I don't even remember how many times I have written a post on this topic..some positive, some negative thoughts over the years. Even though I am less active on social media now, I am a big fan of digital innovation and its impact on our lives.
I just read a beautiful eulogy on Facebook by a very introverted acquaintance of mine. He has a written a beautiful story about his mother's life in the US. I read about a beautiful life that has just departed halfway across the globe in India. Even though I didn't know his mom, but reading through that post I felt a connection to him. I felt genuinely sorry for him. It's been more than a decade I have spoken to him or his wife. And yet here I am feeling a human connection to their family at their moment of grief.
Not all of us are extroverts. We use different mediums to express ourselves. My general observation is that people who are not comfortable with spoken word communication are better in written word communication. I am one of those people. I feel comfortable using the written word over intruding in a conversation.
A few years back I joined an Executive MBA in London Business School. I lasted two terms but that's another story. I, on the risk of tooting my own horn, took the initiative to connect to my classmates even before the classes officially started. We had about 2-3 get together before the term begin. We had a What's App group instated. We used to have quite a lively conversation in this group. We used to receive an average of 100-150 messages per day. And these were actual conversations! No forward or memes unless it was useful (like class schedules or seating arrangements etc.). Some of the people in the class didn't like getting 100-150 messages per day and wanted only useful information to come through. I believed that everyone has their preferred way of communication. Shutting down the What's App conversation might end up shutting down few people in the class. So we decided to have two different groups. One with only useful information, the other with conversation flowing. I used to read each and every message and reply accordingly.
It's like this blog. I love to write. That's the best way for me to express myself. Through this blog, I have made multiple friends all over the world whom I have never met in person but I feel more connected to them than a lot of people I know in real life. We match each other's frequency. They are very real human connections to me. I celebrated their victories, felt sad about their losses and got angry with their rage.
I used to use Facebook as a place to share my photographs. I love photography. Facebook formed sort of an online exhibition of my art which was not possible in the older era. It's yet another way of expression for me.
I get the part where some people are concerned about privacy and may not like the personal expression on a public forum. Data privacy is a real concern and just not through social media but also through shopping patterns, speech and face recognition and the list keep growing. However, the advent of social media, Reddit, What's App, Blog has also opened up more avenues of communication and human connection for a wide variety of people. In a way, it is a boon for more introverted personalities to communicate and connect. I know society and psychiatrists still frown upon such connections and don't consider them real but I don't agree. I think the future of human connection might be dominated by written word communication than spoken word communication. With Corona forcing the professional life changes of working from home idea, this may come sooner than we anticipated.
P.S.: 1. A manager once philosophically told us that we spend more time with our work colleagues than we do with our families (5 days a week, 9-12 hours a day). In essence, work colleagues are closer to us than our families, whether we like it or not. With the new work situation, this may no longer be the case. I don't know whether it's a good thing or bad. We will find it out in few decades.
2. This actually put a very different perspective about work-life. They say that you wouldn't miss work on your deathbed - I am not so sure about that. We are not supposed to miss work on our deathbed. We are supposed to be closer to our family than other relationships. That's the unwritten law. But if most of us spend more time at work than at home (due to the way work hours are constituted), isn't it weird that we are supposed to miss our family and not work? It might be even worse for a workaholic.
3. There are no family-aholics because no matter how much you do for the family, it is expected.