Thoughts on Connection
I’ve been involuntarily shaking my head since 8:15 this morning.
A sort of anxiety, just a few thoughts. Something feels inherently “wrong” yet fixable, and I believe it stemmed from an Instagrammer’s neutral, vague commentary on how today’s civilization is constantly focused on seeking the next best answer and applying artificial meaning to things in order to make survival easier. It was such an ambiguous piece of poetry that it could be taken positively or negatively, and it could be applied to any aspect of human life. In that regard I don’t think it’s as unsettling as I first thought, but I did apply it to conversation on how uncomfortable this Internet Age is becoming as a millennial.
This isn’t a new conversation though it’s certainly not as common as it should be among millennials. Even after embracing vulnerability and sharing more uncensored thoughts and content, I find myself disillusioned by the connections I’ve created and the moves I’ve made through this screen. I feel a tiring obligation to play a part on social media; to share my art publicly as expression and catharsis; and to express the thoughts and emotions I’m experiencing through a screen rather than to the people around me. Though communication’s improved since embracing vulnerability, there’s still a gripping, quiet disconnection between myself and my coworkers, friends, and family. It’s no longer a lack of communication which bothers me, but the incessant need to share with hundreds of people first before sharing with one; to be an artist and a blogger before a friend or a lover. To hold a phone screen closer than any single individual.
For many of us, it’s become commonplace to use our platforms as our primary means of vocal expression. If that’s the case it seems that strong, consistent interpersonal relationships have lost much of their importance and prioritization. Social media play the role of that best friend or SO previous generations might call. Our voices reach seemingly louder volumes and farther distances, but they’re certainly less direct.
This isn’t necessarily the worse way to live and socialize; many of us thrive off our extended social networks and find a way to supplement our day with the dopamine rushes that come from followers, likes, and notifications. It’s true, though, that these things don’t have any sort of objective social meaning.
Instead, meaning is found off-screen, together, in proximity. Meaning is in realized “holy moments” which need not be few and far between. Meaning is in everyday interaction when everyday interaction isn’t impeded by the whole Internet.
Now might be a good time for a break.