I believe this is called a "think piece."
NOW MORE THAN EVER... (Actually at this point I'm hearing people gripe about these pandemic catchphrases as much as I'm actually hearing the catchphrases. They're still annoying, but oh so applicable.)
... we need to look each other in the eye. But we can't anymore. Now relationships are crumbling because we're relying on social media and texting for the maintenance of these relationships.
In fundraising, we depend on the face-to-face visits for success with major gifts. Yes, it's harder to say "no" to my face. But importantly, beyond the ask visit - it's hard to build a relationship via e-mail, voicemails, and form letters.
Our personal lives are no different. Jeff and I did a lot of texting in our dating years and my God - I think we each read at least half of those text messages the wrong way. Luckily we were pretty good about clarifying misunderstandings in person, but even that gets tiresome.
Also, let's face it. The social media profiles of many of our friends are just - like, what on Earth is this? You've got the friend who piously announces that she like *never* gets political on Facebook BUT <x, y, and z opinion that will change nobody's mind> and within 45 minutes she has 5 fewer family members as friends, her niece has uninvited her to the wedding, and her coworker has screenshotted that mess to half of the sales team and all of Finance (they needed a laugh). You've got the friend(s) who actually always get political on Facebook and after the 5th stupid political meme of the day you're considering unfriending them even though you actually agree on most of the crap.
You also have friends who may or may not have actual opinions about things, but they spew articles at you left and right. Posting an article means nothing unless you have read it and have thoughtful commentary about it.
Plus you have the handful of people who are blissfully off of social media, but how do they even know what Haynes on Main has on special that day?
I'm the friend who actually sticks to the not getting political on Facebook, but I actually really do like discussing various issues face-to-face with friends and family members (with completely varying beliefs), even if it has the potential to get contentious, because I feel that we all have a lot to learn from one another. Right now is a wonderfully meaningful time in history to have these great discussions and figure out how we can be the change we wish to see in the world and yet - it's hard to do that right now.
So behind all of the screens, relationships are shattered. People can be vile when they're allowed to spew whatever without having to look into your eyes.
I'd hate to just complain without offering at least a partial solution. Remember what you can change, and what you can't. You can't really change how others think or behave, even if it's your uncle. You *can* show some grace wherever possible, choose not to reply to questionable posts (I've learned the hard way from this one), and remember that you don't have to say EVERYTHING you think. You can buy a blog site and say it there - I promise nobody will read it.
Send a real letter or call someone on the phone or talk to them through their window if you love them and want to learn more about why they think what they think.
That said, I hope that when everyone can safely get back together, we have at least some mending of relationships and a solid understanding how important face-to-face interaction really is.
(When you write a think piece, you're then allowed to eat potato chips and lay around and not have to think for the rest of the day, so that's my game plan.)
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.