I strongly believe that one of the points of being on earth is to make connections with each other. To feel belonging and understanding. To grow together.
Right now, social media communities feel really draining.
There’s a tipping point where a social network moves from being a safe place for a small-knit community that shares what makes us human, to a larger venue filled with people standing on pedestals.
There’s a mental shift that happens from “This is what I am feeling, this is what I’m doing” to “How do I get my community’s attention? How can I angle myself in such a way that I get nods of approval?”
What we end up with is a composite of highlights; food, friends, babies and booze.
I can see that Facebook and Google are trying to recreate that safe community feel through private groups, hang outs, close friends that are auto-selected, but the overarching product association of “Look at the fantastic stuff I’m doing” is a powerful thing to break once it starts.
When we are creators in these mediums (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram etc), we create content that is easy to consume, that is designed for a skim format. For example, a picture of a smiling person will get more recognition, more pats on the back, than a photo focusing on shadows or an image that requires more than a glance.
Does that mean we unconsciously create our content to be easy to digest? Does that mean we stop digging deeper, stop presenting gnarly, tangled things that require more thinking and pauses?
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it”
Henry David Thoreau
What’s the cultural, macrocosm effects of this?
I want to celebrate the little day-to-day amazing things, like drinkable running water, a smile from a stranger, a kiss from a friend. The way the sun feels on your skin.
How can we have a culture that is geared towards more self-exploration rather than self-promotion?
You can’t truly explore who you are, what life is, until you’re in a safe environment. How can we have a community that says:
“Come here to talk crazy ideas without judgement. Come here to be vulnerable. Come here to belong, not brag.”
I try to foster this in my love letters, a sense of vulnerability, belonging and digging deep. You let me know if you have your own way of doing this and how I can get involved.