Social Behaviour In the Time of COVID19

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In a word: online.

In a few more words: social media and video calling.

And social media is currently losing its lustre for me as an actual communication medium. No one, and I’m including me there, seems to have the appetite to actually discuss things that are worth discussing. We want things over quick, a short exchange of words so we can move onto the next topic/meme/cat video.

Worse, a lot of that not really communication is more along the lines of “agree with me or don’t bother responding to the thing I posted”.

Which annoys me. If someone wants to live in an echo chamber where everyone agrees with them in every way, they’re going to need a much smaller bubble and one that doesn’t involve opening up opinions for public viewing.

Because, and I know this is going to be unpopular: no opinion is worth anything without substantive reality and logic to back it up. Sorry. We all have the right to hold whatever opinion we want, no matter how well- or ill-informed. We have no right to an audience for that opinion or to have people agree with it. If we post something, we should be prepared for people to disagree and be able to have a discussion about it. Most of us don’t seem to have made that leap yet.

So while social media is certainly social, I’m not sure it’s the kind of social that’s really doing most of us any good right now

Video calling, on the other hand, is working out pretty well for me. We’ve started, if only barely, a weekly family check in group call, some members of which I haven’t seen in person for far too long, and others I don’t talk to enough in the ordinary course of events. I’ve also used the same programs to reconnect with some old friends, folks with whom, until recently, I’ve only exchanged irregular texts or Facebook comments with. Both of these items are very much good things.

I’ve always regarded myself as an ambivert, able to function adequately in any social situation running from a hugely interactive crowd to being alone with my own thoughts. But that second piece doesn’t mean I don’t have people I care about who live outside of the house I share with them. And I need to touch base with some of those more often, and in more meaningful ways.

There’s still lots of physical distancing to come before we start to establish whatever the new normal is going to look like. I’d like for us to remember to talk to each other in the meantime.

Stay safe, and be well, everyone.

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