Social media has brought many wonderful people into my life, and today I am feeling very appreciative of some of them. Of course, the challenge with being ostensibly “connected” with so many at once is that I am in danger of losing sight of our real life connections to each other. Now that I’m online more with my new business, I am slowly catching up with some of the special people I know from online communities. But it seems like it’s never enough, and people slip away with distance, without quite meaning to.
I guess this is okay. I can’t hold on to every relationship, nor can I be as connected with everyone as they would like for me to be. We all pick and choose where to gift our attention. I’m certainly not the only one thinking about this. It reminds me of a brilliant post written by an online friend of mine, Dan Perez: The Klout Myth and Living Above the Influence.
I had a conversation via email with Joshua Fields Millburn in which he mentioned that he might be getting rid of email. This really got me thinking. Now, Joshua is a minimalist, so it’s not so surprising that he’s experimenting with cutting things out of his life. He tends to focus on the question, “Is this adding value? Can I go without it?”
My response to his idea is mixed feelings. I have been struggling with loneliness, and as I find writing to be therapeutic. Particularly when I get tired and sad, I find myself writing long, rambling emails to people I am thinking of, people I care about, and to those who help push my thinking in a particular direction that seems intuitively right, as Joshua does.
In any case, I’ve gone a different direction in this post than I meant to. All I mean to say here, I think, is that it’s dawning on me that I am going to have to pick and choose who I get to interact with “in real life.” Being online makes it perfectly possible to broadcast to a large audience. It makes it easy for me to acquire interesting and unusual people and connect with them online.
The thing that I am realizing, slowly, is that my online “friends” are really more like online “acquaintances.” Until we bridge somehow to a more intimate form of communication, and until we sit down over a meal or a cup of coffee together, we aren’t really connected.
I know… next I am going to get a flood of invitations to coffee 🙂 But that’s the point; I can’t sit down and have coffee with everyone I know online, or I won’t get any work done (unless sitting down over a cup of coffee with y’all *is* my work, which is always possible 😉
I love that. Perhaps I will try it. I can have a “Have a cup of coffee with Jackie day” and charge some hefty fee per hour. Now THAT would be an interesting experiment.
But aside from wild and silly ideas like that one, I realize that I am going to pick and choose. However, *online* I don’t have to pick and choose in quite the same way. It’s ok that I don’t always tune in to all of Dan Perez’s posts; we interact once in a while online, and that amount of “friendship” seems ok for us. I just occasionally wish I knew more about people like Dan. I wonder what he’s been up to, and where he is going. I don’t feel like a real friend to Dan. If I were to drop offline, I’m not sure he’d even notice. I’m using him as an example, but there are a lot of other people that fit the same description.
My thought is, I’d like to know a little more about what people like Dan have been up to. There are a lot of folk I both like and respect that I’ve met as I went hypersocial over the last few years. What I am going to try, I think, is a series of posts featuring some of these online acquaintances. I’ll call it the “Who the %!@# is…” series.
Maybe I’ll do Dan first, since he came up 🙂