Do I live in the real world?

The amount of articles I have read recently about how as a nation we basically suck at communicating in the real world.

“But I do, I do!” I hear you say? No, apparently Facebook, Twitter, BBM, Whatsapp and whatever else doesn’t count. WHAT??

After reading Jameela Jamil’s column, “Cyber schmyber”, in Company magazine (bought to wile the time away waiting for a train) she made the point – “In a world where we have never been so well connected, in truth, we have never been more detached”.

Some truth, because after a weekend away with my university mates who I’m totally ashamed to admit some of them I had not seen since graduation night over 8 months ago, I realised that although I had seen plenty of their pictures, Facebook statuses, Twitter updates thinking I knew what had been happening in their lives, I really didn’t know half the details!

Another point from Jamil’s column is that we only see an “edited glimpse” of what our friends are up to. There isn’t one single person who can whole heartedly, truly and honestly say they don’t edit their photo albums missing out those ridiculously drunken ones or “ugly” pictures, or spend a good few minutes thinking of the perfect status or tweet or text message. For me I admit I prefer Twitter, sometimes I act erratically and tweet nonsense other times I carefully construct my 140 characters into something I think resembles wit and intelligence in the hope I get a retweet or a response with a gratifying nod of approval from a follower.

I edit myself to appear how I want people to perceive me in that online snapshot, it’s a bad habit but who can truly be themselves in a network full of famous people that appear to have such better lives, or even normal people who are your “friends” on Facebook that like to brag about what they have done that day or week that is obviously better than your life. Sometimes that can honestly make you feel like an inadequate twat unworthy of connecting with anybody.

I returned from my weekend away feeling happy purely for seeing good friends face to face, laughter and alcohol helped along the way of course. But I couldn’t help but tweet my way through just to make sure everybody else knew where I was, what I was doing or what I’d just laughed at that very second. It’s now second nature to do something or see something and be thinking about how to share it with everyone on your online community.

Why is that? It’s like writing a diary that everyone can read. You miss something and you can turn back to that page by trawling through tweets and statuses as they are seemingly forever captured on the world wide web. It’s totally impossible to avoid, we are connected online and it makes it easier to keep in touch and update each other quickly, I want to live in the real world but I can’t stop tweeting.

I feel I’m rambling, but one thing is for sure we have a need for attention and social interaction it’s how we survive, imagine not communicating with anybody for a whole week?! We seek the validation and feedback from the interaction and if the only way we can get this is living in a virtual world then I’m afraid it is a case of so be it.

But everyone should remember as Stylist magazine so eloquently put it:
“Live it, don’t tweet it”.

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