A few weeks ago my husband and I were in a restaurant and one of us asked the other if we were ‘checked-in’ yet.
A couple of seconds later I found myself taking a picture of our food and checking us in on Facebook and also on Instagram. It was only a couple seconds after the ‘check-in’ that we had our first ‘like’ and also a few comments. We then ate our dinner and I spent the next hour or so replying to the comments on our check-in via my cell phone.
In the middle of all this, the thought suddenly occurred to me that something felt really wrong with this scenario.
That thought seemed to plague me for the rest of the week.
The more I thought about it the more perplexed I became. I found it strange that 9 years ago checking into a restaurant meant something totally different to me. Back in those days (gosh I think I may be sounding old now) checking in at a restaurant meant that we would have told the host or hostess we had arrived so that we could be seated.
How did we go from checking in to be seated to checking in on social media and sharing our date with the world?!
And why on earth am I sharing a picture of my food with people?!!
My ‘check-in’ now seemed kind of silly and it also felt as if it were nothing more than a big giant brag.
“Oh look at what I am having for dinner!… its too bad you can’t be here with us…oh but wait, you are sorta-kinda here now!…well only virtually… and guess what?…now we’re texting with you on Facebook instead of talking to each other.”
Wouldn’t it have been much more fun had we had just kept our date to ourselves or better yet – how about if we’d had a bunch of our friends with us in-person around the table enjoying that dinner with us?!!
Over the last week, I’ve also compiled a list of what I have observed about social media that bugs me:
-We can soft focus our wrinkles and shave off 10 pounds.
-The sky can be a little bluer and the flowers a little brighter.
-We can crop out the stuff we think is not so attractive
-And we can always put on our happy faces.
But the truth is all the happy faces in the world on social media has nothing on a good old fashioned face to face conversation.
Real life just isn’t as perfect as it may seem on social media but the truth is I actually think I like it better not so perfect and with real live people close beside me.
I know it sounds as if I hate social media, which isn’t at all true.
Social media can be a good thing too. I love the fact that I am able to connect with friends and relatives that live far away that I may have never connected with again or have never even met if not for social media. I love that I can have a glimpse into the lives of my cousins and old school friends and I absolutely love seeing pictures of their kids, grandbabies, and vacations.
The truth is I even enjoy the check-ins of my friends and yes even their foodie pictures!
I think what I discovered is that for me personally, I don’t think its so good to have that connection going 24-7.
About a week ago I made the decision to take a few social media apps off of my PHONE. Not all of them, mostly just the ones that I feel the urge to look at all day long or post to when I am out enjoying real life. I then decided that when I use those forms of social media I will just sign in online via my computer or tablet for a few minutes each day so that I can catch up with those people I can’t see in my everyday life. From now on I am going to put away my phone so I can give my full attention to those people who are here with me in-person. I also want to call more and text less and invite people to lunch or dinner with me instead of scrolling through Facebook while I eat lunch alone.
Real-live-up-close-in-person experiences are what I am aiming for and hopefully, that’s what those people I’m closest to will want also.