Society has experienced an evolution, a redefining of sorts. Our perception of how we connect to the world around us has changed, along with how we interact with others. Somewhere, somehow in all this, we have lost our connection to each other. It seems odd that we now have social media that was intended to bring us closer together, but we are not any closer, we just have more facts about each other. We have connected with people that we probably have not thought about in many years because their name popped up as a suggested connection.
The odd thing that has happened is that through all of these so called connections, we have truthfully become more distant. Our knowledge of each others lives would appear to be greater, but we are just catching the highlight reels of people’s lives, marriages, children and careers.
Our lives are like a castle; we have walls and moats for security and only allow in those we have chosen to, not everyone we meet. In recent years though, we have torn down the walls of security and we are left only with a moat. All the world can see your trials and triumphs. When we watch someone in this manner, we begin to think that we know them. Much like the characters on a television show, we don’t actually know them, we are only familiar.
A few short years ago, it would be normal to have only a few friends and we would not have had to list them. These friends would be very close, we would know many details of their lives, both good and bad.
Something else that has happened in all of this, we have not only become disconnected from those around us, but also the world around us, the environment. We no longer enjoy nature or it’s beauty. We go on a hike or just to a park and we cannot wait until we get back to our cell signal. If there is a signal, you will find people of all ages sitting around with there heads down, looking at their phones, meanwhile, there is so much to see around them.
Through our cell phones we now have every piece of information that one could need in the palm of our hand. We have become addicted to information, mostly useless information. I will admit that I am just as guilty as everyone else, but I am learning. I have made a conscious effort to put it down and enjoy the world around me. When I am out on a trail, I will rarely take a photo, especially on training runs. I have succumbed to the trend of “run-fies” and taken a few at some of the more scenic spots I come across. I feel like this is a little different, in the past one might have had a small camera to record a memory.
We must ask ourselves, where is the limit, when should I put the phone down and most importantly, do we truly know a person? How is it that we become an honest friend, not a “Facebook friend”? We can only do this through time spent together and sharing experiences. Screen time will never replace actually being with someone.
Training or racing together can build bonds. I think this is why the running community is usually close in most communities. The people have spent time with each other and had that face to face relationships forged. They haven’t been watching from afar across the moat at you struggle, they have been there struggling with you. Bonds and trust have lowered the draw bridge over the moat.
Social media has it’s place. There are many good things that have come from it. There are even many true friendships that have been made from it, but we must always ask ourselves, are we a real friend to others or a Facebook friend?