“We and others have done a bunch of work to show that if your real friends online say or do something, it affects you. But if your online acquaintances online say or do something, it does not. People, on average, have about 106 Facebook friends, but only five or six real friends.” – Nicholas A. Christakis, sociologist and physician
There seems to be a trend lately with more and more people swearing off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and going on a social media hiatus to take back their life and focus on the things that matter.
It’s hard to imagine a time that social media didn’t exist, isn’t it? A time when there was no sharing of statuses, making virtual “friends” and communicating your position on everything to the world. Back before social media, animal rescue was also a lot harder and was seemingly even more of an underground railroad of sorts. People actually had to pick up the phone and call rather than responding on Facebook group chats or via text messaging. Everything was printed out and mailed or posted…with a thumbtack or a hammer and nail and not a click of the mouse. Trending was something only statisticians worried about and only after pouring over years of data compiled on something.
Now think about how your interactions were with your fellow rescuers back before social media existed. If you cannot remember, try and imagine at least. You had a conversation over the phone; or maybe talked over a cup of coffee; you could hear the inflection and tone in their voice; you could feel the sincerity (or lack thereof) in their conversation with you.
Now fast forward to today and open your eyes if you had them closed. You can post, tweet, google and text almost simultaneously. You can inundate people with messages, pictures, compelling stories and requests for funding all while preparing dinner. When was the last time you actually spoke with someone…on the phone? When was the last time you sent someone a thank you…in the form of a handwritten, stamped and mailed thank you note?
No we cannot take social media back or shut it down and yes I agree that there is a lot of good that comes out of these rapid forms of communications. But stop and think about the level of sincerity, the depth of the relationships and the true friendships you’re making and how they are keeping you sane, and helping you save more animals. Consider the constant barrage of media and requests you are doing and how a relationship could transcend these. Just for a moment, consider having 5 true friends, instead of 500 acquaintances.