Almost everyone was on social media even before the pandemic. When lockdowns started, living online became the norm, and it also became a way to stay connected with family and friends you can’t see in person. If you think about it that way, social media is indeed helpful for our lives.
Social Media Persona
However, social media does not show everything. Your profile may look pristine, but your real life could be a mess. One beautiful vignette in a corner of your home does not make all the mess off-cam go away. How do you find reality in your life and the lives of the people you interact with online?
Let small talk guide your conversations
One well-curated post can make a person sound wise or perfect, but it’s the small talk that really makes a conversation real. Whether you’re discussing a meme you saw that day, or you’re just talking about random life updates, there is no way to tell how the conversation will go. This is the beauty of small talk. With one small topic, you get to see how a person’s mind works, unfiltered. You can see similarities and differences, opinions and beliefs they would not have posted on their main account where they keep everything perfectly planned.
Look at stories
For those with beautiful Instagram feeds, the stories are the place to be when they want to share something that is fun and fleeting. It could be a disaster in the kitchen while they were making pancakes, or it could be a rant when they are having a bad day. These are more real than the movie-like depictions they show in their boomerang or videos. For Facebook users, discussions in groups tend to be more unfiltered than on their public profile, so if you’re in the same group as someone in your circle, you may be seeing a new side to them.
Make that call
Connecting used to have a deep meaning, but in the age of social media, this simply became synonymous with clicking the “follow” button. Voila! You’re already connected. But this connection does not often bear fruit, because you can stay detached from a person you are connected with on social media. If you want to build deeper connections, have a conversation in real-time. Even if you can’t see each other in person, a phone call would suffice. Or better yet, use social media for its video calls with funny filters. Talk about your days, wear sheet masks online together and snap selfies, or even watch a movie together. All the conversations that come up in between will be much more satisfying than just exchanging likes and emojis online.
Things have changed in the internet era, but one thing still remains the same: we want and need meaningful connections. Even if you can’t go out to meet each other, find ways to connect more than just exchanging social media handles and checking up on each other’s feeds. There is more to your life than what is on social media and granted, it might not all be good, but it’s real.
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