The majority of you reading this post will probably have arrived here through clicking on the link to the post we always put up on Facebook. The majority of you are also probably connected through some sort of social media, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or… I can’t think of the other ones right now, and check it at least once a day, if not more. Most of you probably have more friends on Facebook than people you would actually call friends in real life (well, I guess that depends on your definition of friends, but I think the point is still valid). Anyways. Yes, social media is really really powerful. Think about the uprisings in the middle east, the Occupy Wall St. movement, and even our own CHP community! Not only that, I’ve seen Facebook used to report shootings on campus faster than campus police can send out a mass text message. People disseminate information, plan, and keep in touch with people using social media. That’s all good and dandy, but are we really that connected?
Personally, I find Facebook very useful, and am perhaps getting a little addicted to it. Having a smart phone with which I can access Facebook from on the go probably isn’t helping things. But after scrolling through countless updates on my news feed, I think, more than anything else, that it gives me a false sense of “oh yeah, I know what’s going on in ___________’s life”. Sure, you might know, but do you know? Behind every photo is a story, behind every status update is a yet another narrative. But those tidbits of information are often left out, unknown to everyone except those who actually talk to that person. Not only that, sometimes I find myself a little jealous that so and so is doing such wonderful things at their university, or that so and so got to see some famous person speak, or so and so is really loving and living out life at their university, whether it’s through extra-curricular activities or going on trips with their college friends. And then I have to remind myself that “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” -Desiderata, Max Ehrmann.
I’m not advocating for you to close your Facebook account. How else would we make sure you guys know about our awesome CHP events? I mean most of you probably learn about what events are coming up through Facebook haha. But what I do want to say is that your true friends deserve more attention than a 5-second glance on Facebook. So keep in touch with them; shoot them e-mails, call them, or even write them letters! You’d be surprised how many people appreciate a hand written letter. Not only that, the time you spend on Facebook is probably more than enough to even give an old friend a call to see how they’re doing. And be aware of how much time you spend on social media. Is it really that important? Probably not. And if it’s a huge life update, like someone getting engaged, it’ll probably still be on your news feed three days after its posting. So no worries. Walk away from the keyboard, from the safety of being behind a screen, and go for building up true friendships.
P.S.: The first link is to the poem Desiderata, one of my favorites. The second link is an article from the NY Times Modern Love Essay Contest. I found it a really entertaining (and short!) read.