I have a busy brain. I am not quite sure why it is so busy at the moment, but it is. It is busy enough to keep me awake a lot during the night, to have me wanting to write as soon as I wake up so that I can capture all the thoughts I have had during the night, and to have me hopping from one thought to another, one task to another, and forgetting some of the important thoughts and tasks that need to happen.
Those thoughts that were so well formed, and desperate to be shared in the waking hours have evaporated – a bit like the fog that my part of town was shrouded in yesterday – there thick and damp one minute and gone without trace the next. One of the remnants lingering is about community and social media.
Tonight is the kick off of my human experience. (It cracks me up every time I say or write this!) The 101 local humans are gathering to meet, hear about the planned experiences, and put voices, faces and bodies to the disembodied social media chats that have been occurring. Except of course that, because this is real life, there won’t be 101 humans because real humans have commitments more important than gathering – family, work, life. I am guessing that there will be about 90 odd (pun intended) humans at the gathering tonight. The chat on Facebook this week has been revealing. 101 have been chosen. About 95 are pretty comfortable that they are not as cool as the other 100, have been chosen in error, and are worried about meeting people out from behind their computer, think that the other 100 are the glitterati from about town, and have no idea what to wear to meet other humans. (Of course I fall into the 95 – you know me!)
And therein lies the beauty of this experience. We are exactly what is required. Humans. We are humans who live in a great city and enjoy different aspects of it. Some are great photographers (not me), some are really good at tweeting (also not me), some can have a snappy conversation on facebook that has everyone at ease and feeling included (sometimes me) and others like to write, and share in prose rather than 140 character messages. (Yep – that is me). We haven’t been chosen for our looks, our body shape, our ability to confidently sit and chat at the best cocktail bars in the world with celebrities, or for our ability to dress well for every occasion. We have been chosen for our ability to share. To wonder, whether through pictures, words, limited characters, or more, at the places we go and the experiences we have. The very fact that so many have been willing to admit that they are nervous, anxious, unsure what to wear, and very uncool is a sign of how good we are at sharing openly and honestly. These are human traits to be celebrated!
This then lurches rather than segues into societies use of social media. As some of you would know, I think about this quite often – is it good, is it bad, and how does it improve/affect/damage our lives? Through the wonders of Freecycle I had a great conversation yesterday with a fellow freecycler. As such conversations tend to do we covered all manner of topics, during which he confessed that he had recently committed ‘Facebook suicide’ complete with a farewell note, and had enjoyed the results. Friends were picking up the phone, he wasn’t looking for hollow affirmation from the number of likes he was receiving, and he felt liberated. This of course had me analysing, reflecting, and wondering about my own use of social media – again! (Small wonder my brain is busy!)
I know that I do not have a lot of contact with my friends who don’t use Facebook. I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t write long emails of news, and I don’t send birthday cards anymore. I know that I am missing out on their lives and they are missing out on mine. I know that this is sad on one level. But I also know that they, who aren’t using Facebook, instagram, twitter, etc, are also not reaching out to me, sending long emails, or writing birthday cards. It is not due to Facebook that we are not connecting – it is due to our lives. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care, that we don’t hold them in our hearts. It means that life is busy, complex, crazy, fun and happening right now, where we are. It doesn’t always have room for more. It certainly doesn’t (in my case) have room for me to stay in touch with every person I have had a connection with. And that is okay. That is why when we do see someone that we have lost touch with there is joy, and wonder and sharing, and laughter and tears.
When I see someone I haven’t seen for ages, but am friends with on Facebook, many stories gets interrupted by one of us saying – oh yes, I saw it on Facebook. But not every story. Not all of the parts of our lives are lived out on social media. Often the painful bits are tucked away to only be shared with the people we see face to face, or speak to on the phone. Some are held close and safe and not put out in the public arena. Social media is not replacing our need for close relationships and conversations that involve speaking rather than typing. But it is helping us to be part of the lives of so many more people than we used to be just 10 years ago.
Yesterday, with my mother’s permission, I posted on Facebook that she and I had spoken and that she was recovering well from her knee replacement surgery on Monday. By tagging her I was able to let her brother, cousins and aunts in Pennsylvania know that she is doing well, reassure her friends in Western Australia about her progress, fill in the family who live in the same country as her but who might not be aware of her surgery (it is a BIG family), and let my friends who know and love her know that she is fine. And that, on it’s own, is why I like social media.
Right. Now that I have emptied two of the busy thoughts from my busy brain I must hit the sewing machine as I have projects underway that need my attention! I can slip in casually though, that I bought an industrial compound feed sewing machine yesterday. As you do. (Insert me doing a gigantic happy dance here – cannot wait for it to arrive early next week!!!!!)
Oh – and I died my hair blue. Because I can. I have a big personal reason behind it, that I will share in a week or so (don’t worry – it is a good reason) but my explanation, shared on Facebook, is also true:
As for me? I love my life. Today I plan to create great things – and hopefully get some sewing done!
Have a great day out there and think about how you might give people a little peek into your inner dreams – who knows where it will lead you!