Social Media……..A Love / Hate Relationship

Okay. So before I go too deep into this one…..let me just say, I HATE Social Media. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “But Steve, I always see you on Facebook”!? So, first off….no you don’t. Because I don’t really post a whole lot anymore. Second, you see me on Facebook, because I LOVE Social Media. I know. I’m crazy. So let me explain.

I think Facebook is great. It allows me to keep in touch with family members that live far away. It’s allowed me to reconnect with some REALLY awesome people (you know who you are ;-). It’s allowed me a glimpse into the lives of friends from LOOOOOONG ago. And to continue to build relationships with new friends. So yeah! I think Facebook is great. But it’s only one piece of this phenomenon we have come to know as “Social Media”.
So first, lets answer the question……”What is Social Media”. So, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Social Media as “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content”. So let me sum this up for you. If you communicating with someone and they’re not standing in front of you (or reading a letter you snail mailed), then you’re probably communicating using some form of Social Media. Facebook. Twitter. eMail. Text. Phone. eHarmony. Match. Heck, even my FitBit has me logged into a virtual community. And that’s just to name some of the more common methods. So now you ask “Steve! What are you fussing about?”. Well, I guess this is where I get to the point. I’ve had an epiphany.
It all started when I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about how much I text. But before you judge! I’m on the phone ALL DAY LONG!!!! I hate the phone. I don’t want to be on it when I’m on it. Let alone pick it up voluntarily for……………pleasure. I mean really? Can I not convey the same thought through a quick text message? It’s really not that hard. Why do I have to pick up the phone? I mean, if you really want to talk to me, lets go get coffee and talk. Face to Face!! Why do I have to pick up the phone?!?!?!?!?!?! Okay. I’m done my tantrum. So, I’ve had this conversation, and then I get slapped in the back of the head with the sermon on Sunday. It’s all about relationships and how we build and develop them………..and how Social Media may (or may not) be helping.Ugh. Alright already!!! I get it!! It’s not always the best form of communication!! But NO!!! That wasn’t enough. You see, because Monday (as I was helping cook wings for dinner on the grill) when I snapped a pic of the wings grilling on the Weber and promptly shot it to my friend with the caption “Oh Yeah.”, the thought came to my mind……”wouldn’t it be nice to hear her reaction when I describe to them the smell of the grill, the sound of the chicken wings sizzling, the popping of the charcoal, and the mouth watering taste as I chowed down on the home cooked deliciousness”? Oh yeah!! And it would be one more thing to talk about on the phone or in person!! Yeah!! So when the conversation starts to fade, but you still want to talk, you could bring it up! But NOOOOO. You had to snap that picture and send it right away!! Okay, so I recognize that last one was a bit silly. But!! That’s what we would have done years ago before we could text, right? And then there was this morning. I had a parent/teacher conference with Andrews teacher. It was the first one since I met her at the beginning of the school year. Now don’t get me wrong. We communicate. Through email and something called “Class Dojo”. But this was the first face to face meeting…….and it was at MY request. Now at this time I’m thinking…..’you know, his teacher last year cared so much more about Andrew. She was ALWAYS asking for input on how she could help Andrew. I was ALWAYS meeting with her…..at HER request”. And it wasn’t until I sat in front of Andrews teacher this morning that I realized, “wait, she does care”. The difference was, we communicate via a different method. And that’s when it really hit me. The epiphany. Social Media is evil!!!!! Okay, not quite. But I get it now.
There’s one thing that Social Media just can’t do. No matter how many emoticons you put in a message. How many words you spell in ALL CAPS. Or how many exclamation points you put after a sentence. It doesn’t matter. You still can’t get the true feeling of what someone else is feeling unless you are standing Face to Face with them, seeing the look on their face or able to hear the tone of their voice. It’s just not possible. And it’s been proven in studies that I quote all the time at work, and yet I only just now get it. That 93% of our daily communication is NON-VERBAL!!!!! NINETY THREE PERCENT!!!!!!! 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). It’s no wonder everyone feels so misunderstood. We’re only communicating 7% of what we want to say to each other!! Maybe, just maybe, if we all put down our cell phones, tablets, computers, iPods, nose pods, your pods, my pods, whatever pods, we could get down to communicating properly, and make some progress fixing some of the messes we’ve gotten ourselves into. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m just a crazy man with a REALLY thick skull who just rambled for an hour about an idea that only just now makes sense, that’s been preached around the world for how long now? Just sayin. I can be pretty thick sometimes.
In conclusion, I will answer my previous question. NO!!!!! I can NOT convey the same thought through a simple text message. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been misunderstood because of a text message that wasn’t worded properly. A message that would have had at least an additional 38% chance of being interpreted correctly had it been given verbally. My point? Okay, so you can’t always talk face to face. I get it. But let’s face it. Long distance rates are at an all time low………FREE!!!!! Pick up the darn phone and call someone. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone and let them hear your voice. Let them know you care enough to take a little time to make sure they hear you correctly. You never know. You might just learn to like it. I know I did. 🙂

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