Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dear Friend: A thought: social networking

Dear Friend,

The internet is strange. More specifically, social networking is strange. It creates a new space in which we must be living or else it is believed, in some form on another, that perhaps we no longer exist. Our lives are documented day in and day out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the list continues. If for one day of our lives we choose not to write a status locating our whereabouts or take a photo of the view we are standing before or hashtag those with us, it must be assumed we are doing nothing. That our day is empty just because it isn't publicised for everyone to see.

Of course I'm not saying that this is the life everyone leads. I'm simply suggesting that it is strange. The way that one day of facebook inactivity now induces panic in those around us. Are we still alive? Are we ill? Have we been moved halfway around the world and been banned from communication?
The sad part is that sometimes these questions are answered with a yes. For some that really is the only reason why contact is lost rather than simply being a sign of them leading a busy life. Of them choosing to talk to people in person about their day rather than over the false 'personal' description that a status provides to friends and family.

Sometimes we become so used to knowing someone is still existing simply from the updates on our newsfeed that when there's radio silence, for even the shortest time, panic sets in.

Technology is amazing and it allows us to maintain communication with everyone every minute of everyday. Yet in a way it's too much. We have become so accustomed to assuming that everyone is somehow accessible and 'there' all the time that when they're not, we can't understand.

What needs to be remembered is that people live a life outside of social media, outside of the internet and their laptop or mobile phones. There is a person on the other side of that screen who is living their life. The point is that if they are really someone we care about, and who cares about us back, we should know that they are there even without their name popping up on our Facebook chat, Skype or on our Twitter feed.

People are real. We're not just names on a screen.

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