Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Facebook Will Be The Death Of Us All?

Song for this post: "Right Here, Right Now" ~ Fatboy Slim

I hear a lot about social media and how it's created a race of people who are socially inept in a live setting. I've even caught myself saying similar things on occasion. Given, this was years ago, before it became an inherent part of what I do for a living, but I'm guilty nonetheless.

The argument is that people spend so much time in front of a PC (or tablet or smartphone) communicating via text that they've forgotten (or never learned) the skill of face to face communication. I get it. It's a little bit scarier when you don't have the chance to delete, edit, and correct your thoughts before sending them. So I understand how the movement or shift in our society may have caused some damage to traditional methods of interacting.

But that it's created a disconnect? I don't think so.

I live in Bremerton. That's 15 miles over the water from Seattle. And by "over the water" I mean you have to take a ferry to get there...a ferry that travels roughly 14-17 knots per it takes nearly an hour to get there. I work in downtown Seattle. I commute every day.  My decision to move from the center of my universe (Seattle) to the middle of nowhere was an informed one but it certainly came with a price. It's much more difficult to stay socially active and I often find myself feeling a bit isolated, a bit left out, and a bit out of the loop.  It means I need to try that much harder to stay "connected."

A good friend of mine lives in Lower Queen Anne (a neighborhood about 3 minutes north of downtown Seattle). We have so little in common it's amazing we get along at all but we do. In fact, we get along swimmingly. I think she's absolutely fantastic and love her to pieces. She's Miss Gothic Seattle. She's Miss Disposable Darling. She's Gennifer Darling Holland. And she's wonderful. Look her up. She works about 5 blocks from me in downtown Seattle. She's incredibly socially active.

This morning on the ferry I was checking my Facebook (read: stalking the world) and saw an update that she was listening to Counting Crows on her way to work. Counting Crows happens to be one of my all time favorite bands. It's the 90s child in me. Give me some early-mid 90s grunge rock and I'm on board. I commented to her that I had chosen a morning full of The Doves and The Smiths (be still my heart).

About 30 minutes later I'm off the ferry and happily walking up to my office when I pass her on the street headed the opposite direction to hers. We both have our ear buds in. We stop, smile, say hello, and tell each other to have a good day at work.

Here's my point:

Amongst 3 MILLION people in the Greater Seattle Area I passed my friend in the most concentrated neighborhood and I knew when I passed her that, inside the world she'd created inside those ear buds, she was listening to something I loved. For that moment, I was a part of that little world. We felt connected. We exchanged something in a live forum based on our interactions in social media.

Thank you social media for, once again, helping us all know each other a little better.

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