Those who haven't yet gotten the hang of social networks and i-phones rant.
They contend the technologies prevent authentic communication. Facebookers just posture, right. Members on LinkedIn just want to sell, right.
Therefore, they declare intimacy is impossible. And, all that, posits psychologist Jean Twenge, is making the newest generation - Z - mentally ill.
The reality is that each new medium requires understanding - and practice.
I'm old enough to remember those articles in print media about telephone etiquette, both in personal and professional contexts. In addition, parents really did mentor children on how to "answer" the phone.
Those who didn't, as they say, "give good phone" usually missed out on a key step toward intimacy. Also, they likely didn't get a job offer after the phone interview.
The same goes for i-mediums. Through instruction, intuition, and practice, we need to make them serve our purposes. If it's intimacy, then that will require time. Just as it does in-person.
Only recently have I been able to develop the kind of relationships on Facebook and LinkedIn which I once had in the college dorm and drinking beer with colleagues after work. For too long I was working from the wrong model. That is, the over-sharing one from recovery groups and psychotherapy.
Of course, I was ready to give up.
But first I decided to observe and analyze the tone, content, visuals, and frequency of posting of those with lots of followers, likes, comments, and shares. They ranged from head of content at Bizzuka Paul Chaney to psychiatrist in New York state Tara Belsare.
That panned out. Yes, now there are moments and more than moments of intimacy in my i-universe.
Well, it seems to be the same as it is offline: caring about the other human being. Social networking and i-phoning/texting aren't a monologue. William Shakespeare's tragic characters might not have endured such emotional turmoil if they engaged in fewer monologues.
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