With social distancing becoming a normality, now more than ever we need to re-evaluate the quality of our relationships.
A couple of days ago, my partner and I decided to watch the new Netflix documentary called ‘The social dilemma’. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend it as an informative documentary which explains a lot about how monetization works in social media services. Inevitably I started thinking about my relationship with social media, and so here’s is my social media testimony.
Back to my student days, we had a class about networking, interpersonal skills, etc. About a decade ago with social media being quite different, I remember the teaching staff talking about the importance of having a LinkedIn and a Twitter profile to connect with people in your industry. I like my LinkedIn profile, it’s like an online CV which always made sense to me. There is far less interaction compared to other social media. Twitter, on the other hand, focuses on interaction. Needless to say, I have failed numerous times becoming active on Twitter. My attempts in other social media bore more or less the same result. I just couldn’t motivate myself talking to ‘virtual’ people, whether they were strangers or not.
My students and I before Covid-19
My students and I after Covid-19
Meaningful summer school relationships!
My human brain is unable to empathise/sympathise or just connect with all the information in there. The amount of people, views, theories etc. makes it impossible for me to engage with all of them. But for me, human interaction without connection is meaningless.
Like everyone who owns a Facebook account, I receive lots of birthday wishes. I always thought that if people take the time to write a short message, it is my responsibility to personally thank them. However, Facebook has made it so easy for people to wish another happy birthday. There is inherently nothing wrong with this, but these people would have never wished me ‘happy birthday’ otherwise. I realised that for me wishes lost their meaning and now I only respond to people who get in touch directly through personal messages, calls, emails etc. I choose to connect with the people who genuinely care about my birthday.
My biggest teaching strength has always been building rapport. It comes naturally. I always ask my students questions about their life, their day. I will sometimes become indiscreet or so other people think, but I will always stop when I believe I am pushing the limits. That is how I connect. Usually, I have about 40 students in every school year. That is as many people as my brain can meaningfully connect with.
So, I concluded that I find it very difficult to connect with people over the internet. A human deficit? Lack of brain development and inability to become accustomed to the new ways? Who knows?
I decided to create an Instagram account for my website and YouTube channel. I just couldn’t cope with the ‘share my work and I’ll share yours’ mentality; the pressure to publish every day, interact with other channels through stories, comments; urging other people to follow other and so on. All these so that we get 1.5 seconds of some potential costumers’ attention. So many superficial connections that give nothing in return apart from some publicity.
Coming to the present, I created this blog and my Channel for me. To fall in love, once more with my job. I needed that because I had become lazy. I was enjoying the teaching aspect of my job, but I couldn’t find the motivation to develop further as a teacher. I am not looking to make any money from this. As long as I can continue expressing myself, get a few people to interact and why not, build some more meaningful online relationships, I will not deem myself as a complete social media failure.
PS This blog has been my way to communicate with other people through ideas, materials, lesson plans that embody me. It’s my online presence.
PS 2 Only now I realised how long this text became. Sorry for that.