Social Media for the Anti-Social
When I first heard about how the internet was going to bring us closer, by allowing us to be physically further apart while we communicated, I wondered if I was missing something. I usually score low on those Reader’s Digest Mensa sample questions. Still, something felt “off” as I watched a newscaster being “close” to a violinist who played hundreds of miles away on a screen. I suppose it was the 90’s version of AT&T’s “reach out and touch someone” mantra that convinced us to call our parents more often in the 80’s.
Now, I’m asked to make “friends” with others on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc. I’m even supposed to be excited about re-connecting with people from high school – most of whom I was fleeing from as fast as possible after graduation. After such a struggle to leave high school behind, to “grow up” and stop being insecure and needy, why would I ever want to re-create the whole thing again?
As it turns out, tweeting, commenting, and sharing online is easier for me than chatting in person. I crave long, deep meaningful conversations that aren’t finished for days. I’m not very good at chatting, which translates into a dread of groups. Some might even call me anti-social. But now, I can chat – from the comfort of my home, at a pace that I set, one on one. Suddenly, chatting has become fun! I’ve actually chatted with people who I’ve always wanted to connect with, but just couldn’t, due to my inability to verbally chat. Now, I’m a pro a chatter – via text.
These days, as I find myself mingling with people I don’t know, I wonder if I have chatted with them via a social network. Standing in a check out line, I imagine having a verbal chit chat – figuring that my new online skill will spill over into a friendly exchange with my fellow citizen. So far, I’ve figured wrong. So, I just take a deep breath, and think of my next tweet.