A Question of Connection

“Everyone’s connected but no one is connecting,
the human element has long been missing.
Tell me have you seen it? Have you seen it?
Or are we alone?”
– 
Lyrics from Alone by Armin van Buuren

I’m currently obsessed with Armin van Buuren’s new album Intense, especially the track Alone; on a superficial level the song is pure aural enjoyment but offers the listener a truly thought-provoking experience when you listen to the lyrics. I found myself considering our human need for connection. We live in an age where you can avoid physical human interaction almost completely but can digitally connect with people more intimately than ever before. All over my twitter timeline I’ve seen tweets about people’s virtual connections and how social media has impacted our human interactions.  Notebook of love tweeted: “Relationships are harder now because conversations becomes texting, arguments become phone calls, and feelings become tweets”

When I created this blog one driving force behind it was the need to make a connection with others, to inspire the way so many others have inspired me. I wanted to feel a part of the bigger picture to leave my mark in whatever way the future has set out for me. What I didn’t expect was how this desire would impact and affect me. I’ve been reluctant to post my personal thoughts because even though I’m relatively anonymous the process can leave the author feeling very exposed. There is also something to be said about the catharsis of allowing yourself to be vulnerable even if you’re still hiding behind the screen.  The various social media communities offer us a way to connect with like-minded people who weren’t accessible in the past, virtual strangers can become best friends without ever meeting in the physical world. One of my closest friends has never physically met me but I feel more connected to her than some people I have known almost my entire life. Our shared pop culture interests allowed us to develop a very real friendship, which I have found is increasingly rare for adults. I am constantly interacting with people in my day-to-day life but have yet to make a connection as deeply as the few I have forged during my brief foray into this social media world. There are so many inspiring stories that have left me in awe and rejuvenated my belief in the good of humanity. There is a melancholic feeling that comes from realizing that some of my more profound interactions have come through a screen but I’m also hopefully optimistic for how I can translate my virtual social confidence into the real world.

So if this is our future what does that mean for connections? I’ll leave you with the lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

“If this is communication
I disconnect
I’ve seen you, I know you
But I don’t know
How to connect, so I disconnect”
Lyrics from Communication by The Cardigans

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