I was thinking about a short story I want to write — I have the title already so I’ ll try to develop a story from there — so I did some field research and asked some people their opinion on social networks — yes my short story is about social media (spoiler alert) -, and in summary the opinion of many people was about how it’s a really useful tool to feel close to the people that are really far (…), but we’ve all heard about that, right? About how social networks approach you to the distant but make you move away from the nearby haven’t we?
Nowadays, I don’t really know the real difference between platforms for virtual social contact, their basic structure is: you can share how you feel, you have a profile, you upload pictures, someone will like these pictures, a friend will tag you in some post, you’ll like that post, and thus begins the cycle, the cycle of virtual social interaction.
This is how us, humans, interact right now, romantic dates are organized through text messages, you have as many friends as followers, you are as pretty as your “likes” say so,
you begin to belong to a group until someone decides to get you in, your messages are relevant only if people share them, your opportunities to make or maintain a relationship with someone are restricted to your internet plan and to the Wi-Fi signal of the place where you are, relationships begin and end with a “follow” and an “unfollow”, and I could continue but when I start to analyze all this I feel sad and it makes me want to cancel my internet plan, and live like what is considered a “hermit” of the 21st century, but then how could I see my favorite Netflix shows, upload photos to Instagram, review my likes or give likes, and most importantly how could I get my message to you? A little hypocritical and contradictory don’t you think? I suppose we’re all like this sometimes, especially when it suits us.
I am not trying to make a revolution against social networks, don’t get me wrong, I use them every day, they are powerful tools and you have to have a lot of respect for them, since things once they’re published there, they become public domain and there’s nothing you can do about that.
- Sorry if it seems that I am sticking with the subject of social networks as if something bad had happened to me there, nothing bad happened to me, and believe me I have a point to share but it requires some introduction. –
Since we are all set — I served myself a delicious strawberry danonino-, I feel ready to share, I closed my Facebook account in 2012 — yes I’ve survived, I still have friends, I still get some birthday greetings and I’m still invited to some places (Sometime’s people forget about me ’cause they can’t find me in their friends list) — I discovered myself spending hours watching the lives of others, I came to know what people had eaten, what clothes they were wearing, where they had traveled, what they had bought, the places they visited, what they thought, things they liked, things they did not like, if they were annoyed with someone , if they reconciled with that someone, what music they liked, whom they admired, I came to know when a relationship began and when it ended, I got to know thousands of people that I had never seen in my life or that I had only seen once and suddenly I felt part of their circle and without needing to exchange a single word I already knew the things we do share and things that we don’t, I realized that I was a stalker and that I was part of a society of stalkers — not in the bad sense of the word or something that should frighten or worry you -.
So I decided to close my account (I’ve already had 1915 days without Facebook, but nobody’s counting -applause in the background-) and venture into the world to meet someone in person and talk to that person on the phone, send an email to someone from time to time, make a love letter, have a frame with a photograph, use the calendar of my cell phone to keep the birthdays of the people that I cared about — I don’t trust my memory- and everything to de-virtualize me for a while. It worked , for a while, until unfortunately I felt tempted by a new social network and fortunately fell into its new world that in my defense began with the idea of having a photo diary of what I saw or happened to me without anything else.
And then I went back to where I started, I share what I see, I share what I eat, I share what I like and what I do not like and I became part of the stalker community again and discovered that in controlled doses — like any addiction — there’s nothing wrong with it.
So I decided to treat social networks as a small country, a “principality” (like Andorra), where as in any society there must be rules of coexistence, laws that make us live together as a virtual community, there’s a social network for each person, and in each there must be some order.
At this moment anyone — especially if you know me and you know that when I get excited about something the words leave my mouth without control and without stopping — would ask what’s the point of all this? or if all this has something to do with my short story that I mentioned at the beginning?
Well my point is easy, simple and straightforward, what I’m doing is an invitation, to which I’m going to join, use your cell phone and talk to a friend, let your “lol” become a real laugh and be heard through the fiber optic cable, let your fingers rest from so much “texting” and instead use your hand to write a letter, choose the paper, even apply some perfume if you wish, write your feelings to a friend, close the envelop and paste the stamp with saliva, visit the post office where you live and send the letter. Give someone the incredible feeling of receiving a letter in the mail, everyone expects to receive receipts, bills to pay or online purchases, surprise them with a letter from you, a postcard, a picture, anything that connects you with the other person.
What I learned from getting away for a while from the networks is the incredible approach you can have with the people who are around you, I invite you to do that, go out to take something with someone and make your phone your second priority, it won’t matter if you don’t upload a photo to any network this week, your world will know you’re alive, organize your weekend plan with a call, eat your food without having to turn the stage into a photo shoot, do things you like, dress for you, travel to places, visit your city and buy what you want, treasure your experiences and become the number one stalker of the world around you.
Ahí nos vemos (probably literally)!