More and more, we are moving away from tangible personalities to digital avatars of ourselves, with the ever-rising interest and use of social media. Rather than have a spoken conversation with the people near us, we choose to ignore them and engage in the social apps within our expensive phones. The thumb bone is connected to the cell phone, right? Most of us know the childhood jingle of ages past.
Not so long ago, human interaction consisted of face-to-face, voice-to-voice expressions of complete thoughts. Words and phrases were chosen carefully, tailored to listeners, supported by gestures, facial expressions, inflections, and attitudes. Intentions were deliberate and communication was accurately received most of the time. For instance, men chose not to use profanity among women and children. Sexual preference, sexual expression and other concepts of this nature were discussed privately or not at all. Out of respect and concern of self image, people filtered themselves, caring how their words fell upon ears and reflected on the natures of their beings. Oh how times and human interaction have changed.
Now, we hide behind tiny screens with only our emoticons to support our objectives. Our complete thoughts have diminished to hash tags, tweets and posts of a set number of characters. Vocabulary ranges are limited to the newest slang. Thoughts fall aimlessly from our minds into the Cloud, on the eyes of all who choose to see, with no censorship. To me, this pattern of behavior begs the questions: Are our words no longer worth their weights in gold? Are the connections between us only there until the battery juices run dry? Is community a dying concept in our culture? One could argue that social media has become more photo centric; and furthermore, aren’t pictures worth a thousand words? If we forget the words and their meanings available to us, then how do we describe the pictures and their worth?
I’m reminded of a movie scene where a man is imprisoned in an old dungeon, with only a small opening at the top of the cell afforded him. He’s allowed no visitors, no literature, nothing but the stone floor and occasional meal slid through a small door. He is without human interaction for so long, that he forgets how to speak and becomes what we would consider today to be a social outcast.
I, for one, have always played tug-o-war with my desire to be alone versus my longing for a connection with mature, energetic people. It’s just too easy to snuggle up with my dogs, Barli and Beauregard, fiddle with my phone, play on the Xbox, channel surf, or binge watch Hulu and Netflix until the weekend has passed without regard. Even I, however, draw the line after some time and force myself outside of my technological bubble. Taking walks off the beaten path, sitting by a well-lit fire, calling my parents and siblings, making some sort of connection to nature and other people, is necessary to me.
Oh, I could write a book about all of the implications of the social media imprint on people and community. Maybe one day. For now, though, I will leave you with just these thoughts and recommend that you watch the movie Wall-E, and really think about it.