Does Social Media Make Us Feel More Connected Than We Actually Are? [OPINION]
I might have embarrassed myself reaching out to an old friend.
Social media is a great tool, right? In an instant we can update the world on what we're doing or check in to see what others are up to. It's a great place to find community, build your business, or just tell your story. It can also be completely misleading when it comes to how close you are with someone.
Have you ever reach out to an old friend?
Recently, I thought I would reach out to someone I knew in college. We had the same major, same career aspirations, and I thought we were pretty good friends. At one point I believe we made a Matt Damon-Ben Affleck agreement where if one of us "made it" in the world, we would give the other a leg up on the competition. So I reached out through direct messaging and when you are coming from a "we haven't spoken in awhile" place, you tend to use a lot of exclamation points.
My message went something like this... "OMG!!! How are you?!?! It's been sooooo long!!! What are you up to these days?!!! Still working for so-and-so????!!!!!!"
Aside from looking like complete spam, I thought this was an adequate way to break the ice and truly let her know that I missed her. My memories of our college days were filled with laughter. Maybe hers weren't because it took awhile for her to respond.
"Sorry. Didn't see this until now. All good. Yes still at (workplace)."
Um... Honestly, I didn't respond. I felt so embarrassed that I even tried to reach out in the first place. I mean, you don't give the "didn't see this until now" bit unless you really didn't want to respond, but now you feel completely obligated.
But it did get me thinking about how social media creates so many illusions. We feel like we're close to people weren't not. We feel like we aren't close to anyone. We feel connected. We feel alone. We feel like staring intensely at a photo of someone's perfectly toned abs will make our abs suddenly shape up and do the same... Ok, maybe that's just me.
A recent study found that teen's screen time was directly linked to feelings of loneliness. The more time spent on the screen instead of with actual human beings in the flesh, the more someone feels lonely. Maybe it's time we put the phone down and put ourselves out in the real world more often.