Friday, March 16, 2012

Digital Vacation

Over the last few months, my presence in the online world has increased exponentially. Until recently, the only social media site I spent any of my time on was Facebook. I had a Twitter account but used it so rarely that I might as well of not had it at all. As my program moves forward in school, I have found that it became necessary to become a more active participant in the online arena of social media; especially if I am to pursue a future in Public Relations.

As I began to become more active on Twitter, I started exploring other social media and social networking sites. Before I knew it, I had become a registered and active member of several different sites, including this blog. As I have come to know how these sites work, I find that I am able to get more and more out of each one in some way.

My Twitter feed keeps me up to date on current news and events; especially locally. My Facebook connects me to all of the amazing people I have been blessed with knowing over the course of my life. Blogspot has given me a medium in which to express myself and share my opinions and ideas with others from around the world. Linkedin has given me the opportunity to network and connect with professionals in the career path I've chosen. There are many more I could list and many more benifits to my new found interest in social media. Truly, there is an art to navigating and properly using social media.

I began to become more and more involved with my online world. I soon realized that I began to feel very much rewarded through my participation in so many arenas of conversation as people have responded quite positively to me on many fronts. It is a wonderful thought to know that people value your thoughts and opinions; vindication for persistence.

What I missed was how quickly and deeply I became absorbed into the inter-web. I began spending hours and hours on end relentlessly following stories, updating comments, spreading breaking news, offering opinions and sharing information. I soon realized that despite the many positives I had discovered with immersing myself into social media that it lacked a very crucial and essential component: human contact.

For all the networking, for all the connections, for all the positive feedback, none of it can compare to actual physical human interaction with other people. When you are face to face with someone, it is an entirely different conversation. There is so much more to a conversation than the syllables and words being exchanged between two parties. A bond is made, however small and temporary, that can never be artificially recreated with technology. I missed people; I missed human interaction. In fact I craved it.

So, with this revelation in hand, I did what was necessary to remedy the problem: I am taking a small vacation. I've left the hustle and bustle of the city to return home to the small community in the country from which I was raised to spend some quality time with friends and family. When I have completed posting today's blog entry, I will be closing my laptop to social media and the internet until Monday (although I will take the time to post my regularly scheduled Sunday Afternoon Poetry.). I'm going to take some time to enjoy life beyond the digital.

There is nothing wrong with social media and networking. They are wonderful tools and technologies that allow us to communicate with each other on a scale never before imagined. We are able to connect with lost friends, new friends and family instantly and at our leisure. With so much to offer us it is very easy to understand how we can quickly become deeply rooted in our digital social world. I strongly urge you to give yourself a break. There is no substitute in value or experience of real human interaction. So as you go about your very busy digital lives, take a day, take two, and leave your technology at home and go visit friends and family; believe me, not only will they be happy you did, you will be happier.

Have a great weekend my friends and remember to take the time to reach out and touch someone; and I don't mean pick up a phone.