Discover more from ArtTalk
and a final rant about social media
What does it mean to listen, or more aptly, to be heard? I thought I knew. Good communication is a two-way street. The communicator speaks clearly, causing the listener to hear what is being said while also understanding what the communicator means. Interesting. Yet so much of what we intend to say is caught between the phrases of what we say and how we say it.
“You heard me correctly but did not understand what I meant.” Both can be true.
It is a polarizing age we live in. It is not somehow more polarized than the generations before us, we just have far more ways to communicate our differences. It is exhausting. I’ve written here about my love/hate relationship with Social Media, thought pieces be damned. It doesn’t get us anywhere. We’re still on the apps, still talking, still paying attention. We don’t care when some of those we follow “take breaks” because there are others who take their place, filling the void. How exhausting. How frustrating.
It’s comical how Millennials think of their life as a brand- that a brand and life can be the same thing. They’re not. We’re focused on convincing people to buy what we’re selling- the product, the service, the reality that we’re having a great time. We think presenting ourselves as a polished brand will surely help the transaction! I’ve grown used to these types of Instagram posts. Are they happy or just good at taking pictures?
I’m having a great time- life,
I told Ashley the other day I wanted to delete my Instagram, but I couldn’t for two reasons. Firstly, there are relationships on the platform that I would genuinely miss if I were to leave, and secondly, people would miss me. Ha! People would miss me! How sad and awkward to think people care enough to miss you- to want the words and ideas specific to your social media platforms. I de-capitalized to show my disrespect.
If people can have para-social relationships with celebrities, why not with acquaintances? Social media does the same thing to everyone. It convinces us we are closer to those we follow than we are, giving us the illusion that people care what we have to say/our voice matters, and then leaves us empty-handed because everyone is too busy to hang out in real life.
No one is too busy.
“Destroy the algo!” I would chant. Follow people you disagree with, and liven up the conversation by hosting dissenting opinions. We don’t. It’s easier to preach to the choir instead of inviting new voices to join or, here’s a challenge, asking the choir if they even want to be preached to. Nowadays, I don’t care. I can’t be responsible for the folks who choose to cover their ears to anything that makes them remotely uncomfortable. Why did I ever think it was my job to encourage growth in the first place?
Social media rant over. I promise.
Less talking, more listening. The new goal, on a personal level. Being fed think pieces, “hot takes,” and curated lists doesn’t help in my listening as much as it helps my ability to tune people out. Oversaturation rarely helps a photograph and never deepens my soul. Last week I broke Ashley’s heart by answering her request but not how she wanted me to. Please note the request was completed, but not in the way she asked. See the problem? Was I listening to the initial inquiry? Did I fill in the blanks of silence with what I thought she meant? Did I ignore her?
Who is wrong here? We both lose no matter if a villain is established or not, we both lose. We both lost. Another lesson in marriage, perhaps! It doesn’t matter who the villain is- throughout the life of the marriage, both partners take turns. If it’s not about who the villain is, what is it about? It’s about love prevailing and forgiveness abounding. Maybe that’s what heals our polarized generation, love giving us eyes to see and forgiveness righting the wrongs. I’m still working through the meaning of listening and hearing, still learning how to do both. It’s an intentional decision, that much I know. A decision this social media age doesn’t implore us to have. Love and forgiveness.
After all, love is listening.