It's interesting how technology has influenced our social connectivity.
On one hand, it's enabled us to connect with anyone on the globe at any time. On the other, as we've become more & more immersed in the digital worlds, many of us have become increasingly isolated from others in "real life."
It's a fascinating paradox we can all relate to, whether through intimate experience or mere observation of a younger generation who may be found in groups, all staring at smartphones.
On one hand, it's almost disturbing how introverted many of us have become as we've become more comfortable with internet-based friendships rather than ones founded & maintained in face-to-face interaction. On the other, it's absolutely brilliant how we've been able to forge meaningful bonds with people all over the world based on resonant passions, missions, values, and visions.
For those among us who may have always been more on the introverted side, it's been amazing to discover soul tribe on the same vibe via online networks - especially when such people may be far more rare in the physical locations we live. Yet, it's also a bit weird to experience the contrast of such a sense of non-physical "belonging" against "normal" in-person interaction, whereby there can often seem a growing sense of disconnection or distance.
Perhaps it's not that much actually changed at all, since the days before social media transformed our lifestyles. Surely, the extroverted amongst us have always been that way and shall likely continue to be, irregardless of their digital lives. And maybe for us introverted, it's only the contrast of the new online connections that make the usual physical interaction relatively seem more distant or shallow - whereas those introverted characteristics have always been the same.
Irregardless of the way technology - social media networking, in particular - has transformed our experience of relationships in the physical, one of the most noteworthy benefits of it has been the opening of opportunity to connect & collaborate with those in a specified niche, to engage with those on our own unique vibe.
Historically, the arrangement of societal structures hasn't always favored individualized expression. Those that didn't fit into the main cliques in schools were deemed the "weird" kids. Those who dared "be themselves" at the risk of straying too far from norms were often outcasted. Hell, it wasn't all that long ago people were still burned at the stake for living lifestyles deemed unacceptable by the revered institutions of the day. Though even now, there are times & places when & where stepping too far outside the conventional way of thinking and doing things equates to social suicide.
Those extreme cases aside, there's still been a great deal of inertial pressure to remain within certain constraints of tradition and cultural boundaries. Simply by being in a physical space, we are subject to the cultural coding of the majority within it. Whether aware of it or not, we adapt to certain social protocols as moving through physical environments. And it takes some damn strong boundaries and strength of spirit to do so while fully remaining in our own vibration, given their is quite often dissonance at some level or another between that of our own and the cultural/social programming within the physical spaces.
In a way, the internet has become a multi-dimensional gateway to nearly any vibrational environment we could think of.
With an abundance of groups, pages, and communities focused around niche interests, hobbies, philosophies, etc, we have instant access to cultural environments of our choice that are a far more resonant fit than those of the physical spaces we may be in by default.
No longer are we bound the dimensions of space, having to connect with those physically around us despite being on totally different vibes, but we can now pick-and-choose who to connect with around/about what, in any given moment.
This is pretty badass.
This phenomena is allowing us to change the world at record-breaking speed.
Just think of how many different initiatives have sprung up as a consequence of people sharing information, online petitions, etc. From microfinancing organizations like Kiva bringing new access to funding for all sorts of local developments in third-world countries to a variety of environmental campaigns, the distribution of knowledge that's moved millions into making better choices regarding their health and lifestyle, and even the building of an entirely new decentralized economic system - things are getting interesting.
As well, we're seeing an absolute revolution in the way education happens.
Whereas elite colleges were once only accessible to the privileged few, there are several now that offer online courses to anyone - for free.
Or a personal example (which inspired this whole piece of writing): I recently got a subscription for Mix With The Masters, an online masterclass-type portal with hundreds of hours of content from the world's elite audio engineers.
Whereas an education in audio engineering once would cost well over ten grand and a year or two of full-time commitment to an established educational institution, I can now have a person mentorship from the absolute masters in the field, in the comfort of my home, for $28 per month. Learning directly from the top pros who've mixed the world's most successful records, at my own pace, for a small fraction of the cost of what most pay for guitar lessons.
That's kind of insane.
Yet, it's a fine example of the upsides of technology's impact on social connectivity.
Sure, learning from somebody on audio or video may not be the exact same as sitting face-to-face and interacting directly with them. Yet to have the opportunity/capacity for such learning may be no less valuable.
Of course, it'd be preferable to be sitting in the studio with these cats and learning by osmosis. Yet, if the alternative was not having any access at all, sitting in the midst of a physical environment where everyone in the community was on a different vibe - how significant a leap is it to plug into such professional networks, gaining access to the knowledge needed to advance oneself further into a refinement of their own vibe? (From which, an alignment with destiny may result, versus the fate of restriction to the limitations of a physical space and cultural conditioning.)
Though I may enjoy going out to do some writing or music at a coffee shop to be surrounded by people, in a fresh energy, taking objective inventory or where all those people are at in their individual journeys, it typically seems there's not that much common ground to connect with on. And never having been one for superficial chit chat, there's hardly any ever reason or incentive to actually talk to these people in my physical space. Surely, this was the case even before the internet opened all these doors for digital connection with those on a similar vibe. Though somehow, the contrast of this seemingly-exciting relationship world in the digital realm makes the physical experience seem all the more void of deeper meaning & fulfillment.
Could just be me. Though based on observation, probably not.
Of course, yin and yang.
There'll always be light & dark, gifts & curses, advantages & disadvantages, costs & benefits to all things.
Sure enough, technology has and is continuing to influence the way we connect socially, both on and offline.
And like any tool, it's neither good nor bad. Rather, the degree to which it serves us is proportionate to the degree of our own wisdom & maturity in how we use it.
And while technology may have the potential to rewire our brains to seek dopamine hits found via scrolling through social media feeds in replacement of classic eye contact or hugs, it's ultimately our responsibility to set our own boundaries, make proper use of the tools at hand constructively, know our limits, and take responsibility for maintaining a healthy balance of relationships in whatever domains they be, digital or physical.
Certainly, there's a paradox that the greater our connectivity via technology, the greater our disconnection at other levels. Yet, it's a paradox that's ours to manage.
And perhaps, the freedom found to "be ourselves" in our own vibes in the digital realms we gravitate towards isn't merely for the sole purpose of our exploration & expression there, but to further refine and bring ourselves into alignment with our individualized vibe - so as to enter back into our physical environments with a solidity to speak our truths, and accordingly upgrading the cultural programming in a way that brings greater diversity, richness in perspective, and the maturity resulting from walking one's path in integrity.
Or some shit. 😈🥂😇