Thursday, January 24, 2013

Afraid to Speak Up On Social Media :: Connecting with People

I went shopping with a stranger today. I was debating whether or not to buy a fancy glass bottle and this little voice came at me through the shelves from the other aisle. 

"Do you know anything about making fondu?" I laughed, peeked around the corner and smiled at the girl who was about my age, standing there holding fondu sticks in one hand and carefully lifting the top of a fondu pot with the other. 

We only talked about fondu for about a minute before our conversation meandered on to how many ugly things there were in this thrift shop and we contemplated how someone (on Pinterest) could make them look cool. We ended up walking around the thrift store together and finally at the check out, we looked at each other and said,

"It would really fun shopping with you. Have a great evening."

And that was that. I never knew her name. 

We got on so well that I did feel tempted to suggest we become friends and go for a coffee or exchange numbers or something. But in the end I decided we would just share this one friendly moment in time together and that would be enough. 

I left the shop feeling so happy. My silent safety bubble that I normally wear when I'm out in public, the one that keeps me so isolated from the hundreds of people around me, was deflated and I was reminded that connecting with other human beings is a beautiful thing. 
Most people I know are always avoiding this connection. This happens a lot online as well. You enjoy a blog post but you don't leave a comment. You "like" a Facebook post but you don't dare type words for all the world to see. And if the post is by someone famous, and there are already 200 comments, you're especially put off because you figure your comment will be lost in the masses or it's already been said by someone else. 

Well, that's not the point. The point is not about YOU and your fabulous comment. In fact, all you have to do is type "This is great! Thanks for sharing." It doesn't have to be poetry, people. The point is that you reach outside of your comfort zone and you connect with other human beings, even if they're thousands of miles away sitting behind a computer. This is how the world is communicating now. This is how we interact. 

If someone said something inspiring to you and you walked away without saying anything or heaven forbid if you simply looked them in the eye and said "LIKE" and then walked away, we would think you were very odd indeed. So rather than just consuming all the data and retreating like a hungry hermit, I highly recommend that we all start engaging. Leave comments & talk to people online that are, FYI...real people who would love to hear from you. Burst out of your private bubble and connect with them! It's a beautiful thing ;)