Social Media is Killing “Us” Softly

Social Media

Dear Donnie,

How are you? How are your brothers? How are your nieces and your nephew Jojo? I can only imagine how big they have grown now. How are you doing with your job? Didn’t you just turn 10 years with them and got a fancy watch, as an award for loyalty? What shows and movies you’ve watched lately? Still collecting comic books? Are you dating someone now? Who are you hanging out with now? (Modify with raw questions you’d casually ask your best friend.)

These are the raw yet real questions I wanted to ask you about. These are the moments I have missed and will continue to miss because we are so far apart from each other. I can still clearly recall our farewell lunch before I left for a new job and had to leave the country. That was almost six years ago.

Naturally, I can ask those questions to you on Facebook or on Google+. I can just wait for your Tweets and then reply or “favourite” them. Your Instagrams pop up every time you post something. I am your Facebook friend, your Twitter follower, your avid Instagram liker. However, while we are connected on these major social media networks, it is not enough. I am still longing for more stories from you, fresh stories you’d tell candidly and those that you can tell no one but me.

Let me put it this way: Everybody sees your posts. Many people (most of them I do not know or have not met) will like and comment on whatever post you may have: funny, sad, shocking, et cetera. Often times, I can relate to them, I guess you still are the same person I have been friends with since we were four years old. Operative word is “guess-ing”.

I still often feel that something is missing. Is it the fresh-and-funny-and-randomly-exclusive stories and jokes we used to share? Is it the intimate real-life stories we share exclusively? What is it? It is everything that I do not see on your social media accounts. I see some but I am still missing a lot of you—the Donnie I love and my best friend.

This is the main reason why I am writing to you this long letter now. I want us to “refresh” our friendship. I want us to tell each other everything through letters (in this time and age: email). I want to know how you are holding up with life. What are your recent challenges and how have you championed them? I want to laugh with you as I read your emails to me. I want to cry with you as you burst out your frustrations and help you deal with some major problems or heartaches.

SHARE

Ironic, because I think Social Media is killing our friendship gently; and yet I am using a social media platform to send this message through. As much as I want to share how I feel through social media, I also want to probe or maybe solicit others’ feelings about their own friendships which may have been affected by the social media frenzy. Nonetheless, I just want to underscore that I am still your best friend and I still want to share this life with you—deeper and more meaningful.

LIKE

When you post, I like. When you comment, I’d normally click like; and you’d do the same to mine. You take a snapshot, post and then I double click it. Of course, I like everything you’ll post. You’re my friend. There is nothing I wouldn’t, unless you know I wouldn’t. There are so many statuses, photos, tweets of your life that I am missing; and a lot of mine, you’re missing, too. I want us to share everything–in writing.

COMMENT

Yes, let’s email each other. Long ones! Long letters with no-holds-barred in the use of language—our friendship’s language (as if we’re telling it face to face). It may not be on a regular basis, because we’re both working and we do have a lot of other activities; but this would be something that is authentic and we can be more graphic, too. It would be a delight to read about all the funny things you’d say. If your letter will contain some problems that you want to tell, it will be a pleasure to share my mind and to be of aid in whatever ways I can to help you solve it.

A nice quote from Fried Green Tomatoes, a film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, said: “I found out what the secret to life is: friends. Best friends.” These words by the character Ninny Threadgoode made so much impact to me and my life. This made me treasure you and all my other friends more. This did not only make my life so much fun but it also made life’s challenges so much lighter.

Jay Valentine Lettering

We are now in our mid-30s. Gone were the days where we’d idly sat or lay down the hill beside the Church of The Angry Christ in our hometown. We were teenagers back then. We would talk about our dreams as we gaze (and count) on the twinkling stars. As blissful as it was uplifting, that would be our most effective activity to de-stress. Even if at that time, we do not know what stress means or the effects it bring to our lives.

As we continue to face the realities of life, we know for a fact that it’s not all happy moments (we should know that). We have both experienced loss as well. Both our parents had died and we have managed to live just fine. I know we will have each other for so long as we live. That is why we need to write to each other more often; to tell the stories of the life we are living, ergo, to remain deeply connected.

I know that we are both (relatively) settled now, given our current status and our jobs; it’s more than we’ve ever dreamed of and hoped for, I guess. To find joy in whatever we do–we must be cognisant. To be happy with whatever we have–we must remain grateful.

While social media is proven to be good and helpful for the enterprise, it may not be the best platform for us for it is softly killing our friendship; but apparently, while we are far apart, it is the best that we can ever have to keep us connected and become updated with each other.

I continue to wish you well and hope that sometime, somewhere, we’ll be together again. We’ll be physically there for each other; not some ‘liker’ or a ‘retweeter’. To be beside each other when one needs a hand or some company–to talk, to laugh, to dine or to watch a good movie with.

Love and care. I remain.

Your Best Friend

Lettering Credit: Jay Valentine

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2 thoughts on “Social Media is Killing “Us” Softly

  1. I could not agree more. There is such a tearing away of the fabric of real connection. I cannot begin to list my worries when I realize how much things have changed in such a short amount of time.
    And although I see the irony of my pressing the Like button and commenting on your post, I basically equate it with me talking to the TV or radio when someone has expressed an idea I wholly agree with. I can’t help it. It needed to be said. So, two thumbs up from this side of the screen.
    Cheers

    Like

    • I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this piece, @peakperspective. “There is such a tearing away of the fabric of connection.” You have said it most beautifully. Big virtual hugs to you! xx

      Like

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