Sunday Column (73) – communication on Facebook?

Now, this week there is so much to talk about that I save it for next week. However, there is something I thought I write about, and that is social media. Again, you might think.

My wife ALWAYS makes a point of telling me anything that is going on with Colin prior to putting it on Facebook. And, I appreciate that very much. However, I am sure there are a few dads/mums out there that see their child grow up on Facebook.

So this is not about having a go at anyone but a general question of influence of social media towards our lives. Now let’s think of the following situation: a husband leaves the house in the morning after changing his daughter’s nappy around 7:30. He comes home around 7 pm from work and feels exhausted. By that time his wife had a busy day with the daughter, seeing her speak, walk, and grow up.

Dad however thinks that he is losing out, so during the day he logs on to Facebook and discovers that his wife keeps posting videos of first steps, pictures and many comments on other babies’ sites. It looks to him as if his wife is enjoying herself, sees the daughter grow up and has all time in the world to comment on other mummy and baby sites. However, he also only sees on Facebook how his baby daughter is developing.

How do we live these days, and what is it I want to communicate with this story?

It is simple. Life is getting more and more complex. We (generally) don’t have time to meet with friends, exchange notes and sit down to discuss things. Instead, we are always busy, striving for more action and achievement. Hence we are trying to fit our social life in a little box which currently is Twitter or Facebook. That is where we share, connect or download the information we are in control of. It becomes our newspaper, our blog and our website, our “shout out place”.

And to talk about a child growing up is nothing different. Life is for sharing, isn’t it? But if one person uploads all the information, e.g. videos, pictures and the other person is only downloading the information due to lack of time, one person loses out. The person that cannot physically be there because life has gone too complex to actually be there in person to see his daughter grow up.

These thoughts make me chuckle and worry at the same time. On the one hand it seems nice that we have the ability to download any information, including death of relatives, growing up of children or first / last steps from a website. But, on the other hand, I am worried about the relationships we create, the relationships between people.

The classic and basic communication model suggest that you have a sender, then disturbance, and a receiver. If this disturbance might become Facebook, or communication changes completely to “Sender-Facebook-Disturbance-Facebook-Receiver”, you end up with more factors where communication can go wrong, and does go wrong.

To all those couples where the partner is not as sensitive as my wife, please think about the above. Think about what you share on Facebook and how it may be perceived. Our information surplus and our need to communicate make social media websites strive, however, that doesn’t mean that you can live a relationship through social media or see your kid grow up on Facebook. Because you cannot make them there either 🙂

Have a good week with some human touch.
Cheers,
Volker