I’m having a conversation on Google+ about social media, and it connected up with an exercise I did today to produce a rather puzzling realization.

Social media has certainly broadened who I know and how we connect. It’s because of social media that I have met some of the great in-person people I know. And I definitely use it to keep in touch with people I’ve met at conferences, etc. It’s just such a weird thing to me.

I’m working my way through a process of re-examining my life, and I did an exercise today of writing down my happiest memories. They mostly fell into categories of: “times I was hanging out in person with friends,” “times I was alone in a nourishing/replenishing environment,” and “times I was performing.” When I think about those memories, I feel really good. I don’t feel really good when I think about my social media interactions, however. I don’t feel bad, either. And that, I think, is why I raised the question. For me, social media relationships are cerebral, not visceral.

That’s great for work, accomplishment, and idea exchange. But it’s the visceral community that, as revealed by this exercise, brings me joy. It’s also the visceral community that make me feel supported, like someone’s got my back, etc. So I wonder how much my social media actually supplants or shifts my relationships from “happy-making” to “engaged-making.” Those aren’t the same thing, and I personally prefer the former to the latter.

The Power of Visceral Relationships

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