Social media blurs the conventions many of us grew up with. Who are all these folks we connect with daily? Are they friends? Or just followers? Are they teaching us? Helping us get jobs? Inspiring good works? Or just scaling our lives upwards? After months on Twitter, I'm wondering:
When someone in my blood family is hurting, will blogging or Twittering or e-mailing my pain convey my concern adequately? Will it actually generate compassion for me and the ailing relative?
Me thinks no . . .
So, should my response to a family member's pain be conveyed differently from my response to a blogger in Idaho's pain?
Me thinks yes.
But, what if the only medium I know how to use is the 140 character text string? Is that adequate? Will the format truly allow me to convey the broadness of empathy? Or the fragility of uncertainty?
Or does the compression of the message demand that I convey certainty and authority regardless of the context?
Will snarky comments and Tiny URLS take over the crafting of an elegant personal note or the grace of bearing an awkward silence for a friend enduring a terrible loss, a sick child, or a frightening diagnosis?
Who knows what the future of personal expression will look like. My hope is that it will be adequate to express the complete poetry of our souls.