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Social Media and Imaginary Friendships

Does social media make you feel more connected or more isolated?

For me, it’s hard to tell.  I’ve made some in-real-life friendships that were started by social media.  I can even thank social media for my marriage– a mutual friend introduced Mr. Beez to my blog, and he got to know me well online before we met in person (single ladies, take note: if he’s interested in you, he should be reading what you write.  If he doesn’t care to read what you have to say, move on!)  I’ve learned about so many cool events and creative people online, without the internet I’d have a much quieter existence.

In contrast, there are times when social media makes me feel very alone.  When I see friends post fun events they’re at online, and I’m not there, I feel a twinge of exclusion (even despite the rational part of my brain saying that you can’t be invited to everything, all the time, by everybody).  Or sometimes, when I meet a blogger I’ve been reading for a while in real life, and assume they know as much about me as I know about them, only to learn they’ve never heard of my blog (how can I even expect to know that I’m there, if I’m not leaving a comment).  Although such minor occurrences, they’re a splash of cold water reminding me that there is a difference between life online and life out in life, and the interactions between the two aren’t the same.

The most surreal online/real life dichotomy I experienced was when I made the mistake of reading internet messageboards on pregnancy and parenting issues.  There is only one thing more absolutely insane than the comments sections on local news sites, and those are pregnancy/parenting messageboards.  The shrieking hysteria of those boards quickly convinced me that my family and friends were all judging me fiercely, were out to derail all of my best efforts about my child, and that if strayed from the learned advice of those messageboards and succumbed to the foolish persuasion of my family or those know-nothing doctors, then I wasn’t acting in my baby’s best interests (this is why now I offer my pregnant friends this sage advice: DO NOT READ THE INTERNET WHILE PREGNANT.)  To put it mildly, while pregnant, the internet made me crazy and at times drove a wedge between me and my not-as-crazy husband.  This, for sure, was isolating.

If yinz internet friends are up for some in-real-life hanging out, I’ve got these cool events on my calendar this week:

February’s DoughRaiser and TweetUp at Uno’s Chicago Grill, benefiting Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank  Grab a slice of pizza, chat with some tweeps, and raise some cash for the Food Bank.  What’s not to love?

After Hours @ the Library!  (this event has sold out, but there’s another one coming up in May)  Cocktails and snacks and music in the library? Sign me up!

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Creative Mornings Pittsburgh’s breakfast talk with Mike Capsambelis of Awesome Pittsburgh This breakfast talk series has been a smashing success. The tickets go FAST, so you need to get to your computer quickly when they become available. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to chat with energetic and creative people, and is a bright way to kick off a Friday morning.

So where do you weigh in? Does social media make you feel more connected? Or does it make you feel isolated?

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