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Connecting in a Social Media World

Tis the season...

This is the time of the year that many people look forward to with excitement and others with dread. The excitement and dread often stem from the same cause: during the holidays, we meet our family and friends in person.

We’re nearly three-quarters of the way through an interesting decade. Social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc.) are entering adolescence. Even though in their youth they brought a promise of hope, community, and communication, we are learning that this promise may not be so.

Although we can learn more about our friends, family, and others via social media, the stories and pictures that are shared on social media are somewhat artificial. People tend to share a point of view weighted in their favor. The importance of spending time physically in the presence of others to really get to know them has never been clearer.

We are now very voyeuristic in our relationships. This voyeurism is only heightened by our use of social media. It’s much easier to scrutinize other people’s lives without truly connecting with them. The anonymity of social media has reduced the importance of civility. Most people would not have the courage to say aloud in a room what they’re willing to blast across social media. Therefore, our actual family time is nuanced by what seems to be a higher level of sensitivity. People just seem to fly off the handle much more easily than they did several years ago.

Try the following three tips to help bring connectivity to your relationships this holiday season.

1. Make sure that when you are communicating with your loved ones this holiday season you clearly understand what they're saying. If in doubt, ask for clarification.

2. Before responding, repeat the last sentence, question, or statement, so that your loved one will know they have been heard. This is a technique that is much easier understood than put into practice. Believe me, I’ve been working on this myself all year, and I still struggle!

3. When replying, speak with as much purity of heart, truthfulness, and clarity as you can possibly muster. Try not to muddy any waters.

These three things are very hard to do but are definitely beneficial to improving your familial relationships in this holiday season.

Also, remember that some people really do have difficulty during the holidays and a little extra dose of

patience and kindness goes a long way.

Wishing you a great holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Joshua Dudgeon

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