Kim Thoughts: Social Media as Anti-Social Behavior (guest blog)

(Re-published here from the original Facebook posting on Kimberly Ballard’s wall)

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Kimberly Ballard

Just wondering… What’s going on with our new skool psyche where we are often more present trying to tune in to this virtual world than our own realities? It has become a part of our ‘normal’ visual landscape to be anywhere in our worlds and see many people’s heads bent over checking our phones. Has anybody tried to holla at us in the last 3 minutes?? No. Maybe. But either way, what did we ever used to do with our minds, I often wonder? And where will this mental trend and electronically connected/yet real world disconnected dynamic all lead?

Just wondering, as we all get somewhat caught up. Were these the same mental or emotional voids that led us to indulge in other escapes before social media came along? TV, clubs, shopping, talking on the phone for hours…do we hardly read books anymore? No indictments, or removing myself from the mix…just wondering.

social-media2Are these the same voids, just managed a different way? Or has all the technology created new mechanisms and dependencies in our psyche to now need even more stimulation? …to the point where we have to have multiple “conversations” going on at the same time?…on Facebook, on the phone, emailing and tweetin and sending twerkin type photos at the same time (do they call those selfies?)…and then we still need more.

marvin-gaye-1971-whats-going-on-aJust wondering…as Marvin once asked “What’s (really) going on?”…in a day when we can wake up and immediately roll over to the gadgets to connect to the virtual world before maybe even turning to the one beside us, or in the same space. All the funny ironies in the pictures of people at a social events, or maybe even at dinner together, but everyone is on their phone. Funny sometimes, but sad in a way, and very true. And we’re all pretty much “guilty” in one way or the other. We’ve gone from it being disrespectful to leave your hat on when you enter a home, to it being acceptable to leave our whole head someplace else when we come to commune with another real human being.

Your body is here with me ...I get it and relate that we all have natural yearnings for mental stimulation and emotional connections that our immediate surroundings, access, and the “real” people in our worlds don’t always quite fulfill. But when do we stop and attempt to balance our reality? Check in with what’s really in our world, the room, the real people around us. Or was the songwriter more on point than they knew years ago?…”Your body’s here with me, but your mind is on the other side of town” (or even on the other side of the world, these days). And now we have the technological means to really roll with that thought…to no end…creating another modern relational dysfunction for our day.

social-media-loveIn ways I clearly see many of the upsides of all of the new worlds, possibilities, connections and outlets that social media and the Internet in general have created. Look at all of the people who felt isolated before who can come together and be inspired, commune and support each other so easily now. Even connecting with old friends. That can be a beautiful thing. I’m just stepping back for a moment wondering (and even looking at myself as my neck is bent into this phone)… Is this new school train running away off the tracks at times? Is it creating an incessant need for attention and stimulation, beyond the balance and fulfillment that we wholistically naturally seek? Are new narcissists even being born from it, or simply finding a fit? And even for the old/new friends that we connect with electronically, when we get together in person, are we still halfway checked out, still seeking something else.

stop & smell the rosesBut whatever the truth is (I’m sure there’s many)…Can we stop or pause regularly and make a point to check in with the real world for a while? Smell the coffee, stir the beans (and even stop burning pots and bumping into stuff cause we so checked out-and in to something else). Balance is simply what’s occurring to me, as I’m continually seeking more of that for myself. We always heard “too much of anything” ain’t good.

Kim in reflectionLike I said, just wondering…as I clearly use this social outlet to get my writing/mental rocks off at times as well. But “all things in moderation” I always heard.
Working on it. And just wondering out loud (in my phone:-/ Or maybe even spiritually inspired by my godmother (the way old folks used to pinch you to get your attention without anyone noticing). But I reflect now on how I went to visit my godmother not long before she passed several years ago. I was a dutiful “daughter,” yet always too caught up on “doing,” even if doing a good helpful thing…the imbalance was in not being fully present. I felt my value was more in the “doing” for others. But my godmother simply said, patting at a spot on the bed beside her, “just sit down and talk to me ‘Kimley’.” (You know how old folks do your name their way.) I recall buzzing around the room trying to make sure all her physical needs were met, and then sitting down for just a moment…offering a little chit Kim familychat. I wasn’t into any social media back then, but my head was still someplace else, thinking about the next thing to “do,” naively thinking that was helping her. But now I know that it wasn’t. Maybe it’s too uncomfortable to connect with the realities of what’s for real in front of us. In that case it was death, and the guilt that I couldn’t do more to change her reality or make it more comfortable. But whatever it may be, we eventually need to deal with it…and live in our real world as much as we do this virtual one. We all want to be heard and to feel a connection. We all want somebody to (really) “listen” and “see” us. Can we stop and do that and be that for each other? Then the social (media) connection can become more our real lives.
Just wondering…
…as I need to go check in on my real people now.

Kim & children

Kim and her four children (From Left to right: Malik, Elyse, Myla, Elona)