Anyone who knows me knows that social media and I are still trying to love one another. I came into this social media space with a fairly open mind but admittedly a teensy bit leary of how it might influence my time and personal interactions. So far, I’ve been able to devote a reasonable amount of time promoting my upcoming book (The Shared-Meal Revolution: How to Reclaim Balance and Connection in a Fragmented Word through Sharing Meals with Family and Friends) and still maintain the life balance I require to live a peaceful, interpersonally-connected life. I’m developing my skills on Twitter and on Facebook, and Instagram-ing with growing ease. And, Pinterest, you and I will be getting together for our first date real soon. It’s been a fairly pleasant, learning experience, and I’m reminded by my ace social media marketing coach that I need to take it one step at a time, not let it overwhelm me (which it has at least three times this month), and simply build on my skills. Solid advice for any skill you are building.
I truly believe technology has a valuable place in our society and I enjoy many of the benefits, but sometimes this vast business of social media can be dizzying, distant, and clinical. For example, when preparing to comment on another blogger’s post or article, I’m challenged with the pesky demand: “Prove to Me You’re Not a Robot”. Then, I spend the next few minutes trying to read the faint series of twisted numbers and letters, often needing to go through a couple of cycles to pass through the security check. I’m thinking, “Prove to Me If I Manage to Decode & Pass Your Silly Characters Game My Comment Will Actually Appear!” (I’m pretty sure there are about dozen post comments I’ve made in the last month lost in the stratosphere).
Now, I fully realize that the security checks are there to protect you and me and keep some order in a chaotic virtual world (and those that write these security challenges do so with a spoonful of humor). But this challenge to prove I’m human wrankles me deep inside and makes me wonder about the standards we are setting for ourselves in terms of interaction. Are we growing too comfortable with automation? Will we increasingly rely upon software programs to regulate our level of intimacy?
Surely we have available to us right here, right now, an activity to help offset the more distant and impersonal ways we sometimes communicate. Grab a friend or your husband or a neighbor, and relax while enjoying some simply-prepared food, and be in the peaceful and tangible presence of one another. You need not pass a test to prove you are human. By sharing a meal, you’ll contribute to important aspects of humanity abundantly present at the dining table, and I promise you, you’ll feel more full of life than ever.