to exposing everything in our lives? How safe is it for children and teenagers to have their "time lines" revealed to the public? This may be difficult to read but most of us are really not that fascinating to other people. Maybe we should try to discourage youngsters posting their every obsessive thought about Tyler Blackburn or Selena Gomez explaining this does not constitute effective communication. Freedom of Speech is our First Amendment Right so carry on and on and on.... Anyone with common sense will refrain from making rude or crude comments about their boss, spouse, teachers or other family members online. Surely, people have enough sound judgement NOT to post incriminating videos or pictures of themselves or others. Well, one would hope. Recently, I was completely stunned to discover posts by college "educated" educators supporting the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre was a government hoax. WTF? If only the "delete" button worked on making ignorance disappear!

      Human beings desire to feel and stay connected. People love to share what they love. We share photo's and memorable moments with family, friends and loved ones across the country and around the world. Twitter, Tumblr, Linked In and Facebook are a few of the most excellent resources to promote yourself, an educational institution, business, non-profit organization, musical group or blog. It has made a significant impact globally in connecting us to a world of previously unknown political conflicts and ideas. The Internet and technology in general allows us unlimited access to news, information and each other. In addition, thousands of people have connected and fallen in love using online dating services like and e-Harmony. How else would I have fallen for George Glass? Connect. Make connections. You have to stay connected is what we are all constantly advised.

     Would the world end if you turned off your computer or smart phone for one day? One day a week, allow yourself the silence and solitude of a missed voice mail or text. You will survive. Locally and personally social media seems to have done little to strengthen or create deep, genuine bonds. So much of what we do in everyday life and work is censored to keep up appearances. The social mask only comes off when we are alone. Outside of business I would rather have one or two sincerely, authentic, flesh and bone friendships than a hundred superficial online contacts. So I certainly understand people I know who have either never created or abandoned their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. Life is short and time too valuable to waste on a million cursory comments. Why do you think Facebook invented the apathetic "like" feature? "Thumbs up" or "up yours" if you like. Whatever form of communication you choose, be true to yourself.