Why Can’t We Just Sit and Talk?

The problem with social media is that it isn’t social. At least that’s been my experience. “Social” activities, for me, involve an immediate give and take, this is possible because all the people involved are in the same place, sitting, standing, drinking, eating, playing games or participating in sports. Regardless of the actual activity, it is social because you can see, hear, smell, touch (even taste if the occasion warrants) everyone who’s there.TALKING

I have yet to have any sensory experience over social media, and believe me the senses are as important to social events as actually being present. We use our senses to gather information about those who are with us, to mark the occasion and make it memorable, to help ourselves be comfortable. How can FB, Twitter, even Pinterest (although that one does appeal to the visual senses) compete with the physical experience of being social.

ComputerI find social media to be somewhat artificial, trying to create atmosphere in cyber-space, which is essentially a vacuum. The one thing social media can do that simply sitting and talking can’t is provide a medium for relatively rapid long-distance communication. I can have conversations of a sort with anyone anywhere in the world as long as we’ve both agreed to the restrictions of the format and have accounts on the same ‘network.’ I’m delighted to be able to encounter such a wide range of people. But I honestly don’t feel very social. I feel a tad awkward and wonder if anyone is really receiving whatever message I’ve tried to send through cyber space.

So leave a comment and let me know what you think. Is social media activity your thing, or would you rather just sit and talk?

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8 thoughts on “Why Can’t We Just Sit and Talk?

  1. There are up and down sides to both, I think. I agree about the sensory experiences, and even online there can be awkward silences. Great post, Rue!

  2. I’m socially awkward, as I suppose a lot of writers are. When I go to parties and such, I tend to freeze up and keep quiet. Someone else has to start talking to me! I think a place like Facebook is a good icebreaker for me. When I go to a convention and I find a person I recognize from Facebook, it’s easier for me to start a conversation because I feel like I already know them.

    • Interesting, Stacy. Most of us have an introverted side. Mine is strongest when on-line. I’d rather shake hands and have coffee with a stranger than post on FB or twitter. Every time I send out a post, I’m making a leap of faith that someone is listening. At least face to face I know who my audience is.

  3. I love face to face conversation. That’s the reason I go to conferences. But the fact of my life is that my friends are all over the world, and without social media, it would be very hard keeping up.

  4. Michelle, Thanks so very much for your comment. I’m thrilled to find a like-minded person. If you want to chat, you can always find me through the e-mail link on my website, http://RueAllyn.com E-mail isn’t perfect, but it is slightly better IMHO than most social media sites.

  5. NOTHING beats a face-to-face conversation for me. Technology has created artificial “barriers” and so many people have taken advantage of the “anonymity” of the internet to bully and insult others, that they would never approach in real life. It removes personal accountability and we lose a bit of our humanity, in my opinion.

    I remember the early days of blogging, where the process was meant to spark conversation. Now, folks write a blog post and the post goes unanswered. Or worse, someone responds and the blog’s owner fails to acknowledge the comment. It used to be common courtesy to offer to follow-back or ping back. Now, not so much. As you mentioned, it feels awkward to comment or ask a question that goes unanswered, leaving us wondering if it was received or not.

    So, give me a quick chat in person, or on the phone, any day!

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