How do you take a break?
I went off the grid for a couple weeks. I think at some point I just got overwhelmed and felt like unplugging for a while. I think I’m going to do that more often because it’s amazing what you can accomplish while NOT looking at your phone, tablet, or computer for updates on what your friends, family, or strangers are up to. Don’t get me wrong, I like being in the know just like the next person, but a few things happened that made me realize people really don’t know how to communicate with one another anymore. The day of social media has everyone caught up in being behind a screen, poking out briefly to write a LOL or comment on a picture or video. And because of that I believe some folks have lost the ability to communicate, especially when you’re face to face.
I’ve had several conversations over the past few days and I see what social media has done to emails or the simple one-on-one chat. I’ve noticed that people perceived moods and emotions in emails that are not there. How can you interpret how someone is feeling through black text on a white page? It’s an email, not a novel with set-up script telling you how the characters are feeling. And being face to face with people while having a conversation…I was talking to a friend the other day, and there was a mix of interruptions and glazed over eyes as the other person was either cutting me off(forgetting that they were talking face to face and had to wait until I was finished talking, instead of hitting return on a phone or keyboard), or trying to find the right emoticon to turn my frown upside down. I’m not even going to get into how it seems no one can go out to dinner these days without putting their phones on the table and checking them periodically. When did this become socially acceptable? To be blatantly rude and ignore the person you are suppose to be spending time with. When did it become so important to ignore the physical body you’re with to socialize with someone whose not?
Getting back to the simple conversation. How is it even fathomable that one could engage in conversation, only to be talked over, interrupted, and not listened to? I blame this on texting. It is so easy to blurt out whatever you want when you’re texting. You could get out 3 or 4 text before the person you’re texting can even respond. That doesn’t translate to a REAL conversation. It is actually impolite to interrupt someone while they are talking, as well as start another conversation with someone else. This also brings to mind something else. Have you had a conversation with someone lately, and you realized they weren’t really listening because they were just waiting for you to shut up so they could talk? I blame it all on texting and social media. The very thing that supposedly is bringing us all together is chipping away at our real social skills. The abundance of instant knowledge has turned us into information junkies, feeding off whatever information we can getting into our grubby little feeds.
I’m being a bit of a hypocrite. I do use social media, for music promotion mostly, but I DO LOVE Facebook. It has reacquainted me with a lot of people and I will forever be grateful for that, but I find it odd that a lot of people would choose their Facebook lives over the real world, meaning, they’d rather sit in front of the computer instead of engaging with people. I decided to take a step back. I apologize if I missed someone’s birthday during my hiatus. I was basking in the liberation of not being in the know. It was hard at first. I had status withdrawals and tweeting pangs. I found myself typing in social media URLs before hitting the delete key. But after a few hours, my jitters passed.
I tried this hiatus with music as well. My 9-5 has me in front of a computer about 97% of the day. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer again. That has made my musical endeavors suffer. What have I been doing on my week off the grid? When I had the time I picked up my acoustic guitar and strum and figure out melodies. It’s simple. It’s easy. And it’s unplugged. Absolutely fabulous. If I was a real guitar player it would be even more fabulous because I would actually be making GOOD sounds come out of the guitar. LOL But, I’m still able to make music without being plugged in. Eventually I’ll have to sashay down to the studio and record what I’ve been tinkering with, but for now I’ll be happy with strumming away.
So what’s the point of all of this? I think in a society where everyone(the majority anyway) is plugged in, every now and then we need to step back and take a breather. Unplug, go outside and say hi to your neighbor instead of direct messaging him on Twitter. Call up some friends and go out and grab a meal instead of setting up a chat room. Go play pool, or meet up and go for a walk. Anything that will get you from in front of the computer and in front of people.
That’s what I’m going to get back to doing….right after I post this blog entry to my social media feeds! LOL
Peace and Love,