How do you navigate in this share-a-holic society?
Because that’s where we live. The advent of social media has turned a current of yearning to share into a torrential tidal wave of share-a-holics in every corner coffee shop.
When it was miles of prairie separating one town from the next, sharing happened. But it was slow sharing. Trickles of gossip on the party line. News and the occasional cherished photo packaged in a well-traveled envelope. After church chats when the pews had cleared.
But now sharing happens instantly. When the good, bad and ugly comes ’round the bend, you see people grab a phone or sit down to the computer to Facebook it, tweet it, Instagram it and blog it. You often hear about who did what to whom on Facebook or a blog post. Not from a phone call. Not even a text.
Have you gotten so wrapped up in the instant satisfaction of sharing your life that you’ve forgotten to take time to soak up an experience for yourself?
Last week, I was in the final hour of a 3,200-mile impromptu roadtrip to the Iowa homeland when the most stunning sunset peeked through the trees. The sun was a brilliant shade of orange-red, the rays shooting color through a plume of smoke from a farmer’s burned field. The faint remnants of a day’s clouds hovered on the horizon, and the rolling hills cast a stark contrast to the molten crayon settling behind them.
My first thought was to not let this moment slip by. To capture this moment so it could be held and remembered, to share this fleeting beauty with a world that desperately needs touched by a beauty this pure.
But in capturing that moment, I would have lost it for myself. It would have become about angles, camera settings, photo captions and social network postings. The beautiful luster of that sunset would have quickly faded for me, and I too need moments such as those to fill my sails.
You and me, we are hardwired to share. It’s how community is built, how community thrives. We as a society didn’t reach beyond the wilderness without sharing experiences, traditions and lessons.
Sharing is good. In the share-a-holic society we thrive, there is no question we have learned the value of sharing, if not the art of it.
But is it possible we’ve reached a point where we need to relearn how to live in the moment?
How much of that game are you truly experiencing if you are live-tweeting it? How many anecdotes do you miss when you are Facebooking what grandpa said? How much of that sunset would I have missed if I’d been looking at it through the window of a camera viewfinder?
Sharing. Living. They belong together, but one isn’t meant to replace the other. How do you navigate the line between sharing your life and living your life?