Continuing thoughts about social media and being authentically connected, of course the universe brought a new article to my blog feed: Does social media make you antisocial? The author of the article cites examples of how a typical (I'll stereotype and say, American) will most likely pull back from a stranger who spontaneously grabs a hand instead of lingering and wondering about the possible connection being shared. We are more likely to assume harm before we assume goodness. Even in our local school district, a recent board meeting stirred the community when they suggested that school volunteers be prohibited from giving (or recieving) hugs from elementary students.
Although I don't want or need strangers to grab my hand, I see the point of the author's purpose. Around me, I see my community as one that will assume a negative before assuming an action or event is positive. As I read the above article, I thought of one of my favorite teachers/authors, Leo Buscaglia, who would go up to strangers on the street and hug them. Leo also started a class all about Love at a California university just so students could learn more about love and loving (it's an action, you know). His writing and stories bring me to tears because they are so incredibly full of love. It's rare to witness or feel the kindless and lovingness that he shares in his work and words.
I recognize that my main connection to friends and family that live far away is via social media. I do enjoy seeing pictures of family and friends on Facebook (FB) and reading and responding to posts, but solely connecting in this way lacks an authenticness. I've noticed that a long phone conversation now drains me so I'm more apt to send a text, an email, or send a FB message. It's easier and it's quicker - but, it's also less meaningful. Tone, genuineness, and other affective components are not heard in an email. And, I can't hug, hold a hand, or just smile at someone via the internet; those things are really what we (okay, what I) need most today. I've grown accustomed to connecting in a quick way, but it's not the best way. I just need to find balance.