As a digital native, social media reshaped how I connect with people. Although there is always someone to “like” my status, I’m looking for quality over quantity. How many friends do you have? Digital communication has replaced face-to-face contact when building friendships. After a little research a Social MediaDisconnect Challenge jump-started my week without social media.
After a week I realized that I wasn’t hiding behind a computer and I was able to reveal the true Paige –the good, the bad and the sometimes not so (Instagram filtered) pretty. At this point I was also getting quite bored so I came up with a seven-step strategy, one for every day of the week, to build a real social network of friends.
1. Monday - Unplug.
Turn off gadgets and engage. A night at home with 500 of your Facebook friends or a night at home with family?
2. Tuesday - Talk.
You can’t edit your conversations. Hesitation and stumbling on words are social characteristics we have. They make us unique.
3. Wednesday – Clean up.
Remove anyone on contact lists you don’t talk to.
4. Thursday - Conversation.
Whether it’s neighbours or a bus passenger start up a conversation. If making eye contact is difficult then begin with that.
5. Friday - Like minds.
Join a group (not a Facebook group). I enjoy baking so I joined a baking class at Loblaws on Thursday nights.
6. Saturday - Reconnect.
Call an old friend. They will be delighted to hear from you, and will enjoy reconnecting.
7. Sunday - Invites.
The best conversations happen over coffee. It’s a bit scary, but real connections demand a level of risk. Then again, what endeavor doesn’t?
Overall I don’t want you all to think that I hate online technology because I don’t. As a public relations student it's almost second nature to have every social media application on the map. In that case I think it’s a magnificent tool for staying in touch with people across miles, time zones and years. We’ve all witnessed its power in rallying people behind noble causes. But like all tools, we have to learn how to use it well, and not let it use us.
It’s your turn now!
How long can you last?
Here's a little fun video for you. Enjoy.