Valentine ’s Day is right around the corner and stores are displaying merchandise and cards for the occasion. I started thinking about the messages sent by some of the big companies like Ma Bell and Hallmark and what’s been lost with the invention of Facebook and other social media. Ma Bell wanted us to “Reach Out and Touch Someone”, and Hallmark told us buying cards, “When You Want to Send the Best”. These two company taglines spoke more, to me, than just about commercialism, but how we interact in the world.
I’ve watched the number of birthday cards dwindle significantly over the past four years. I used to have a mantle full of cards, and now it’s down to a select few. Don’t get me wrong, I get plenty of Happy Birthday messages on Facebook, but it’s different. We no longer have to plan on how we interact. We are now able to wake-up in the morning and see who we need to send a birthday wish, congratulate for an achievement, or commiserate about a dilemma. What happened to sentiment? Have we lost the ability to connect more than electronically?
I sent out a bunch of cards today because there are people who I haven’t spoken to in a while that I wanted to send a special message. I want to appreciate certain people who have supported me, kept me in the loop of their lives while I’ve been traveling the country. It gave me an opportunity to say I took the time to spend a few minutes devoted to connecting with you. I know I may be a bit over the edge, but social media has left too many people connected to others with only a dotted line, and they’re still lonely.
When going through difficult times we need to make those phone calls, send those calls, and show that we’re making an effort and that this person matters to you more than just a count on your Facebook page. Illness, divorce, death, financial struggle to name a few are life events that require deeper connections to emerge with a sense of peace and to have the ability to continue on life’s pilgrimage!