Social Media Is Not The Problem.


I’m an introvert, and I’m happy.  I’m comfortable with my own company and don’t ever feel the need to be entertained. Why others need to is a mystery to me. Sometimes, that lack of understanding is a disadvantage, but I am most of all happy with myself.

Recently, as I have watched the news, I have been struck by how needy people are, especially those in power. The need to be noticed and to be seen to be noticed is in my opinion perverse. However, coming from someone that prefers his own company you may not agree with my analysis. We are social beings and have a need for company and companionship. There is research to show the benefits of our social nature. I am not so naive as to discount the work but I have concerns about the direction of our community building. I’m not sure we are building the communities we need. Your smartphone should not be the limit of your social group.

My favorite pastime is walking in nature alone, and I have spent hours walking alone listening and observing the life around me. I don’t pretend to have any greater skills of observation than others, but I find peace in those moments I’m alone.  Like most, I have my smartphone connected at all times and within easy reach. I am connected and enjoy the ability to interact when needed. I just don’t think I need to interact at all times. In recent years I have paired back and have tried to live more “in the moment” than via my connectedness. Yes my phone is connected but my notifications are off. There are no email notifications, app notifications are off too. Only those who may need immediate responses are allowed.

I hear the complaints about social media making us less social. Social media is not the problem, we are. Smartphones, tablets, and computers are excellent tools. The problem is the workman. The connected world is still new, and society is still learning how to manage these tools. We need to teach our children how to use technology to enhance their lives while also not being overwhelmed. The commercialization of the tools, including the internet, is a push to make you the product.  Social media is a tool, don’t be the product. Use these tools to make your life easier, use it to your benefit. Use the internet as intended by its inventors, a means to communicate over unbridgeable distances. If we direct our children to see computers as a means not an end we will all be better for it.

As I see it, this intersection of valid use and addiction to connectivity is where we need to intervene. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I would suggest the answers must start with us being able to be alone without being bored. We must learn to be with ourselves.

The ability to introspect and to self evaluate is essential to loving and accepting who we are. Loving ourselves and accepting our flaws is the beginning of understanding and acceptance of others. Acceptance of others does not mean we acquiesce to their opinions, but it allows us to be comfortable with our differences and not be stressed.

If we first learn to accept ourselves then we can more easily accept others. If we can become more comfortable with silence and our own company we will not need the approval of people we don’t know or will never see. Let’s spend some time with ourselves and unplug a little. I’m going to follow my own advice.

THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE CREATES EVERLASTING STRENGTH.


There is a time and place for everything. But there is always time for curiosity and learning. We are all born with a curious instinct, but it unfortunately it gets drummed out of us. I have the unfortunate curse or blessing of still being curious. I am always looking for a new challenge and very often finding it. I am not sure how I came to be this person, but I am sure my up bringing had something to do with it.
What exactly was involved I do not know, but I would love to figure it out.

I would love to pass my curiosity unto my girls. How to do that is the key question and my current challenge. In examining my up bringing the one constant I can remember is the emphasis on knowledge. My parents were quite permissive in their wiliness to allow me access to new and challenging things and they too were constantly acquiring new knowledge. They allowed me to spend a summer learning to be a tailor, that was a great experience and I still have the first mens suit I made.  We also had  pianos at home and my mother taught us to play and while doing music theory exams from the London School of Music, she shared her lessons with us.  My dad was always reading something new and my grandparents,  who lived up the street,  were relentless in their reading habits.

My mother would buy us extra books beyond the recommended in math and science classes. The emphasis on learning was everywhere around us. Even today my parents are still relentlessly learning new things and taking new courses and showing up much younger people. They are my heroes and I would love to be the same type of example to my princesses. Some say knowledge is power, but I say the pursuit of knowledge creates everlasting strength.