I’m the first to tell you what Instagram filter I look best in (Valencia, don’t forget) and I will continue to tweet at Apple until a guacamole emoji is added #priorities, right?
Without social media, I wouldn’t be employed. For the past few years, I’ve inhaled everything analytics, content and user engagement, and I love it. But sometimes, I don’t love what it does to my heart. Or my relationships. And what I’ve learned is, it doesn’t have to be this way.
We are a pivotal generation, the make-it or break-it’s. We can do things today we couldn’t do yesterday, and the things we discover tonight will be outdated by next week. In a culture that tells us forward is always better, I think there are a few things we don’t always consider:
How can technology equip me to be the person I want to be? Will it allow me to be more compassionate, more intuitive? Or, will it give me an excuse to avoid the real questions, the honest conversations, conflict and apologies?
I hope we don’t forget what it means to love one another and remember to evolve our intentionality alongside technology, rather than leave it behind.
Maybe if we consider the significance of these so-called “outdated gestures,” we can pick and choose aspects to carry with us.
I hope you still know how to write in cursive. I hope you teach your children, and I hope you sign your full name instead of your initials.
Don’t forget the feeling of pressing your pen onto a fresh ream of lined paper. Remember bearing your thoughts in a journal that were for your eyes only instead of likes or retweets. I hope you treasure the sight of your handwriting and can recognize the penmanship of all your loved ones. I hope you leave sticky notes and write love letters. Let your pens run completely out of ink, and create, create, create.
I hope you don’t limit yourself to 140 characters.
You are brilliant, creative and have valuable thoughts. Think them freely without considering how they will be shared via social media. Breathe them in fully before giving them away. They are precious and uniquely you, so why are you so eager to place them in someone else’s hands?
I hope you remember what it’s like to receive a letter. A well-loved, postage-stamped letter.
I hope you are friends with your mailman, and I hope you send cards (not emails) on birthdays, holidays and just because. Know that time is best spent making someone’s day, and the easy way out is often the loneliest way out.
I hope words feel weighty.
I hope you spend your words, on social media and face-to-face, wisely. Let freedom of speech and instant communication inspire you into deeper, more meaningful relationships. Remember that we are all just people behind keyboards, hoping to be loved.
I hope you see through your eyes instead of a screen.
Capturing moments is an incredible privilege we have. But make sure there’s a moment to capture, and you embrace that moment before you press record.
I hope you realize the Internet is an incredible tool.
I hope you don’t take it for granted. I hope you use it to its full advantage and connect with old friends and encourage the heck out of your followers. I hope you won’t see it as an easy outlet for your frustrations or complaints. It’s not a venting tool, and if you wouldn’t say something meeting with a friend for coffee, don’t post it. These days, what you say has the potential to haunt you for the rest of your life, but it also has the potential to empower others for the rest of theirs.
I hope you care about the cyberspace environment, too.
As silly as it may seem, it’s something to consider. If we care so much about taking care of the Earth, why no mention of cleaning up our second, if not primary, residence? If we spend 60% or more of our time online, shouldn’t we take care of it, too? Invest in positive posts and words that carry meaning and encouragement. You wouldn’t want to live in a polluted physical environment, so why do you choose to contribute to and live in a hostile online space?
Know who you are.
You are not defined by your 160 character Twitter bio, your Instagram hashtags, or the pictures you are tagged in. Don’t listen to the secondhand, underrated opinion the social media world spits back at you. Be a person, not a profile, worth following.