In my current love/hate relationship with social media its easy to forget why I liked it in the first place.
Facebook was a great solace during the three years when my office was isolated and I could go entire days not speaking to anyone except by email. Have I mentioned I’m an extrovert?
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Insta linked me to the outside world. And Pandora.
One big benefit of working alone in an almost empty building was that I could play music as loud as I liked – electronica & jazz for writing workshops, grants or PowerPoints, classic rock & funk for collating binders.
Social media connected me with folks I’d never meet in person (friends of friends, journalists, activists etc.) and more importantly created a much larger circle of information. I know we all live in our bubble of self-selected media, but having FB friends outside of my regular friend group continues to introduce information I might otherwise ignore or miss.
For instance, a Native artist I follow introduced me to Indian Country Media so I learned of the DAPL protest actions long before it surfaced in the New York Times. Social media introduced me to, among other things, emergencies and issues affecting women of color, the LGBTQ community, Black Americans and native peoples.
I’ve read perspectives that I agreed and disagreed with from Libertarians, Bernie progressives, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and international citizens, activists and journalists.
So it’s not all bad.
Since the election I have decided that social media and journalism has to be balanced with conversations In Real Life (IRL).
I’ve started reaching out to old friends and acquaintances to schedule chats over coffee, phone, or Skype. I’ve started reaching out to make new acquaintances and friends to meet and chat. Did I mention I’m a shy extrovert who doesn’t make friends easily?
It’s hard to be the initiator all the time (no one likes rejection), and time is as limited as ever, but committing to In Real Life is helping me feel hopeful in a way that liking folks social media posts isn’t.
Hearing opinions and updates accompanied by voice and body language puts me back in the “I – Thou” that I know I need.
So hit me up for a coffee date or drink.
Meanwhile, this brilliant animation my inspire you to join me IRL.