Saturday, September 24, 2011

Son of a Preacher Man

I have said "You're Preaching to the Converted" or have had it said to me at least twenty times this week. Conservatively. Whole lotta defensiveness. Posturing, even. What's going on?

One theory I have is that it's the fault of social media based communication. If you don't actually see me, hear me, talk to me, or come to my house you might not know details about me and you might say something silly, like, have you ever had a tamale? Not knowing that I've owned a Mexican restaurant and that I've been in Mexico more times than, well, most Mexicans I know. But that's just oversight. And maybe a little awkward.

In addition, if you're not clear with your written skills or your reading for comprehension skill you might use someone else's platform/wall/facebook page as the place to speak your peace which makes that person think you're telling them what's UP. And they know what's UP. You're organic? I'm so organic that my chickens are wearing hemp feathers! Don't tell me about organic! That's misguided and inappropriate but easily overlooked.

It's hard these days in a world of written text/email/wall posts/tweets---if you're a facetime person? you're screwed. I know some perfectly nice folks who come off all kinds of jackass with a keyboard. And some people I like better on the screen than in person, for sure. It has its place.

But what is this incessant need to beat our breast about WHO WE ARE? It is making me think that all this "communication" we engage in has left us feeling like we're not being heard at all. Sure, we're linked in, chatting, messaging and blinking at each other but nobody really knows anybody. Too much noise out there. Will I get buried alive in the avalanche of information (much of it completely forgettable)? How do I show that my voice is worthy? How do I let you know that I'm one of you? We're cut from the same cloth! Look! I like Triscuits too! We should be friends! Like me! Click on it! It's one big fat identity crisis. Do I even like Triscuits? Bob does...

I guess because we can "friend" people we don't know much about, we assume a familiarity with them that is disrespectful in a way. How could I possibly know all the layers of your existence from an online profile. It's so unnatural how we communicate electronically that organic discovery is challenging. And we say things that make us get un-noticed. Or worse. Deleted.

So how to be loved for who we really are? Well, my dog acts out when she's not getting quality attention. She'll pull something out of the trash. Bring in sticks from outside and shred them on the newly vacuumed floor. Drop a ball, frisbee, pair of underpants, bone, and sock toy on my lap in ten minutes. It is best for all concerned to stop what I'm doing and take 20 minutes and go out and run and throw the ball and then back to my task at hand. With people, it's often harder to distinguish what it is that the other person wants, but my guess is that some undivided attention is in order. And of course it's impossible to have meaningful interactions with 255 people (and those of you with 5000 "friends" you need an intervention) but trying to connect (even electronically) one on one, sort of humanizes the whole thing. Nothing, however, beats a face to face hang. But I'm just preaching to the converted.