Connecting with others has never been easier with social media – or so they say. Lately, I’m finding that trying to connect with people is as difficult as pulling teeth. It really opens your eyes to what we often don’t seem to notice about who we are connecting with and why they are trying to connect with us. Don’t get me wrong, interacting with others on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram can be enjoyable at times, but 85% of the time I feel like I am talking to the wall. Not that I have the clout to get people’s attention nor am I deserving of it in any way, but when trying to ask for an opinion, help or someone’s undivided attention for a cause near to my heart, I often feel like what I have to say isn’t important. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all feel this way at times, and it makes you wonder: who are we really connecting with?
The act of picking up a phone is now a foreign concept. If we do call someone, we talk to their voicemail. Maybe our “friends” are anything but friends. After careful observations, these are the five things social media has shown me…in the cruelest way.
1. It it doesn’t concern them, it’s irrelevant.
– Okay, let’s admit it: most things we post on social media are pretty irrelevant when you think about it, but don’t shame yourself for wanting to make someone smile with your videos of your cat doing strange things around the house. At least one person on your friends’ list appreciates them. Unfortunately, that person is me. In this culture of “me, me, me,” it’s nice to see a cat just being a cat. We share things because we want to. We enjoy the interaction. Certain times, I’ve tried to get others on board for certain projects and I was ignored. Yet, when they need something, they run right to me. That’s not how it works. The door swings both ways. Just because it doesn’t concern you, doesn’t make it irrelevant. Get over yourself.
2. Everyone hides behind a facade.
– I always say that if you’re not the same person you are on social media as you are in real life, maybe you should re-evaluate your life. Everyone hides behind a screen now, and I’m sick of learning who people really are after they disappoint me somehow. Being a writer/blogger, I have to communicate with others a lot – mostly, through e-mail. God forbid I call anyone! “Don’t bother us. We’ll just sit here and kiss your ass until you give us what we want.” It doesn’t work that way. Narcissism is becoming a problem.
3. Mindless activity sparks interest.
– Sometimes I feel like my brain shrinks when I read certain things online. I want to see depth, truth and someone’s honest opinions, yet everyone lays low, in fear of offending people while resorting to snarky e-cards and memes to get their point across instead of just being real. I’m sick of seeing trashy selfies get over 30 ‘likes’ while someone else tries to promote their music, new article, etc, while only getting about 5 ‘likes.’ Which brings me to my next point…
4. Attention spans are dying.
– It’s sad to say, but people have the attention spans of stoplights. Is it really too much for you to get your face out of your phones and listen to what your friends have to say? Maybe answer some of those 40 missed calls? Read a friend’s new piece, listen to their music? NOT EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND YOU. There are so many beautiful things to use social media for. Enough with the narcissism and listen to the people you are so-called “connected” with. If we all took some time out of our day to use social media for it’s intended purposes, I bet it would be a much more positive place. Let’s all help each other out!
5. Genuine sincerity makes people run.
– Maybe it’s a bad thing that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Maybe I should just delete all of my accounts because people perceive me to be annoying. Either way, I’ve noticed that genuine sincerity makes people run the other way. Like I mentioned above, people want to see mindless activity – things that don’t mean a thing. Trying to get others on board for things is like asking to borrow money. I’ve noticed that the people who seem to know everyone get the most attention on social media. It makes me wonder if they only receive it because people want something from them. It’s hard to find genuine people in real life, even harder behind a screen.
At the end of the day, I think three words describe it best: people don’t care. We’re all fighting a battle. Trying to make our dreams come true. Trying to make something of ourselves. Social media was designed to help us connect with others that would usually be out of our reach. Take the time to realize the impact you could make in someone’s life and career by just listening, helping, supporting them, offering advice and interacting. It’s not all about you. Do you care? I do.