I finally figured out why I don’t like social media. I can’t believe me it’s taken me this long. But you see, it involves feelings. And being a totally in-my-head geek, I don’t normally pay much attention to my feelings, though, of course, my feelings affect me profoundly.
I talked with my best friend Joel today for a little while. I got off the phone and felt warm and fuzzy and like I wanted to skip downstairs. Talking to Joel almost always leaves me feeling that way.
Then I spent 4 hours sucked into the maelstrom of social media. I tweeted, I posted status updates, and I did lots of back-and-forth conversations on various comment boards. While I feel a little spark of goodness and connection while I’m having those interactions, when I’m done, I feel drained and tired. Skipping is nowhere in the equation.
And that is why I don’t believe that these online relationships are healthy. They give us the short-term dopamine shot that connection gives us, but they go no further. And at least for me, they don’t give me the kind of joy and happiness that one-on-one, phone (or better yet, in-person) connection gives us.
I think that may be why theater is so compelling for me, too. I’d never attended plays until I was caught by the desire to act. It made sense if I wanted to act that I should at least see what it’s like to be an audience member.
Plays are less realistic than movies. The sets are paltry, compared to movies. The subtlety lacks, compared to movies (a subtle facial expression works great on a 60-foot screen but doesn’t work at all when viewed live from a distance of 60 feet). And yet I find them quite compelling. Why?
But it’s live. It’s in-person. There’s some kind of connection I feel with the characters in a play that’s just not there in a movie. People talk about the energy of having a life audience. It’s tangible. There are levels of communication that happen live that doesn’t happen virtually. And I simply prefer the energy of the live connection to the intellectual depth (hah!) of the virtual connections.