Do you feel like you’re missing out if you ever unplug? Like you might miss one important status update or offend a friend by missing a tweet? As though you’re a bad citizen and friend if you’re a few hours (or a couple of days) late to find out that a friend is engaged?
Well, if so, here’s your free pass. Use it wisely.
It’s a Place
Social media is a virtual space – a place or a destination. I think of it like going to church or to Starbucks. While you’re there, you can interact with people and do stuff together. And, unless you’re a community life director, you don’t need to worry about it while you’re gone.
We’re Becoming Disconnected
In our struggle to be more connected, I believe we’re actually becoming less connected. As we struggle to stay up on what’s happening everywhere all the time, we eventually become nowhere all the time. In our desire to be more connected, we actually disconnect from some of the important things in our lives.
Our generation is connected. Social media has connected the world and quickly. But it’s also disconnected us in many ways.
— Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) April 20, 2012
I’m not down on Social Media
For real. I like social media. You can find traces of me almost everywhere online. But we have to be careful that sharing data – information and pictures – doesn’t replace sharing some other important things.
And I unplug because there are other important things in my life. It’s not all Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. I have a family and friends and a church community. I spend time with them doing important things.
Other Important Things
There are important things that you can’t share over long distances – not even over Skype of Google Hangouts or chat sessions. These things are important. We need them.
- Proximity – We need to be around people. It’s part of our nature.
- Touch – No, I’m not saying you need to become a “hugger” but touch is important. Appropriate handshakes, hugs, and the like validate our humanity and our value.
- Group Interactions – Sure, you can form a group on Facebook (sort of liking building a private room at your local Starbucks) or have a Google Hangout. They have varying levels of real-time interaction and intimacy. But to really get the value of a group, it’s just good to be together.
You can Unplug
So, I want you to know that it’s OK with me if you unplug for a little while. Take a little time to hang out with your family and friends. Maybe some time to worship or volunteer. Maybe just walk around your neighborhood and say “hi” to your neighbors and their pets.
But be where you are – where you physically are – for a little while. Unplug. Maybe a couple of hours. Maybe a whole day (what a concept).
Spent all day outside, disconnected from the digital and social media world. Felt good for a change. Figured I’d share with a Tweet #irony
— Jason Klein (@JasonKlein24) April 15, 2012
Don’t worry about me. I’ll be OK. And I’ll be here when you get back. We all will.
And we’ll want to hear what you’re sharing and look at the pictures you took and weigh in on your new relationship status.
If we miss a few, don’t be offended. Assume we’re unplugged, out greeting our neighbors and brewing coffee.