Note: This is a letter I wrote to my sons but it can apply to many of our kids.
It’s easy, isn’t it? You share a post on Facebook, RT a link, make a comment on a photo, support a cause by “liking” it.
RT this if you hate cancer
Like this if you want to support #MentalHealth
You scroll through your Facebook feed, read the 140 characters written by strangers on Twitter, ‘heart’ pictures on Instagram, click on the thumbs up on StumbleUpon.
Look at me, it says! I care!
Remember the story The Emperor’s New Clothes? The weavers promised to make the emperor a suit that was invisible to those who were unfit for their position or, in a nutshell, stupid. So the Emperor was left walking around the kingdom naked. For the record, it was a child who spoke out and was all, “Dude, you’re naked.”
I’m paraphrasing here.
Social Media is a bit like this. You’re clothing yourself in the comfort that you care through your LOLs and Likes, your RTs and comments but the reality is you’re clothing yourself in nothing.
You’re the naked guy walking around the streets.
A scientist has never discovered the cure for a disease by liking a post, art was never created by retweeting a tweet, great athletes don’t become great athletes by reading articles on ‘how to become a great athlete’. Think of all the discoveries that never would have been made if those people had been too busy scrolling through Facebook updates.
I’m not saying social media is all bad. I love a good cat video and the 'Damn Daniel' vine? Well, you know how much I like that one. And yes, I know it's 'old' and not cool but guess what? So am I!
What I'm saying is a great many things have happened to me because of social media. But even more great things have happened because I stepped away from it.
It will never matter how many friends you have on Facebook or followers on Twitter. These are simply numbers, and they are numbers that can lie. What matters is how many people you connect with in your real life. This includes your “bury the body” friends, school friends, sport friends, family and even the woman you held open the door for at the store. You made eye contact with her, smiled and let her walk through first. What you didn’t know was she was having a bad day and you stopping to hold the door made it a tiny bit better.
Clothe yourself in something better than the invisible cloak of a virtual world filled with people you don’t really know.
Volunteer, laugh with friends, make discoveries, spend time with your family, move your body, get outside, read books, create art, put yourself out into the real world.
The warmth it will provide your soul is beyond anything you will ever find in front of your computer screen.