I deleted my Facebook account…
by Don Hartness
…and nobody noticed (the link is for those that don’t know why; it’s written into the code). I didn’t stop there either. Although I still have a Twitter account (on the right here) and a Google+ account (since I use Google’s platform), they amount to nothing more than a directory listing (I was going to say “phone book”, until I remembered that some may not know what that is).
All of that is besides the point. Here is the point: I couldn’t be happier.
Over the last year, I’ve made some new friends. They come from different backgrounds, economic classes, and genders, but each relationship has one thing in common: it’s not online. It’s offline. I don’t see them or talk to them everyday. Some I don’t see for weeks. But when I do spend an hour or two with any of them, the interaction is a precious jewel that I cherish for the rest of the day. By forging these relationships, I realized something that others are beginning to see, although it’s hard to put into words.
In a previous post, I made an off-hand comment that researchers have discovered that loneliness can actually kill you. If that is true (and there is a lot of research to support it), then social media is the first step. To use an analogy, social media is to genuine human connection what an endless diet of chocolate cake is to good nutrition. There’s nothing wrong with a little chocolate cake, or even a semi-regular helping of it.
But when it’s all you eat, wellllll…
Some have tried to describe this ethereal human connection that social media just can’t satisfy (such as here and here) and they’re quite good, but the link below is the best I’ve seen so far (since it captures everything the other articles are hinting at). I got this link from a friend of mine and it is, quite possible, the best four and a half minutes you’ll spend all year.
If you worry about the effect of social media, or you find yourself increasingly lonely in spite of all of your “friends”, then this one is for you. Perhaps your New Year’s Resolution should have been to lay off the chocolate cake?