uNsocial

The irony of this does not escape me.

I am compelled to talk about my lack of social-ness here in a virtual diary that is a common tool of social media.

I tried to listen to a podcast the other day. It’s not the first time, just the latest of many such efforts. It was interesting for about the first one-third of its length. I shut it off about about half-way-done. It was boring.

Blogs. Sites. Posts. Podcasts. Tubes. If you’re not an overtly social person, there really isn’t much sense in spending time with these. The exception would be those things that have some direct application to something you are immediately engaged in.

I know there are a lot of people who need other people to affirm them on a regular basis. Humans are herd animals. It’s natural. But as with all things, there are exceptions to the rule. I happen to be one of those.

I don’t need anyone to tell me how to treat other people. I don’t need help nailing down my opinions on religion or politics. I know what I think and why I think it. I do like having friends to sit and drink coffee and discuss the issues of the day, but I really prefer to be able to read their body language and facial expressions as we interact.

There are so many reasons for what we know as social media to be a negative part of human experience. Communication is hard enough when we’re in the same space. Written communication has always struggled to be clear without being verbose. And the idea that you can be accurately understood by thousands of people while limited to a couple hundred characters is ludicrous.

Remove the restraints of face-to-face and people get ugly. Add some misunderstanding, which is always hanging around, and lines get drawn in the sand. People choose sides. Things get thrown. People get hurt. Even virtual pain can be debilitating.

If there’s not a compelling reason to stick my neck out and allow complete strangers to take pot-shots at my head, I’m not inclined to do it. What might be compelling? Truly helping someone might be a compelling reason. Making someone feel better about themselves would be. Answering a haunting question for someone would.

There is an old Russian saying, “The tallest blade of grass gets cut down.” Social media begs you to stick your head above, to be noticed, to grab your fifteen seconds of fame.

Go ahead if you want to. I’ll wait here.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t watched this, you should. That’s my opinion, and I know why it’s my opinion.

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