Social media is one of those tricky mediums that makes us feel like we have real human connection. It’s like having sex with a blow-up doll. It might feel like you’re getting the job done, but you’re missing the most important part – intimacy.
This past week, I was in a group mastermind. I found that I had a conflict with another member. I found her behaviour rude and offensive in many instances. Due to the group dynamics, I felt like I had to “suck it up” and just be a polite Canadian and accept this person’s behaviour. If this had happened online, I would have ignored the person, or even blocked her, but in person, that behaviour is actually considered rude.
As a social media consultant, I sit in front of my computer all day. I have “friends” all over the world. I even do face-to-face meetings on Skype and other online ways. So I felt I was hooked in. Working from home, sometimes not leaving and having actual human contact for days, I thought I was fine. Then I started traveling.
Once I actually got my butt out of my chair and went out into the world, I discovered that there is so much more than language through a device. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a wonderful way to communicate and it’s opened up worlds for many people. But removing the keyboard between two people opens up another level of communication.
Even in conflict, human to human communication is better than social media. How many times have you seen people say horrible things to each other in a post? I often wonder how many people would say the same things to a person if they were standing right in front of them. I would venture to say that it would be a pretty low number. The keyboard makes people braver, allowing them to take on a persona that they might not otherwise use. Including being a bully.
Being face to face allows us to be emotional. While they are adorable, emoticons sometimes don’t really cut it. We’re not all always going to agree on everything. In fact, it’s great that we don’t. That’s what keeps things interesting. But by talking about our differences and letting emotions out and giving other people our true feelings, we start to live.
Although I identify as a Canadian, I have realized since I’ve been traveling that we although we come from different cultures and countries with different rituals and ways of doing things. I can no longer rely on using my heritage to view the world. The lens is much wider than that.
I witnessed another person in our mastermind deal with a conflict in a much different way. This person was also offended by something, but rather than stay silent as I had, she called the person out on it and they had a confrontation. This feels extremely foreign to me and is way out of my comfort zone. I don’t like confrontation.
The end result was much the same as mine, we all kissed and made up and have all become great friends and feel like we’ve all grown into better people for this experience. I can honestly say I don’t think this would have been the same if a similar experience had occurred online in a group or chat room, for example. Handling this in person with emotions charged and feelings being honored was an experience that has heightened my awareness to these types of situations.
I would have previously thought that only love was better in person, but so is anger, jealousy, sadness, mistrust and every other emotion. When you can share in person, there is no greater gift. Humans are not meant to walk this planet alone.
Stay in touch on social media, but connect, truly connect in person.