“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity“
– Albert Einstein
I remember riding around the neighborhood as a kid, stopping at friends houses until I found someone who could play. I usually didn’t even call first. I just got on my bike and rode. I would see kids I wasn’t even going to see and we’d hang out and go see other friends together.
The neighborhood was our meeting place. The park, the school, the church lawn, or just riding around until we found each other.
When I was in high school we would meet after school and decide where to go or talk during the day and decide. In the summer there were so many friends around that we always knew what everyone was doing the next day.
Now I spend most of my free time with my family or having a drink with friends.
Certainly Facebook , Twitter and Blogging have become a part of my life and have value for me, but they are not my social life. Many people have began to live their lives through “social media” and I think it is important to remember that social media is still media. It is computers and phones and technology and it helps us keep connections, but there is a difference between social media and a social life.
I email and text message my friends all the time and I am certainly wired into technology. I own a technology company, get my business from the internet, and I am on my iPhone all throughout the day, but not as a replacement for the real world.
Social, to me, means human interaction. Real touch and connection and dialogue with inflection and emotion. Laughing out loud- not LOL. Social is about feeling each other’s energy and being in the same space together.
At the coffee shop the other day I heard a girl tell the guy behind the counter that she had over 1000 MySpace friends and a few minutes later told someone on the phone that she “had no social life”. But the irony reached its peak when she was leaving and the guy told he would look her up online to chat. He didn’t even ask her email address- he would look her up.
I flew to the east coast last month to give a presentation that could have easily been done online with Gotomeeting but never could have resulted in me feeling like I knew the client like I do. Monday I am giving a presentation that could be very big for my company and when they asked me to put together a powerpoint I set up a time when I could show it to them in person.
You can tell a lot about someone by their handshake or the way they smile. The energy of being at a ballgame cannot be reproduced by video. And Twittering four hundred times a day or spending hours on Facebook cannot take the place of simply raising a glass with friends to toast life.