There has been more recent talk about the impact of social media on our human lives.
How do they change the way we interact with each other? How sincere or narcissist are we when we network on social media?
This week the debate culminates as Facebook, still the name that comes to mind when we talk of social media, is turning ten years old.
Ten years ago, when we were squatting on a rock, in an ancestral position, like the man on the photo, we gazed at the ocean, imagining what our eyes couldn’t see while regrouping. Sometimes we brought our camera. But if we shot pictures, we didn’t send them instantly with punchy captions to our “friends” and “followers” across the planet.
Often alone on our rock, we would think, reflect, contemplate.
Even with family or friends we would be still, in awe of the natural beauty or simply of the shared moment, sometimes speechless, until we found it appropriate to talk.
Is this rock that we used to climb, for the reward of a quiet place to contemplate, and where we sat, above the ocean, the sea, or the valley at the foot of the mountains, still part of our lives?
Or have Facebook and the other social media platforms become our new contemplation rocks?
And if so, do we still have the possibility to contemplate when millions of us are gathered on the same rocks?
Has contemplation become outdated or a luxury?
Do we still even know how to contemplate? Do we even need to contemplate? If we do, where do we go?
For years – did I fear losing the seclusion of my contemplation rock? – I stayed undecided: should I or shouldn’t I be part of the social media scene?
As a person who loves to meet new people and having them over for dinner, I was tempted to jump in. After all, if everyone was doing it, it was certainly an extraordinary adventure, in any case harmless.
Also, the few who had stayed away were perceived as strange, outcasts almost.
As a person who also likes people who retain some mystery and needs quietness to focus and recuperate, I was more hesitant.
Would I be able to find some quiet time to think if I exposed more of myself? Would I still be the same?
I gave in last year.
In comparison to my late sign-in on Facebook, I hadn’t thought twice about starting a blog and posted for the first time four years ago.
But that was entirely different, wasn’t it?
Well, it was until I started to read more and more blogs and felt the urge to participate, to add my opinion when a blogger had written a post, which was in phase with my own thinking, hit an emotional chord, made me laugh or simply pause. Soon I was ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ so regularly that I opened my blog to comments as a symbolic change for the New Year. In the same way I had been reluctant with Facebook I was not sure how I felt about being more visible and open.
How do I feel a month later?
First, I have looked forward to meeting the people who had read my posts and had liked them in the past. Then, I have enjoyed welcoming newcomers.
Late at night, I’ve found myself thinking of what I read on this or that blog and reflecting on how human feelings and emotions can be so similar, states and even countries away. I realized that many bloggers mulled over issues that I was also pondering, had the same sense of humor, were mad or happy for reasons similar to mine.
Had our blogs become the rock where we used to squat and contemplate?
And if so, had they been able to replace the contemplation rock?
Many of us live in large cities where it is sometimes difficult to find quietness and solitude. Even when we live in smaller towns and villages, like I have for the last years, we don’t necessarily retreat from the ever-growing loudness of the online world.
Yet I like to think that each of us has a favorite rock where we pause and contemplate. Like us our rocks come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
A bench in the downtown square.
An outdoor café terrace.
A corner table at the public library.
A cove on the beach.
A booth at the cafeteria.
A lawn in the park.
An armchair in our homes.
A rock in our yard or in the wilderness.
Then I wonder:
Could blogs, where we engage with one another and later reflect on their content when we are alone, be our modern contemplation rocks?