Social networking is a central part of my life.
Most days, Facebook is the first thing I look at in the morning, and the last thing I see before bed.
On twitter I just follow, retweet and wonder how people manage to swiftly and effortlessly construct such witty quips whilst keeping up with the #qanda convo.
It is love/hate, my relationship with this surreal online mainframe that has become our lives. I see the positives and the negatives, the potential for both magnificent progress and destructive drama.
What I what to talk about today is relationships, and the impacts of social media in how we react to our friends, families and our surroundings.
You see, I have this friend. You’ve probably got one too.
He’s a pretty cool guy, most of the time. He likes films and photography and going to the gym. Nice eyes. Great smile.
But he doesn’t make plans. Like, ever.
There is always vague conversations and texts, a suggestion, thrown into what seems like the wind. Plans are made and then changed, developed, adjusted, based on what else is happening.
Yeah, you know him?
Well, to be honest, if you are under 30 you probably are him. All of you.
Because he is Generation Y, and he is terrified of commitment.
Woah. I know, we just entered generation generalization cray cray town which is a slippery slope to … well… bullshit. But bear with me.
With the rise of social media and other technologies like smart phones and laptops which never leave our person (or is it just me?), we are constantly connected.
Plans can be made in the blink of an eye, the amount of time to flick through a text and get one back.
As a result of this ease in communication, we make promises without thinking, without reflecting on what else is going on in our lives.
We don’t check our calendars first.
And, plans are just as easily cancelled, a message away.
It all kinda works when you’re in it.
When your mate bails on coffee – ‘I am SO SO sorry I completely forgot I have a million and one uni assessments I have to do but can we PLEASE catch up next week? LOVE YOUUUUU XXXXX’ – it’s super easy to flick a quick ‘Coffee? 20 mins?’ to half your address book and make a date.
Plans for a night out normally consist of knowing who is going to be in your general vicinity… an exact place can be determined later once you have decided whether you feel like cosmo’s and conversation or tequila shots and tapas. Or drugs and dancing. Whatevs.
The problem lies with the generational gap, the clash of social cultures. Parents, employers, older friends… they ain’t so happy when you dismiss the plans because you double booked yourself.
And they’re all like:
‘No, I DIDN’T get your wall post FFS, because I haven’t checked Facebook since last century’. (Am I being too mean? Sorry. Thought I should continue the generation stereotyping for purposes of standardisation).
When they were growing up, making plans was hard freaking yakka. You had to make a LANDLINE phone call, and organise a date and time. You wrote it down somewhere. And you, umm, were at that place, at that time.
My mum is always complaining that I won’t commit to her. And it’s not that I don’t want to hang out. The problem is, I never know what my friends are doing.
Are we going out Friday night or Saturday night?
Well, that depends if my girlfriend is having brunch with the boyf on Saturday or Sunday. And that depends on when his sister has to go to take her driving test, which depends on when the assignment is due and if she can fill out her logbook in time, which depends on whether his Mum can get off work early etc etc. YOU GET MY DRIFT.
That is the thing.
I complain, on one hand, when my beautiful boyfriend just won’t tell me what the fuck he is doing on the weekend so I can organise my life. But, I, in turn, will delay committing to people in case something more exciting comes up.
Technology has allowed for us to fit so much more in, accomplish things in record time.
But it also stuffs people around. And, it makes you wonder which people really care.
So I think it is time we switch off. Disconnect from our screens to reconnect with the people that matter. Make plans. Stick to them. Have integrity. Be honest.
Phone a friend instead of texting them. Speak. Laugh. Listen.
And have dinner with your Mumma. She misses you.