Truth be told I have a love-hate relationship with social media. On the one hand I see it as a fabulous tool for both business and pleasure. Keeping up with relatives and friends (that I would otherwise be clueless about) thrills me. The ability to push out important messages across multiple channels for business purposes is paramount to our success. But over all, meh.
Part of the confusion I feel is watching the illusion unfold before my very eyes. I know things. Real things and the internet doesn’t portray these things at all. Instead it feeds me photos of parties and proms and people loving on each other and, while I am sure that is happening, so is a bunch of other stuff and that stuff ain’t so pretty.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all suggesting that Facebook or Instagram or Twitter become a space to share your deepest – darkest moments yet I can’t help but want a little truth to shine through now and then. Truth fuels me. I can’t live without it and social media is making me mad. Sometimes. Just a little bit.
The other day I walked into a local restaurant with friends. I saw a guy ‘I know’ sitting at the bar with a friend. I immediately wanted to say hi. But then I said ‘Oh wait. You don’t really know him. You’re only friends with him on Facebook.’ And I am immediately transported back to a day when I did approach ‘a friend’ eagerly shaking his hand and reminding him of my name as he stared blankly at me and limply returned my vigorous shake. ‘Oh, I thought then. He doesn’t know me at all.’
Such is the life of social media. You think you know. But you don’t. Not really.
So as we traverse this tricky territory of over-sharing and false intimacy let’s get real. Our friends are the ones we meet for dinner or a drink, share a day with or invite to our birthday party. Our work friends are those we work with on a project, greet in a meeting, and strategize via a phone call. We know these people. Some times deeply. We share our sorrows and our successes. Not just our ‘likes.’ They are our tribe.
Deep meaningful relationships result from these connections but are often hard to cultivate. They require a bit of effort, some connection and understanding, and lots of compassion and empathy. These are the life-blood of, well…life.
So, let’s not be fooled into thinking that we have 1,214 friends when we’re really lucky if we have a modest splattering of super good ones.
And, above all, let’s be truthful…if not always on social media then at the very least, with ourselves. A wise woman once told me to “pay attention to the man behind the curtain.” And that, I have come to know is where you find the truth, the best of friends, and those that will look you in the eye as they bypass your handshake to come in for a hug.
Unthink this: where in your life are you presenting an image of yourself or your life that is untrue.