Social media is a distraction. It’s good for a lot of things, but one thing that it’s bad for is taking people from the acquaintance level to something deeper. It’s also bad for maintaining friendships at the depth that are worth having. There’s a lot of good, but there’s downsides.
Do I still think that? Yes. Earlier today, I found myself thinking, “I don’t know what Zach Lowe thinks about the last Celtics game!” I wonder what my friends are doing, thinking, and feeling. Not everyone shares all of those on social media (I do), but not being current with what is shared is a little saddening.
I figured out why that is: social media is passive. I knew that, I guess, but I’m really living it right now. If I want to know what’s going on with people, I really have to ask them, and that requires showing interest. Friending, following, and the like are passive interest, but there’s no substitute for actually asking what’s going on.
But I do find that I am connecting with the people directly in front of me better than I have before, even the one person trying to cheer me up today with inane stories. And in those situations where I am communicating electronically, I’m doing it with intention and interest, and I think that’s a good thing.
But I do miss being able to vent. I’d go off on a three-tweet spree about how completely terrible GoDaddy is. I’d recreate it here, but there’s no point in it. My anger is ephemeral, or at least it should be, and at the end of the day, I don’t deal with these assholes anymore.1 The relief valve nature is nice, and it’s probably 15-20% of what I use Twitter for anywhere. As I find myself in a cauldron of anger right now, it would be nice to have, but whatever.