I remember when pastors and authors used to call our online activities and communications a "second life". They were seeing that all we do online can actually be another kind of existence and "life" for us. I think they may have, unwittingly, been prophetic regarding where our society was going.
It's not so much that we have an entire other "life" online (although some do, absolutely), but more so that we're able to divide our life and be different people in different venues, . . more than we ever could before.
I've been thinking a lot about social media, our existence there, and what it means for the rest of our life. I think there's a reality in social media and our online life, of curating and packaging yourself for your own online audience. It's not done with bad intentions, usually. Most of us are trying to be funny, smart, or effective in communicating something we're passionate about. But, what happens when we're consistently disconnecting our physical presence from our words and opinions, for a large part of our day, . . . is that we don't ever bring our whole selves to our relationships.
Why is that important? Well, it's become popular to "chop up" our existence lately. Quotes like, "You aren't a body. . .You're a soul, you have a body", and such, have good intentions to show us the importance of our spiritual life. But, it's a false dichotomy. We are a body, and a soul. We are always both of those things. Some of the angst we feel online, is because we're not both of those things when we communicate online. We aren't embodied as we communicate disconnected from our bodies.
I consistently error in this regard. I always send emails about topics that can never be covered outside of a face-to-face conversation. I will chime in on facebook threads that have zero chance of sufficiently covering the topic at hand :) . It's a source of stress in my life, and I'm thinking through how I can go about things differently. It's difficult because so many people in my life are living so much of their lives online. I want to engage them. I want to be involved with them in a more "day to day" way. In Acts 2 it says the early church met "every day" in the temple courts. That is what social media can "bring" us in our current culture of people being miles away from each other at their own jobs. But, it doesn't really deliver, does it? My wife has tried to break down the wall at times and bring people together. It is sad to me, that we have to consider such things and figure out ways to work around our disconnect.
But, that is our culture. So, we need to consider; How can we use social media and our online presence for it's best good? What things should we "get off" of social media and reserve for face-to-face interactions? We need to think through those things. I need to think through those things. I want to bring my whole self more often. . . and maybe use social media as a chance to "reserve" time to bring my whole self and meet a friend, . . later :).
We should use social media, facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. . much more for appointment making (for a face-to-face encounter) and less for personality making or culture making.
I think I'll go make an appointment with someone on facebook now.