If you’re reading this, I’ll bet it’s not on a printed page. I know I didn’t print it for you. You’re reading it on your Internet connection. Many people, though not all people, have Internet connections. Some have more than one. An Internet connection has become so pervasive that many people feel you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have one.
You and I can’t make this connection save for the Internet. It’s doubtful that this piece I’m writing will ever make it to print, much less find its way to you, wherever you are. So the only way that you can read it is through your Internet connection. We connected on our connections.
We can post on Facebook, or Tweet, or Tumble, or make some electronic entry on any number of other social media outlets, and connect almost immediately with other people. If your post or tweet or tumble or whatever happens to go viral, then you may well connect with more people than you have ever imagined.
But in spite of all of these connections that we are able to make these days, I feel like we’re more disconnected than we have ever been. I feel like some people might use these connections as a substitute for face to face interaction with other human beings. From the comfort of our own spaces we can connect with people all over the world, so why would we talk to anyone? That’s so archaic! But is it the same as a conversation with your relative or friend or neighbor? Probably not.
There are other drawbacks to all this connectedness. I have to shake my head every time I see a group of people sit down at a table in a coffee shop or a restaurant and immediately take out their smart phones and check their social media accounts. They choose to meet face to face with other human beings, with an opportunity to make a real connection, and then instead choose to attend to their virtual connections and not the real ones right there in front of them. It’s even sadder when they try to have a real conversation while posting and tweeting and tumbling the whole while. Seems kind of rude.
Then there’s the loss of decorum, of common decency, that can happen with these virtual connections. We all should know that the words we write on our virtual connections are devoid of the interpersonal cues that human communication requires for proper understanding. What I think I write in the kindest way can be interpreted in all the wrong ways. Or, in a much worse behavior, we may choose to write in a way that is offensive or demeaning, that we would never dream of doing face to face. The anonymity frees some of us from the prohibitions of decent human behavior.
Now, I know there’s a tinge of hypocrisy in what I write. “Come on rudyblues, you’re using your internet connection right now. Don’t go all preachy on us!” Yes, I know I am. But it still doesn’t stop the feeling I get that, somehow, we’re losing our abilities to connect in the most important way. Face to face, one on one, human to human.
Let’s talk. It’ll make us feel more connected.