- Do you have a fondness for Facebook?
- An Instagram infatuation?
- Perhaps you blog?
- Or maybe you tweet? [On Twitter I mean ... your bird impressions don't count here. Unless of course you are a bird. In which case, apologies, carry on as you were.]
In fact I'm changing my status to "Yay! Me too! #greatmindsthinkalike" as we speak ...
But ... I do know my predilection for social media is not universal.
Not everyone feels the urge to share photos of their meals before they tuck-in or keep the world updated on their current Benedict-Cumberbatch-Preoccupation levels [fyi: mine are currently fluctuating between 'well, this is distracting' and 'oh for goodness sake I can't look any more'.]
Often, those who don't spend their days immersed in 'likes', 'hashtags' and 'ats' decry social media as an unnecessary and even damaging screen [quite literally] standing between genuine human interaction.s
And, let's be honest, even those of us who have embraced the myriad ways we can share our lives online can, occasionally, feel a little bad about why we're doing it and whether it's all just a bit well ... artificial.
But, personally, I'm not big on guilt. Or beating yourself up about things that aren't hurting anyone. Plus, my interactions on social media have brought me so many opportunities to meet lovely people and follow new ventures why would I want to feel bad about it?
And so ... allow me to offer up the following #truestory as a form of defence both for social media as a platform and for its conflicted users ...
Sometime last year, at an unremarkable photocopy out-of-town retail park, following a post-shopping cuppa with my Mam and sister, we were just leaving the café when we bumped into someone outside who simply could not wait to tell us what had just happened. What he'd seen. What we had just missed.
"Did you see that?" he asked us.
And there was no doubt it was us - three complete strangers - he was addressing. Looking directly at us [no self-conscious adult avoidance of eye-contact] he continued ...
"A bird just flew into that window!" he turned his head to indicate the plate-glass front of the shop next door.
"It went" and here he moved his arm in a swooping gesture to demonstrate the bird hitting the glass "then it just flew off!!!!"
He was amazed. Awed. Astounded. He'd probably never seen anything quite like it in his life.
And we smiled at his grandmother to show that we really didn't mind being stopped dead in our tracks by a small excited person in full-on live-reporting-of-breaking-news mode.
And then that was that. Once we were all up-to-date we went our separate ways.
But a few steps on it dawned on me that this exchange - as unexpected as it was - actually felt very familiar to me.
- the 'I just had to tell someone' immediacy;
- the instant communication;
- the straight-to the point directness of the language.
"It's like live Twitter! He just tweeted out loud!".
.... which is the key argument in my 'Stunned Bird Defence' of social media:
- it's a natural impulse in us to share our news with others; so natural that children do it without thinking twice.
- we sometimes simply want to make an announcement about our experiences; to define and document the moment by putting it into words.
... and some tell a friend ... and some use Twitter, Facebook etc. Then just as I responded to the little boy, those who read the tweet / status raise their virtual eyebrows and smile to demonstrate they heard what you said; they 'like', re-tweet, @ you or leave a comment.
So yes, social media may well be an artificial platform for human sharing ... but it's not actually an impermeable barrier between us ... it's a bridge. A connection.
Let's go forth and share to our heart's content without the guilt. Without the doubt.
So we're a society of facebookers, bloggers, tweeters, pinners and instagrammers. So what?
No one died.
Not even the bird.
|An experiment in illustrating blog posts with my collage ©Julie Kirk 2014|
If you'd like to connect with me online [for instance, the next time you see a bird fly into a window you know you're going to want to tell me all about it!] then:
- My Facebook page is facebook.com/withjuliekirk
- I'm @notesonpaper on Twitter
- and my blog is right here. Hi!