I received an email from a good friend of mine last week. Since she has had a baby our communication has been spotty. She has no time for IMing, Skyping, Facebooking, etc. So, it was great to receive a long email, full of real-life details (and not one full of the usual platitudes: ‘I’m well. How are you?’). By the time I got to the end of her email I learned the main reason she had been out of touch: She had been waiting for more ‘exciting’ news to share with me.
And immediately it struck me how my communications of late with various people across my social networks tend to have a frenetic quality about them (mine included). A lot of people reporting about their latest exploits: Hawaiian vacation, latest blog entry, newly purchased gadget, etc. Even the banal doesn’t escape commentary:
“Just woke up from a much needed nap!”
“Going to lunch!”
“Took me two hours to get home. Traffic was horrendous!”
Has the frequent use of social media altered our state of consciousness? Are we all as bubbly, excited, and productive as we project to be? I know I’m not!
And the ubiquitous exclamation mark! I dare you to go one week without using one! I double dare you!!
In the constant back-and-forth that is a part of our daily e-communications and with the ever-expanding net of our social networks (those of you with over 1,000 Facebook friends or Twitter devotees, I don’t know how you do it!), how else can we express ourselves? Does the very medium of social media necessitate short (and sometimes trite) bursts of communication?
As our face-to-face time dwindles, I do wonder how the nature of our communication style will continue evolve (and some argue, decline). Yet, I love being connected to friends, friends of friends, and even total strangers. What I do miss, though, is communicating ‘old-school’ style, where it’s ok to just be—without the pressure of broadcasting up-to-the-minute status updates on your life.
In a recent guest post on Chris Brogan, How to Keep Your Conversations from Turning Into Broadcasts, Jacob Morgan makes some valid points about what it means to participate in the social media space without the constant use of a bullhorn.
Maybe there’s a need for a new social media site, one called: ‘How are you…really?’