Why Social Media is the bridge to finding our humanity again – a love letter to my sons from Europe
The last 12 months has been a truly head-spinning period in terms of technological advancement paired with human inter-connection. The entire world is involved in a giant, intermingled conversation. Our laptops and mobile phones inject us into the depths of past and present to a degree that could not have been imagined even 5 or 7 years ago. Recently, a friend of mine asked me whether I felt further from others as a result.
One of the most exciting aspects of my business is developing blended traditional and social strategies, where advertising agencies help clients reach their audience in the flesh AND online. A classic example of this is a zany event in a city center chronicled in a YouTube viral event, all for the sake of building awareness of a brand. This blending of flesh and tech, of offline and online mingling, is the essence of this season we all occupy…it is a time when we want to chat but also get in bed with each other, watch YouTube videos of family events AND be there to celebrate. The embraces, laughter and sweat are just as important as holding that Flip camera and capturing the best moments.
This reality is particularly close to me as I develop business in Europe while my kids live in California. I miss those three super boys, the lights of my life. Watching video, seeing photos, talking on Skype, whispering to each other in World of Warcraft battles are all special but nothing can equal what it is to skip along the sand and dive into the ocean together.
I remember when our family moved from the United States to England when I was younger. My father used to connect to his family via phone and telefax. But when the family came to our home in the English countryside and sat around the table in the garden…pure bliss!
Social media is a kind of table in the garden of humanity’s shared interests. In a way, I’ve seen into the lives of those I know and love more deeply this last year than I might have during the years of hand-written letters and phone calls. Flickr, YouTube, FB status updates, wall conversations have all served to reveal the inner flora and fauna in the lives of my friends. And then, when we see each other in person, our conversations are that much deeper and richer due to having kept up with each other on a day-by-day basis. Never in history has communication been so constant and furious than in early 2010. And it is refreshing that the majority of content and news I take in is personal in nature versus the barrage of impersonal updates from CNN during the late 80s and early 90s. Thank God that a video of brothers biting each other or a boy falling asleep after a dentist appointment is more popular than murder, mayhem and financial market fluctuation.
I argue that social media and all of it’s “rainbow-iconed” properties are evidence of how our humanity is actually deepening and growing in this social revolution. We’re laughing, crying and sharing more than ever. Blending this with real, in-the-flesh times together is the essence of a perfect 21st century being. Choosing to embrace the new intimacy in social media IS the path toward a deepening of humanity. So go ahead, send out your latest Flip video via your YouTube channel, update your status 10 times a day, flood Flickr with your latest mobile uploads of fun parties and times with kids, but also be sure to go there and be with those you love. I know I will! See you soon, Nico, Benji and Oliver! Your loving dad, Nathaniel