Facebook. Twitter. They are no more than tools. Nothing connects us more than “being with” the people that we love. Relationships unplugged. Strengthened by offline presence.
My recent visit in Iligan made me realize that being with people and hearing their thoughts – unedited, unfiltered, un-EdgeRanked – is what something social media alone cannot fill deep within us. We may be digital natives but there is a missing layer that can only be filled by closing your laptop, getting out of the building, and chatting with people over a cup of coffee.
I was lounging around our house in Iligan and noticed these yellow notes near the phone. These notes were little messages left between my brother and father. Unlike us, my father is not a digital native. He has his own little world away from the PC. His only way to communicate was our landline phone and a cellphone which he already lost a couple of months ago. Hence, their need to go back to basics to communicate – paper and pen. It’s priceless, in my opinion.
These and a couple of other tidbits of notes made me stop to think of the relationships I have with these two boys who are now left alone in a big house. You see, almost of us have moved on with our lives – me and my family in Cebu, my sister in London, my other sister in Dumaguete, and my mom in California. What has kept us together is social media, Viber, Skype, and expensive long distance calls that come ever so rare in our busy lives.
Social media had a huge role in keeping us connected – whether it be mundane details such as what we ate for breakfast, the latest photo of your growing kid, a pair of shoes for sale, the people you have been with. But, who connects with the people who don’t have the means to connect? What about those that don’t have Twitter or Facebook? What about those who don’t have internet connection? Have you connected with them at all?
We rant about the silliest things online and yet fail to raise our heads from our keyboards and think about the others who wanted to be where you are. Think about the older relatives who have their arthritis to worry about or citizens who are in war-torn regions in the world. Do you want to hear their thoughts too regardless of the wrong grammar?
Someday, we will all be connected. If not through social media, maybe through another medium that gives voice to the hopeless.