You only get to live once.
A lot of people say that. I don’t know if that is true or not but I feel like we get to exist more than once in this very life.
What I’m going to say may sound far-fetched but there’s some truth to it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be talking about it.
Right now at this very moment it’s estimated that 78% of North Americans are present on some form of social media.
It’s also estimated that 2.5 billion people are going to be on social media by 2018.
The numbers and the fact you’re reading this brings me to my exact point; there’s an us that’s breathing, having breakfast, walking down the street and then there’s the other us.
The one that gets to exist outside of the confines set by time and space. While you’re reading this, you and I are likely in a different city, different country, in a different time zone. Your physical self and mine are separated. Case in point; I don’t know what 99% of my readers look like.
I’ve been pondering on this other existence of mine for quite a while.
I was going to write “this other me” instead of other existence but I refrained.
I think that’s very telling of my relationship with social media so far. I’m probably not the only one to consider who I am in the virtual space as being somehow different than the me writing this right now on a crowded bus next to a screaming baby.
The fact that we can decide what to say, what to show and mold ourselves into a better (or totally different) version of ourselves has some people saying that social media isn’t real.
For me the issue was never about “to be or not to be” some version of myself I’d carefully craft but rather “to share or not to share”.
I’m sure most of you can relate to that.
Unless you’re a teenager with an identity crisis, the question of being present on social media is usually just that; how present should you be and how?
I’ve been existing on social media for more than a decade and I’m still trying to answer those questions.
Some days I’m satisfied with merely existing in the physical world. It seems easier in many ways. There is no audience to contend with, I can retreat into myself as much as I want.
Then on other days, I want to share everything. Every thought and every little piece of me that I feel deserve to exist somewhere other than in my own mind.
All of us living in this generation have been given this gift; the ability to give our most authentic self an existence beyond what could have ever been possible before.
We get to connect with each other on a level that is unheard of in the history of humanity.
For the first time we can be there for each other, outside of space and time.
What you say or do can impact people you’ve never met or are not even born yet.
This used to be a privilege granted to only a few; inventors, writers, historical figures.
I realize now more than ever (with everything that’s happening in the world) that this opportunity we have to speak our truth and meet each other in our humanness without barriers is one that we shouldn’t pass up.
After all we’ve all learned that sharing is caring.
Maybe it’s time we listened.
*Picture Credit: susan flickr Creative Commons 2.0