Monday, February 25, 2019

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

The Internet is one thing and its opposite. It could 
remedy the loneliness of many, but it turns out it has 
multiplied it; the Internet has allowed many to work 
from home, and that has increased their isolation. 
And it generates its own remedies to eliminate this 
isolation, Twitter, Facebook, which end up increasing it. 
---  Umberto Eco

Until we learn how to temper our insatiable lust for social recognition—which social media companies capitalize on—technology will continue to erode our experience of the real world. We will continue to experience less face-to-face interaction and an elusive inner craving for real people in our lives.

Face-to-face relationships are already becoming a nostalgic concept; many are unwilling to cede the convenience and cool detachment of their digital personas to recapture them. Yet, the craving remains.

For this reason, it is no coincidence that “reality shows” became popular after the advent of social media. Before the Internet, many would have responded to the concept of a reality TV show with “Why would I want to watch someone like me?” Now we watch because we are not viewing people like ourselves; rather, we are viewing people like who we once were.

A bi-product of our new affinity for viewing rather than experiencing life is that we are devastatingly lonely. According to a Cigna study based on the UCLA Revised Loneliness Scale released in April 2018, almost 50 percent of Americans are now lonely.

Make a commitment to rid yourself of the illusion that took root somewhere in the back of your mind over these past fifteen years that you are somewhat famous now that you have followers on social media. Much more important than their approval of you is your approval of yourself—an approval much, much harder to win. This week, take some time alone and start winning it.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

Most social media is neither. 
---  Anthony Silard

This is a bold statement. Please allow me to back it up. First of all, social media is often not social. Why? Because it doesn’t generate the fulfillment of a social life.

When you go to a party, or go on a hike with a friend, or eat lunch with someone you care about, these activities call upon your social abilities and fulfill a dimension of your life, the part of you that needs and desires to relate to other people. For these reasons, these activities are called “social.”

Social media, on the other hand, is a poor substitute: hunching over a screen typing in information about yourself and broadcasting it to others while reading the information they in turn type into their keypads or keyboards about themselves while hunched over their screens does not adequately fulfill our vital need to socialize.

Neither are most social media posts ‘media’ in the sense of reporters reporting the news. The viewing of vacation photos or a former classmate’s diatribe about politics is not exactly the news.

Such sharing of information is not the “news” in pure, distilled form, only contacts sharing unfiltered details of their lives 99+ percent of which are too trivial for any news outlet designated with the task of sifting through such submissions to print. In other words, Facebook is too much face and not enough book.

This week, design some strategies to spend less time on your phone and more time connecting with real people in real time.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.