Rewind: I’ve been a social media user for the last couple of years and seen both the benefits and limitations of sharing your life online. We see benefits in terms of the power of connecting with others around the world, and joining in on a global conversation any time of the day! We also see the limitations of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, with conversation not necessarily always leading to the community we so desperately desire.
It’s When Twitter Leaves You Lonely. Just because I’m in a crowd doesn’t mean I have friends. Just because I’m at the ocean doesn’t mean I know how to swim. I knew people in high school that were at EVERY party, EVERY weekend, and were EVERY bit as lonely as the guy at home. The same applies online.
What is Twitter Loneliness?
Twitter Loneliness is like the guy in the crowd- no real connections. It’s when you are surrounded by conversation, but have no real relationships (instead of Being Relationally Wealthy).
Evidence of Twitter Loneliness
Tons of followers or friends- nothing past surface conversation. Real, legitimate feelings of loneliness for a lack of relationships with real people. There is nothing wrong with chit-chat; sometimes it is totally healthy! However, talking about the weather or where you are going to dinner with a dozen people doesn’t necessarily lead to community.
Is Twitter Loneliness OK?
Sure, if you have people in your offline life that you connect with in any sort of significant relationship. If you don’t have these type of people in your offline life or your online life, you are missing out on life! You’ll be fine and I’m not trying to judge you, I’m just arguing that you will probably not experience the joys of living life in authentic relationship with other people.
How do I combat Twitter loneliness?
Online: Get into some other people’s lives. Don’t feel like you have to follow everyone; you will just spin your wheels and never move an inch. Pick a handful of people to keep track of and start small. Use lists, they work great for me. Ask others about their lives, what they are experiencing, loving, or where they are struggling. This is when social media gets fun! I have a handful of guys I’ve become pretty close with, and we have never met in person or even talked on the phone.
Offline: Go grab coffee with someone, plug in at a church, get involved in your community. Nothing beats a good, honest
relationship! The same principles apply as above: ask about their lives, what they are experiencing, loving, or are frustrated with. Take a risk and trust someone by opening your life up. I promise it’s worth it!
What if I don’t want to be “best friends” with everyone on Facebook or Twitter?
No big deal (you can make your own choices any way)! I follow a ton of people on Facebook and Twitter just to keep track of what is going on in their lives. I also follow several on Twitter that are mentors I may never meet. Nonetheless, these people are not an attempt to replace real community in my life.
Ok, how else can we avoid Twitter Loneliness?? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments! What above is tough for you? Let’s chat!
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